The Australian Drug Foundation has praised the Victorian Government for leading the way after it agreed today to introduce laws which support medicinal cannabis.
ADF National Policy Manager Geoff Munro said under the changes, by the year 2017 children suffering from severe epilepsy would be given medicinal cannabis, but only if prescribed by a doctor.
“Having a trained medical professional assess and prescribe medicinal cannabis is the right approach instead of a free market in cannabis like in Colarado,” said Mr Munro.
“The Government will establish an independent medical advisory committee on medicinal cannabis which will provide advice about expanding eligibility to further patient groups.
“We support access for Australians suffering a terminal disease, intense pain or debilitating conditions but again, only if the doctor prescribes it. As a compassionate society, there is no reason to prevent doctors prescribing medicinal cannabis to those people for whom other medication has not provided relief.
“We also fully support the decision to have patients receive the medicinal cannabis in the safest form of tinctures, oils, sprays and capsule – not smokeable.”
“While we support using medicinal cannabis to reduce pain and suffering in a small population, we cannot ignore the strong evidence which shows it can damage mental health and cause harm.
“This move is about helping people who lack other alternatives and who suffer badly – it is not about giving people a legal high.”
The Australian Drug Foundation supports a system of medical cannabis only if it includes the following conditions:
- the patient is diagnosed by a medical specialist, or a physician, as suffering from an ailment that the medical evidence suggests is likely to be relieved by medical cannabis
- the patient remains under the supervision of a medical specialist
- the patient’s condition has proved resistant to conventional therapies and interventions
- the patient agrees to the self-use only of the medical cannabis and not to transfer it to any other person
- the establishment of a ‘medical cannabis review board’ to oversee the therapeutic use of cannabis. Examples of such conditions are pain or other debilitating conditions associated with terminal illness, neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment
- that continuing research is conducted into the efficacy and safety of cannabis products for therapeutic purposes.
About the Australian Drug Foundation: Celebrating more than 55 years of service to the community, the Australian Drug Foundation is one of Australia’s leading bodies committed to preventing alcohol and other drug problems in communities around the nation. The Foundation reaches millions of Australians in local communities through sporting clubs, workplaces, health care settings and schools, offering educational information, drug and alcohol prevention programs and advocating for strong and healthy communities.