Cannabis Australia: Auscann wants country to be the leading medical marijuana supplier

By @ritwikroy1985 on
Medicinal Cannabis
Justin Brash, who suffers from HIV-AIDS, lights up his pipe containing cannabis during one of his daily intakes of the drug in front of the Sydney Opera House May 29, 2003. Reuters/David Gray

Perth is now a hub for medical marijuana trade. The Medicinal Cannabis Council, a new peak industry body, is launching today with the sole aim of making Australia a world leader in this field.

According to reports, almost half of the nation’s major Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies in the field are based out of WA. The east coast council will soon be developing the best practice standards for the production, supply and distribution of the cannabis products.

The council comprises of producers, manufacturers, researchers and health experts. Auscann, the first WA company to receive approval for cultivating the drug, wants the country to be a leader in the supply of medicinal cannabis, surpassing Netherlands and Canada.

There are high hopes for medical marijuana. Auscann managing director Elaine Darby has said that the state government is receptive to assisting whenever necessary. Cultivation and consumption of medicinal cannabis is allowed Down Under, but using it for recreational purpose is still illegal.

“Medical cannabis research continues, but the early indicators of our research are that medical cannabis treats areas of epilepsy that traditional medicine has hitherto been unable to have an effect on ... The effect of treatment of severe childhood epilepsy, in particular, with medical cannabis has given many families hope,” Carol Ireland, chief executive of Epilepsy Action Australia and board member of the Medical Cannabis Council, told The West Australian.

However, Australian Medical Association WA has not been in full support of marijuana legalisation, claiming that medical marijuana and the medicines derived from it are not the “all-curing wonder drug that some advocates claim.” According to AMA WA, marijuana medicines have been effective only in limited cases. Each marijuana plant has around 100 different cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds found in the plant. Researchers are yet to learn all the potential benefits of the every cannabinoid.

Cannabis is in fact a complex drug. It is actually a collection of plants and species of plants. However, people assume that marijuana is just one product. There are multiple strains, and every strain has multiple cannabinoids. It is expected that science will soon discover a number of medical uses of cannabis. It is an exciting time in medical history, believes Palliative care expert at Lifehouse Cancer Hospital in Sydney, Dr. Judith Lacey. She recently started prescribing medical marijuana to terminally ill patients to better manage their symptoms, reports ABC.