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NSW is about to hold a trial of medicinal marijuana for chemotherapy patients

The late Daniel Haslam, who lobbied to allow people with cancer to use marijuana to treat their nausea, and his mother, Lucy. Source: Facebook.

The third stage of clinical trials into the use of medicinal cannabis, commissioned by the New South Wales government, will get underway later this year, premier Mike Baird has annnounced.

The latest trials will look at whether the drug can help reduce nausea and vomiting in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and follow on from current trials with the terminally ill and children suffering from epilepsy.

Baird announced a research team, led by associate professor Peter Grimison from the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and University of Sydney, will conduct the trials later this year with patient enrolment expected by mid-2016.

“Medicinal cannabis has the potential to be of incredible benefit to many and our clinical trials will help us provide relief to those suffering from a range of serious illnesses,” Baird said.

It was an encounter with a terminally ill cancer patient, Dan Haslam, who became the public face of the campaign to legalise medical marijuana, that changed Baird’s mind on the issue in 2014.

The premier announced the medical trials 18 months ago, moved by Haslam’s plight, as well as directing police to not charge terminally ill adults who use cannabis to alleviate symptoms.

The latest announcement comes 12 months after Haslam’s death 12 months ago.

The NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Sydney will coordinate the research, which will be conducted in collaboration with cannabis experts from the Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney. Treatment units in Sydney and rural areas are also likely to be involved.

“Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer and this third trial will assess what role medicinal cannabis can play in controlling nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy,” Baird said.

An oral cannabis-derived capsule will be used in the trial, containing Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) developed and supplied by Tilray, a Canadian medicinal cannabis company.

For details on the trial, call 1800 217 257.

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