Pharmaceutical industry calls for more research into medical cannabis
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) released a position statement on the investigation of the potential therapeutic value of and therefore possible medicinal uses for cannabis.
The PSA cautions that the document does not aim to address implications or barriers to the calls to legalise the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes in Australia, while acknowledging the dynamic nature of the discussions and initiatives around the subject.
In its paper, Therapeutic use of cannabis, PSA notes reports that in some medical conditions cannabis has provided positive outcomes to individuals who may not have experienced comparable therapeutic benefits from other clinically proven medicines or treatment protocols.
"Consistent with Australia's National Medicines Policy, the pharmacy profession supports timely access to medicines for all Australians," the position paper states.
"We therefore support the development of an appropriate regulatory framework which would allow formal research to be undertaken to investigate the potential benefits of therapeutic use of cannabis.
"We welcome the announcement of clinical trials with appropriate medical oversight and informed consent provided by the patient and carer.
"Standardised pharmaceutical products containing cannabis which have been evaluated for quality and safety must be used."
In its paper, PSA supports the outcomes of research into the therapeutic use of cannabis to be made widely available so that the evidence base in Australia can be established and enhanced.
"Where under the treatment of a medical practitioner it is established that the potential therapeutic benefits outweigh the risks, PSA supports the use of medicinal cannabis with appropriate medical oversight and ongoing monitoring of outcomes," the position paper states.
The paper also calls for pharmacist education in relation to medicinal cannabis.
"Whether these products are made available in the short- or long-term, PSA supports the development of an information and education program to support pharmacists in the dispensing of cannabis-based therapies and provision of information to patients, carers and prescribers."
"PSA would welcome the opportunity for pharmacists to work in collaboration with other members of the health care team to provide care and advice on all medicines which are tailored to the needs of the patient and carers," it says.