Medicinal cannabis trial rolls out to Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie

THE NSW Government will expanding the medicinal cannabis trial for chemotherapy patients to seven more hospitals across NSW – including to Port Macquarie Base and Coffs Harbour health campuses.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced on May 11 that patients at Campbelltown, Concord, Royal North Shore, Calvary Mater Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie Base and Wollongong hospitals will be able to take part in the world-first trial for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting using new generation anti-nausea products alongside cannabis products.

Chris O’Brien of Lifehouse in Camperdown is leading the chemotherapy trial, which looks at how a cannabis product can assist with nausea where standard treatments have failed. The trial has also been operating at Orange Health Service since December.

“NSW is leading the country in developing much-needed evidence for the use of medicinal cannabis by investing $21 million in ground-breaking clinical trials, research and reforms,” Mr Hazzard said.

“We have also committed $1 million of this towards cultivation research which will ensure any future domestic industry is of a high quality and suited to local conditions.

“Meanwhile, we are working closely with the Commonwealth to continue to support doctors wanting to prescribe appropriate medicinal cannabis products. A number of cannabis products have recently been imported from overseas in the hope of helping some of our sickest patients, removing a major barrier to accessing medicinal cannabis.”

A number of cannabis products have recently been imported from overseas in the hope of helping some of our sickest patients, removing a major barrier to accessing medicinal cannabis

Brad Hazzard

Professor John Simes, director of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Clinical Trials Centre, said: “Due to the very limited evidence worldwide, it is not known whether cannabis products may be able to help these patients where other medications have not – this study aims to provide a definitive answer to that question.”

The findings and recommendations of the Review of the Medicinal Cannabis Compassionate Use Scheme conducted by NSW chief scientist and engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane AC, were also released on May 11. 

Prof O’Kane recommended the scheme continue to be available to terminally ill people and noted that there is now a safer, legal prescribing pathway for non-terminal patients.

For the report CLICK HERE.