Cannabis and cannabinoids for medicinal purposes: Reviewing the evidence

December 2016

Professor Louisa Degenhardt
Professor Michael Farrell
Dr Suzanne Nielsen
Professor Jan Copeland
Dr Peter Gates

Project description: 

This project will review the evidence for the medicinal use of cannabis and cannabinoid products for a number of key medical conditions. We will examine the evidence base for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in particular, alone or in combination, in the major conditions for which cannabinoids have been advocated with a focus on assessments in either RCTs or observational studies.

From October 31 2016, locally-cultivated and manufactured cannabis and cannabinoid products will be able to be provided under a system of regulation overseen by the Commonwealth Department of Health. A small number of commercial cannabis-derived and synthetic products are available globally, but it is likely that in Australia there will be an increase in the coming years in availability of cannabinoid products derived from locally-grown plants. This will include both extracts and oils, which will contain defined levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

The purpose of this project is to provide a shared point of reference for individual clinicians, State and Territory health departments and the Commonwealth Department of Health. For clinicians, it will inform decisions about whether to seek permission from government to prescribe medicinal cannabis products; and it will inform governments in making decisions about whether such authorisations should be granted.

To support decision making, draft guidance documents will be developed that summarise the evidence base for cannabinoid products for particular conditions.

For full details, go to the project page.