Victoria has become the first state in Australia to legalise the use of medicinal cannabis.
The Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill was past in state parliament, meaning the manufacture, supply and access to medicinal cannabis products in the states is now legal.
— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) April 12, 2016
In the first instance the medicinal cannabis will be available to children with severe epilepsy.
Victorian health minister Jill Hennessy told the ABC that the reason these children will be treated first is because they’ve shown significant improvement on the drug.
“We know these children don’t often make it until adulthood,” Hennessy said. “We want to improve their quality of life.”
It’s certainly far more reaching that simply easing cramps and headaches, but medicinal cannabis will be available in a variety of forms including tinctures, oils, capsules, sprays and vaporisable liquids.
Access to the drug will be rolled out gradually from 2017, and will eventually be available to palliative care and those with HIV.
New South Wales is also trialling medicinal cannabis for patients suffering nausea as a result of chemotherapy treatments.
Premier Mike Baird announced the largest clinical trial of its kind earlier in 2016. Roughly 330 patients were expected to take part and the cannabis-derived tablet was only available for cancer patients. In NSW there have been two other trials using medicinal cannabis — for the terminally ill and for children with severe epilepsy.
“Our hope is as it is proven, we have a position where this will be available to whoever needs it,” the Premier said.