The 2 main active components that are the current focus of research are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). However, there are many other components that may be beneficial and will be the focus of research in the future.
The results of ongoing clinical trials will establish an evidence base for medicinal cannabis and inform future treatment decisions.
There are different types of cannabis, and these can contain over 400 various compounds in the raw form. We need to research cannabis products using known stable active components, so that treatment outcomes can be compared and replicated.
There are 2 schemes under which clinical trials involving therapeutic goods, including medicinal cannabis may be conducted in Australia:
Research on medicinal cannabis
There are many claims about the beneficial use of medicinal cannabis products for a wide range of conditions. Most of these claims lack solid scientific backing, because cannabis is an illegal drug and it has been difficult for researchers to run research trials.
Participants in clinical trials for medicinal cannabis will use pharmaceutical medicinal cannabis products approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the relevant Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).
Clinical trials are research investigations in which people volunteer to test new medications and treatments as a means to manage various medical conditions.
The current research aims to establish which cannabis compounds and dosage levels are effective, and for which conditions and symptoms.
Research is underway both in Australia and internationally to clinically trial a range of medicinal products, visit the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry
Adults with advanced cancer, focusing on the control of symptoms including pain, nausea and lack of appetite where standard treatments have proven ineffective.
Children with severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy, through a partnership with the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network.
Adult palliative care patients, focusing on quality of life, particularly appetite and appetite-related symptoms
Adults with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, where standard treatment is ineffective.
The NSW Government has committed over $9 million towards clinical trials to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of cannabis medicine in providing relief from the symptoms of serious conditions.
Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research andInnovation Locked Mail Bag 2030, St Leonards NSW 1590
2478 – Ballina
6007 – West Leederville
Double blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial of Sativex for the management of cannabis withdrawal
Trial Focus Treatment
Queensland Children’s Hospital – South Brisbane
Cannabidiol: Treatment for brain changes and depression in early-stage dementia
Minimum age 55 Years