Doctors in NSW are looking for up to 250 cancer patients to try medicinal marijuana

Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Doctors in Sydney are looking for 80 cancer patients – and up to 250 across NSW – as part of a world-first medicinal cannabis trial to investigate whether the drug can reduce or prevent chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in inner Sydney will be the epicentre of the trial, led by associate professor Peter Grimison in association with The University of Sydney, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and leading NSW cancer centres.

The trial involves an capsule, developed by Canadian company Tilray, containing equal amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), taken orally.

Grimison said there was a lack of high-quality research on whether cannabis-based products work.

“We have come a long way with conventional anti-nausea medication, but one-third of patients continue to suffer during and after chemotherapy,” Professor Grimson said.

“The role of cannabis medicines in alleviating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is still unclear, and this study aims to provide a definitive answer to this question,” he said.

NSW medical research minister Pru Goward said this is the largest and most definitive trial ever conducted in the world on the use of cannabis medicine in treating these side effects.

There is a helpline for details on the trial: 1800 217 257, as well as a website here.

The minister said interested patients should also speak to their oncologist to see if they might be eligible.

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