Saturday, January 16, 2010

Baby Steps For Medicinal cannabis In Australia

A Doctor from the Royal Melbourne Hospital's neurology department is leading the push to have Sativex approved for medicinal use in Australia.
Sativex (for those of you who don't know) is a cannabis based nasal spray, used to relieve neurological  pain and MS symptoms amongst others.

According to GW Pharmaceuticals, the developer of Sativex:

Sativex is GW's lead cannabinoid pharmaceutical product, standardized by both composition and dose, that is being developed for the treatment of conditions such as cancer pain, neuropathic pain of various origins, and symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Sativex is administered as an oral spray which is absorbed by the patient’s mouth. It is composed primarily of a 1:1 ratio of two cannabinoids-CBD (cannabidiol-a non-psychoactive cannabinoid) and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The CBD:THC formulation is believed to enhance the pain relief of THC while modulating the unwanted psychotropic and other THC-related side effects, such as tachycardia. The spray delivery system keeps THC from entering the blood too rapidly and also minimizes the development of unwanted psychotropic effects.

 Now, this is a good step in the right direction for medicine in Australia. However, if Sativex, a foreign owned drug can be approved in Australia, why can't Tony Bower have his tincture tested and approved for medicinal use in Australia? After all, his product has convincing anecdotal proof that it works as effectively, if not more effectively than Sativex.

From the Northern Rivers Echo:

Tony has developed a way of extracting the psychoactive substance THC from the plant and putting it into tinctures that can be taken orally. From his van in Nimbin he is giving it away to people he thinks it will help, as long as they show him a doctor’s certificate confirming their condition...

For the past 18 months Tony has been trying to have his product tested and approved by the relevant government authorities, but despite jumping through all of the legal and bureaucratic hoops that have been placed before him, he has been frustrated every step of the way.
“I tried to get it tested through a university but they called me up and said, ‘we’ve got pressure from up high and we can’t involve ourselves’... Every time I try to get a test done the government stops it,” he said. “I’m not going to sit back and be treated like a criminal when these other people (drug companies) are allowed to bring it in. I’ve done all the stuff they asked me to do – let me get it tested!”
Tony’s legal adviser Debra Sands is planning to take the matter before the Supreme Court later this year...

 I urge you to read the full article.

For you folks who are unaware of what's happening world wide in respect to medicinal marijuana, I'll fill you in on a little of what's happening in the US and Canada.

First, there are now 14 states in the US that have passed laws allowing the use of cannabis for medicinal use. That number is expected to rise to 26 this year.

In California, a bill has been approved to legalize the adult use of cannabis. 

In Canada, cannabis can be grown for medicinal use. There are also pushes in Canada for full legalization.

Finally, when you consider that the value of the cannabis industry in California alone is estimated to 14 BILLION dollars annually (far and above that of corn), full legalization is a wise economic step.