NSW Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Council Appointed


Doctors, academics and patient welfare advocates have been appointed to a special advisory council to guide the NSW Government’s world-leading medicinal cannabis research program.

Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward said the newly-appointed advisory council will work with the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research & Innovation to ensure the Centre’s work is informed by best practice and linked into the community, researchers and industry worldwide.

“This is another example of NSW continuing to position itself as a world leader in medicinal cannabis research,” Ms Goward said.

“The work of the Centre will now be guided by this new council comprising respected leaders from medicine, academia and industry, as well as tireless patient advocate and medicinal cannabis campaigner, Lucy Haslam.”

The nine Advisory Council members, will meet for the first time today in Sydney, are:Professor Richard Day AM, Professor Adrian Dunlop, Dr Bronwyn Evans, Mrs Lucy Haslam, Professor Alison Jones, Professor Graham King, Professor Laurent Rivory, Dr Saxon Smith and Dr Kendra Sundquist.

Ms Goward said they bring a wealth of knowledge and a diverse set of skills to the incredibly complex issue.

“NSW is leading the way when it comes to medicinal cannabis research, taking major steps forward to improve our understanding of cannabis and cannabis products for therapeutic purposes,” Ms Goward said.

The NSW Government has invested $12 million to establish the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation, as well as $9 million for three clinical trials. Those clinical trials include:

  1. A trial focusing on improving quality of life, and symptoms such as pain, nausea and vomiting for adults with a terminal illness. This trial is being led by the University of New South Wales’ Chief Investigator, Associate Professor Meera Agar, and an experienced research team.
  2. A clinical trial for children with severe, drug-resistant epilepsy. A partnership with the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network will see a world first, phase 2 clinical trial in children for GW Pharmaceutical’s novel product containing the cannabinoid cannibidivarin (CBDV) as we as a compassionate access scheme for Epidiolex®, GW Pharmaceutical’s product containing cannabidiol (CBD) which is currently in late stage trials in childhood epilepsy in the United States.
  3. The third trail will assist adults with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, where standard treatment is ineffective. The details of this trial including the research team and location will be announced in the coming weeks.

Additionally, in October Ms Goward announced the Department of Primary Industries and the NSW Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation would look for potential sites in NSW that could be suitable for the cultivation of cannabis for medical or scientific purposes.

Ms Goward said this would ensure NSW is ready to support a potential pharmaceutical supply, subject to the outcomes of the NSW clinical trials and those occurring overseas. Professor Mary O’Kane, the Director of the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research & Innovation, said she looks forward to working closely with the Council.

“There’s a lot of activity happening right now in the medicinal cannabis space – and it’s absolutely vital that what we’re doing in NSW is guided by best practice, and connected to what researchers and industry players are doing worldwide,” Professor O’Kane said.

“The Centre will draw on the Council’s experience and expertise to help set its research priorities moving forward and identify potential research and industry collaborations,” she said.