CSIRO developing over-the-counter medicinal cannabis
Over the counter marijuana medications are a step closer for Central Queenslanders after the CSIRO began the development of cannabis therapeutics.
Cannabis contains at least 113 cannabinoids, with cannabidiol, a component in marijuana, proven to have therapeutic and pain relieving properties for users without the psychoactive high produced by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Through the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) Special Access Scheme, approved patients can be prescribed medicinal cannabis products, in the form of oils, capsules, oral sprays, lozenges or other drug formats.
By 2024 the global medicinal cannabis market is projected to be worth $44 billion US.
Under a new licence, CSIRO will support the burgeoning local industry and partner with local manufacturers to drive the development of new cannabis therapeutics, in a move that will create new jobs in Australia.
CSIRO Scientist, Adjunct Professor Peter Duggan, said the licence placed CSIRO at the forefront of research into the development of new cannabis medicines.
“Around the world, researchers are exploring the potential for medicinal cannabis to help with conditions such as epilepsy and the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain,” he said.
While the CSIRO had previously been working with cannabis, the new licence brings over the counter medications closer to patients.
“We had been able to do early-stage work with cannabis, but the new licence will enable us to develop cannabis-derived cannabinoid medicines using innovative extraction, refinement and formulation techniques,” Professor Duggan said.
Professor Duggan said researchers were now developing the manufacturing protocols and preparing the first prototype products before transferring the technology to manufacturers for large scale production.
In December the TGA approved over the counter pharmacy sales of a low dose form of cannabidiol, one of the key components of cannabis that can help with a range of medical conditions.
Cann Group CEO and Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia chairman Peter Crock said there were over 20 medicinal cannabis companies currently listed on the ASX, and a growing number of licenced cultivators and manufacturers now in Australia.
“Cann Group has worked closely with CSIRO over the past three years and has been pleased with the results,” Mr Crock said.
“With this independent license CSIRO will be able to play a key role in helping establish a vibrant industry in Australia.
“Research that creates new and enhanced medical products and improves manufacturing processes is important if we want Australia’s medicinal cannabis industry to be competitive in a global market.”