Page 1646 - Week 04 - Thursday, 7 April 2011

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4. The ACT to establish a medical cannabis program with cultivation and/or supply of cannabis. This option was not supported due to the difficulties associated with policing the program.

5. The ACT to seek to obtain Sativex for use for a select patient group after further testing overseas. At the time, the government’s view was to wait to see the results of further studies into Sativex, its safety and effectiveness. This option is discussed further under (2).

No further analysis of options available to the ACT has been undertaken by ACT Health since 2005.

At the National level, in October 2009 the scheduling status of a defined list of botanical cannabinoid extracts called ‘nabiximols’ in a mouth spray for human therapeutic use was changed to that of a ‘controlled medicine’. No Nabiximol spray products are marketed in Australia, however clinicians may apply to prescribe an unregistered Nabiximol product under the Special Access Scheme of the national medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

(2) The preparation called Sativex®, comprised of two cannabinoids primarily, is now approved in a number of other countries, including Britain, Spain, Canada and New Zealand. As discussed in (1) one possible option was for the ACT to seek to obtain Sativex® for a select group (Hansard, 18 October 2005, p. 3773). The decision at the time was to await further studies into the safety and effectiveness of this product. Apart from noting the increased international uptake of this product, and studies suggesting its effectiveness in relieving spasticity for those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, ACT Health is not aware of new options for consideration with regard to the medicinal use of cannabis in the ACT.

(3) ACT Health is aware of work being conducted on the possible therapeutic effects of topical cannabinoids for skin conditions, however further research is still needed in this area. Published research by Liu et al. (2010) ‘Cannabis-derived substances in cancer therapy – an emerging anti-inflammatory role for the cannabinoids’ Current Clinical Pharmacology 5(4): 281-7 reports that ‘research into cannabinoids as anti-cancer agents is in its infancy.’ In addition, Kupczyk et al. (2009) ‘Cannabinoid system in the skin – a possible target for future therapies in dermatology’, Experimental Dermatology 18, 669-679, concludes that:

“ our understanding of the role of cannabinoid system in the skin is still not completed, and next studies evaluating this exciting aspect of cutaneous biology are highly required.”

Other than noting this research, ACT Health has not performed any work on this area.

Environment—cigarette butt litter
(Question No 1590)

Ms Le Couteur asked the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, upon notice, on 10 March 2011:

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