The Sydney Morning Herald reports today on what we already suspected. Dosage limits on proposed over the counter medical cannabis and CBD products in Australia will be nigh on useless for 99.999% according to medical cannabis research experts.
We doubt this will stop companies spruiking the efficacy of their “amazing” brands but will the Australian consumer be made aware of the fact before they part with their cash.
Medicinal cannabis could be available over-the-counter in Australia by next year as the national medicines regulator weighs a proposal to allow it to be sold without a prescription, but some experts warn the approach could backfire.
New research published in the International Journal of Drug Policy suggests the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s plan to allow chemists to sell a month’s worth of cannabidiol at a maximum dose of 60mg per day is unlikely to benefit patients – who were likely to “self medicate” instead.
The paper’s co-author Professor Iain McGregor, academic director of Sydney University’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, said much higher doses were needed to give relief to patients with chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety and epilepsy.
“There is no good quality evidence that 60mg does anything useful,” Professor McGregor said.
The TGA last week released an interim decision to amend the Poisons Standard to allow cannabidiol to be sold over the counter at the restricted dose to adults, inviting public comment until October 13 with a final decision due in late November and implementation in February.
Professor McGregor warned that without appropriate dosing, thousands of such patients may instead continue “self medicating” with illicit use of cannabis, which unlike cannabidiol products contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive compound that gets users high.
Whether they smoked cannabis or bought cannabidiol products on the black market, he said, “these people may just bypass the medical profession.”
There was “very good evidence” in scientific research that 300 to 400mg of cannabidiol was effective at treating anxiety, he said, and “reasonable” evidence that this dose could effectively treat insomnia and chronic pain.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating component of the hemp plant. Currently, patients who want to use CBD products have to find a doctor who is familiar with the process of applying through the TGA’s special access scheme to legally prescribe them.