Victoria's just given medicinal cannabis to 29 kids with epilepsy

Getty: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

The Victorian government has taken advantage of new federal laws for importing medicinal cannabis to fast-track the medicine for 29 critically ill children.

The state is leading the way on the issue and plans to have locally grown cannabis ready for medical use by the middle of 2017, but in the meantime has imported the drug from Canada as part of initial trials involving children with epilepsy.

The cannabidiol oral solution made by Canadian company Tilray arrived in Melbourne late last week after premier Daniel Andrews signed off on his government buying it.

“This is too important to wait. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to make sure those families in the greatest need can access this life-changing treatment for their kids as soon as possible,” the premier said.

“This is the first time in Victoria kids with severe epilepsy will be able to legally access medicinal cannabis.”

Paediatric neurologists nominated children with the most severe symptoms of intractable epilepsy for the early access scheme and they were then vetted by a clinical panel.

The 29 children suffer from multiple daily seizures, and were given the drug as part of the early stage research into its impact.

Victoria recently harvested its first cannabis crop for medicinal use and it is currently being formulated into a medicine for children.

Daniel Andrew said more children with severe intractable epilepsy will be eligible to access the locally grown and manufactured product when it becomes available in the coming months.

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