Research in NSW

NSW provides a highly supportive environment for research into cannabis and cannabis medicines. There are currently a number of universities and research centres evaluating the therapeutic potential of cannabis medicines in the treatment of a range of symptoms and conditions.

Research focus

Epilepsy

University of Sydney

PROJECT:

Epilepsy – reducing seizures and reduced lifespan in Dravet syndrome

This research examines whether different cannabinoids, combinations of cannabinoids and cannabis extracts to reduce seizures and prolong lifespan in mouse models of Dravet syndrome, a serious form of childhood epilepsy. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website. This project also featured on the ABC’s Catalyst program.
  
LEAD RESEARCHERS:

  • Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold
  • Dr Lyndsey Anderson
  • Professor Iain McGregor



University of Sydney Epilepsy Action Australia    epilepsy queensland Queensland Govt


PROJECT:
PELICAN – Paediatric Epilepsy Lambert Initiative Cannabinoid Analysis study

This project investigates the experiences of parents using cannabis extracts to treat their child’s epilepsy and examines whether the content of the extracts is related to their perceived effectiveness. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website. The study has received media attention on ABC News, ABC Catalyst, the Sydney Morning Herald and Business Insider Australia.

 LEAD RESEARCHERS (all University of Sydney): 

  • Ms Anastasia Suraev
  • Ms Ruth Blackburn
  • Professor Iain McGregor
  • Associate Professor David Allsop
  • Professor Nick Lintzeris
  • Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold



University of Sydney  

PROJECT: 
Identifying new targets for cannabinoids

This project aims to investigate interactions of cannabinoids with Cys-loop receptors and identify new targets for testing cannabinoids in animal models of disease. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website. Some of the results of this study were published in May 2017 in Pharmacological Research.

LEAD RESEARCHERS: 

  • Professor Mary Collins
  • Dr Michael Bowen
  • Professor Iain McGregor
  • Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold
  • Dr Nathan Absalom
  • Mr Timothy Bakas

Cancer and cancer-related symptoms

University of Newcastle 

PROJECT:
Anticancer properties of low-THC medicinal cannabis

This project aims to investigate anticancer properties of cannabinoid- or hemp-associated compounds in acute myeloid leukaemia cell lines. 

LEAD RESEARCHERS:

  • Dr Matthew Dun
  • Dr Mengna Chi
  • Associate Professor Jenny Schneider 
  • Dr Nicole Verrills 



 University of Sydney   Kolling Institute     NSW Govt 

PROJECT:
New cannabinoids for cancer

This study aims to examine the anticancer effects of cannabinoids in rodent models of cancer. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website.

LEAD RESEARCHERS:
 

  • Dr Emily Colvin
  • Dr Amanda Hudson
  • Dr Viive Howell
  • Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold
  • Professor Iain McGregor
RESEARCH PARTNERS: 
  • Kolling Institute
  • Royal North Shore Hospital 

Pain

University of Sydney Kolling Institute   NSW Govt

PROJECT:

Cannabinoids for neuropathic pain

This project aims to investigate the effectiveness of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) combinations, as well of other phytocannabinoids, in reducing neuropathic pain in preclinical disease models. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website.

LEAD RESEARCHERS: 

  • Professor Chris Vaughan
  • Professor Iain McGregor
  • Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold

RESEARCH PARTNERS: 
  • Kolling Institute of Medical Research 
  • Royal North Shore Hospital 



University of Sydney  NSW Govt

PROJECT:
Pain in cannabis users

This project aims to examine the differences in pain sensitivity and tolerance among regular cannabis users relative to non-cannabis users. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website.


LEAD RESEARCHERS: 

  • Associate Professsor David Allsop
  • Mr Thomas Arkell
  • Ms Jessica Driels
  • Dr Bridin Murnion
  • Professor Nick Lintzeris
  • Professor Iain McGregor

RESEARCH PARTNERS: 

  • The Langton Centre

Neurodegenerative diseases

Motor neurone disease

Western Sydney University Macquarie UniversityNeuRA

PROJECT:

Cannabinoids and motor neurone disease

This study aims to evaluate the therapeutic potential of cannabis constituents for motor neurone disease (MND). More information can be found on the Western Sydney University website.
 


LEAD RESEARCHERS: 
  • Associate Professor Tim Karl
  • Co-Investigator: Professor Roger Chung

RESEARCH PARTNERS: 
  • Macquarie University
  • Neuroscience Research Australia



Alzheimer's disease

Western Sydney UniversityNeuRAUniversity of Wollongong   UNSW

PROJECT: 

This study aims to evaluate whether cannabidiol (CBD) has beneficial effects on the pathophysiology and disease-related cognitive impairments in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. More information can be found on the Western Sydney University website

LEAD RESEARCHERS: 

  • Associate Professor Tim Karl
  • Professor Brett Garner
  • Dr Arne Ittner and Prof Lars Ittner

RESEARCH PARTNERS: 

  • Neuroscience Research Australia
  • University of Wollongong 
  • UNSW



Frontotemporal dementia

Western Sydney University NeuRA UNSW

PROJECT:

This study aims to evaluate the therapeutic potential of cannabis constituents as a treatment for frontotemporal dementia. More information can be found on the Western Sydney University website. 


LEAD RESEARCHERS: 
  • Associate Professor Tim Karl
  • Co-Investigators: Dr Arne Ittner and Professor Lars Ittner

RESEARCH PARTNERS: 
  • Neuroscience Research Australia
  • UNSW

Mental health

Schizophrenia

University of Newcastle  NeuRA UNSW
PROJECT:
Maternal immune activation and adolescent exposure to cannabis in rodents: do two developmental “hits” lead to schizophrenia-like changes in brain and behaviour?’

This study aims to examine the impact of adolescent cannabinoid exposure alone, or in combination with maternal infection, on schizophrenia-related behavioural, neurophysiological, molecular and cellular outcomes in a rodent model.


LEAD RESEARCHERS: 
  • Professor Deborah Hodgson

RESEARCH PARTNERS:
  • Neuroscience Research Australia
  • UNSW




Western Sydney University NeuRA UNSW

PROJECT:

This study aims to examine beneficial and detrimental effects of cannabis interactions with neuregulin-1 in mouse models of schizophrenia. More information can be found on the Western Sydney University website


LEAD RESEARCHERS: 
  • Associate Professor Tim Karl
  • Co-Investigator: Professor Cyndi Weickert

RESEARCH PARTNERS: 
  • Neuroscience Research Australia
  • UNSW


Post-traumatic stress disorder
University of Sydney NSW Govt

PROJECT:

This study aims to investigate the role of cannabinoids as possible add-on treatments to PTSD exposure therapy. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website.

LEAD RESEARCHERS: 

  • Associate Professor David Allsop
  • Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold
  • Professor Iain McGregor
  • Professor Nicholas Glozier

RESEARCH PARTNERS: 

  • Professor Marie Bashir Centre
  • Tilray


Anxiety

Orygen  University of Sydney  

PROJECT:
This clinical trial aims to investigate the effectiveness, tolerability and safety of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat anxiety in young people aged 12-25 years. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website and the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry. This study has been discussed in the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Channel Ten News.

LEAD RESEARCHERS:

  • Professor Paul Amminger
  • Professor Patrick McGorry
  • Professor Henry Jackson
  • Professor Iain McGregor
  • Dr Christopher Davey
  • Dr Sarah Hetrick
  • Dr Tim Spelman
  • Associate Professor David Allsop
  • Dr Simon Rice
  • Dr Alexandra Parket

RESEARCH PARTNERS:

  • Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health




Addiction

UNSW   UTS

PROJECT:
This study aims to investigate the role of cannabidiol (CBD) to manage cannabis withdrawal. More information can be found on the University of Technology Sydney website. The research findings can be found here.

 
LEAD RESEARCHERS:

  • Professor Jan Copeland
  • Associate Professor Shanlin Fu


RESEARCH PARTNERS:

  • Dr Nghi Phung



NSW Govt   University of Sydney

PROJECT:
 

This study examines if exercise can reduce symptoms of cannabis withdrawal by raising endocannabinoid levels in the body or releasing THC from fat stores and how this could occur. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website. The study protocol was published in June 2017 in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity.


LEAD RESEARCHERS:

  • Professor Nicholas Lintzeris
  • Dr Kieron Rooney
  • Associate Professor David Allsop
  • Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold
  • Professor Iain McGregor
  • Dr Anjali Bhardwaj

RESEARCH PARTNERS:

  • Concord Repatriation General Hospital
  • The Langton Centre
  • Royal Prince Alfred Hospital



University of Sydney  Macquarie University

PROJECT:
 

This study aims to investigate whether cannabidiol (CBD) or CBD-containing extracts can help treat alcohol withdrawal or addiction to drugs such as opiates and methamphetamine. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website.

LEAD RESEARCHERS:

  • Professor Iain McGregor
  • Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold
  • Associate Professor Jennifer Cornish
RESEARCH PARTNERS:

  • Macquarie University 

Cannabinoid research

Cannabinoid synthesis
University of Sydney

PROJECT:

Defining the chemistry of medicinal cannabinoids
This project aims to synthesise plant-derived cannabinoids for preclinical studies to use as reference standards. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website. 


LEAD RESEARCHERS: 
  • Dr Samuel Banister
  • Professor Iain McGregor
  • Dr Richard Kevin
  • Dr Jia Luo 



Entourage effect

University of Sydney Macquarie University

PROJECT:

The cannabis ‘entourage effect’
This project aims to explore if combinations of different cannabis components enhances their pharmacological effects within the brain. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website. 


LEAD RESEARCHERS: 
  • Professor Mark Connor
  • Professor Iain McGregor
  • Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold
  • Dr Jordyn Stuart
  • Dr Marika Heblinski

RESEARCH PARTNERS: 
  • Macquarie University



Behaviour

University of Sydney

PROJECT:

Cannabis as medicine survey (CAMS)
A large scale survey of medicinal cannabis users in Australia. More information can be found on the University of Sydney website. 


LEAD RESEARCHERS: 
  • Associate Professor David Allsop
  • Professor Nick Lintzeris
  • Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold
  • Professor Iain McGregor