It’s been used for all kinds of purposes for around 5,000 years, but we’re only just beginning to uncover cannabis’ potential for treating a number of illnesses and conditions.
Over the last two decades researchers have started to discover more about the endocannabinoid system. Located in the brain and the nervous system; it’s linked to pain, appetite, memory and the immune system. It also responds to as many as 60 chemicals found in cannabis.
Since then, researchers have begun exploring how cannabis could be used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and even some forms of cancer.
Even though some of these studies have shown promising results, most have been small and short-term. That’s because as a restricted drug it’s been impossible to carry out large, in-depth clinical trials with medicinal cannabis. Until now.
Cann do attitude towards cannabis research
Earlier this year, Cann Group was issued Australia’s first Medicinal Cannabis Cultivation Licence, plus two research licenses from the Office of Drug Control. The new licence allows Cann Group to produce Australian grown cannabis that can be prescribed for patient use.
We’ve teamed up with Cann Group to help them develop products that could be used to treat a range of conditions, including childhood epilepsy, chronic pain and loss of appetite in chemotherapy patients.
Cann Group is cultivating different strains of cannabis for medical use. Once our dedicated lab is fitted out, we will start analysing the crop for Cann Group to get a better idea of the cannabinoids present, their biological effects and how extracts could be manufactured.
While most research on medicinal cannabis has focussed on the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannibidiol (CBD), we’re going to explore the minor cannabinoids and terpenes, which give the plant its characteristic smell.
From these results, we’ll begin developing various extracts with different chemical profiles tailored for certain conditions. It’s expected that these extracts will be taken as oral drops or inhaled as vapour.
Up until now, medicinal cannabis products have varied a lot, from the strain used to how they are delivered to patients. To tackle this, we are helping Cann Group develop a manufacturing process that will produce consistent, quality-controlled products that will be suitable for clinical trials.
In addition to learning more about the potential side effects and the best way to use medicinal cannabis, the results of large clinical trials will make it easier for doctors to prescribe it to patients. This means that medicinal cannabis will be accessible to the people who need it most.
5th October 2017 at 7:31 pm
Imagine being able to grow your own medicine! Big Pharma will not be pleased.
Of course, man has been harvesting medicinal plants for millennia. Me, I need something to give me a good nights sleep.
5th October 2017 at 10:23 am
It is encouraging to see that CSIRO is collaborating on this important issue and helping to improve the scientific basis so that community can make informed decisions.
22nd September 2017 at 3:30 pm
This is a great development. When my Mum had cancer, her lack of appetite was severely debilitating, and she hated the effects of opiates on her lucidity. I wish medicinal cannabis had been available for her.
22nd September 2017 at 1:44 pm
Due to restrictions on access, despite present legislation allowing medical use, it would be useful to open up broad access to cannabis material for research by identifying how many Australians this, and previous, governments have killed by their criminal restrictions, and by noting that cannabis use has never killed anyone but the law that restricts its use has.
21st September 2017 at 7:36 pm
Awesomeness about time