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Australia is not ready to market medicinal cannabis over the counter

by Will Gibbs

In market access to CBD goods we are lagging behind

Lambert Initiative Professor Iain McGregor says it is time for Australia to have a mature approach to market access without prescription for healthy and reliable cannabinoid products.

New research by the Lambert Cannabinoid Therapeutics Initiative at the University of Sydney suggests that access to cannabidiol-containing drugs in Australia in many countries is much more difficult.

The hemp plant is non-intoxicated by cannabidiol ( CBD). Evidence shows that the medication has beneficial results, while caring few if any chances of significant side effect ou addiction, on conditions like epilepsy, anxiety , pain or insomnia. CBD has now been licenced for the treatment of some rare cases of childhood epilepsy.

 

A recent study , published this week in the International Journal of Drug Policy, shows that CBD-containing drugs can easily be found in the United States , Canada, Britain and most of the European countries in health food stores and in pharmacies. Around one in seven Americans were believed to have used CBD containers.

 

This includes CBD oils, tablets, drinks and lozenges, as well as clothes. CBD-containing cannabis is legally available in Switzerland as a supplement for tobacco.

 

However, CBD products in Australia and New Zealand are heavily regulated and are only accessible through a complicated and costly “unique access” procedure by a physician who applies on behalf of a patient.

 

Last week, the TGA announced that it can provide cross-check access in Australian pharmacies to CBD products from 2021.

 

However, Lambert Initiative analyses suggest that the maximum dose approved under the TGA proposal (60 milligramme daily) might not be sufficiently high for patients to be beneficial. These are commonly observed between 300 and 1500 mg / day at higher doses of CBD.

 

The new paper illustrates that the legal basis of CBD access is often ambiguous even in European and US countries, where there is widespread CBD availability, with questions about whether the CBD is treatable as food or as a medication, and whether the poisoning component of cannabis (THC) is also available in products.

 

Professor Iain McGregor, lead author of the study, said: ‘CB D is a worldwide epidemic without a prescription. We reach a time of great self-medication exercise.

 

He said: ‘The signs are currently promising that CBD can handle a range of conditions effectively. It appears to regulators, in view of the drug protection inherent in promoting access to appropriate doses of CBD for consumers.

 

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