21 July 2022

The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis, Communiqué #18

The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis (the Council) met for its eighteenth meeting, which was also the first meeting of its third tenure, in Melbourne on Friday 11 March 2022.

The meeting was chaired by Professor James Angus AO. The Council represents professional organisations, specialist areas of the medical profession and patient groups. Council membership was renewed at the commencement of the third tenure with a predominantly new membership.

Council priorities

The Council raised a number of current issues facing the sector that should be further discussed by the Council, including the level of evidence for use of medicinal cannabis for various indications such as pain, funding for clinical trials, and medicinal cannabis prescribing.

Regulatory updates

The Council received regulatory updates from the Office of Drug Control in relation to the cultivation, production and manufacture of medicinal cannabis and the Therapeutic Goods Administration relating to the Special Access Scheme, Authorised Prescriber activity, and over the counter medicines including an update on the rescheduling of low dose cannabidiol (CBD).

Council discussion

The Council discussed topics of interest including Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC, in particular the potential dangers around Delta-8 THC which is becoming increasingly available overseas. The Council expressed concern over the efficacy and safety of Delta 8, given it is chemically made, and the potential for it to be undetected in products being supplied through the Special Access Scheme. Also discussed were reforms to the current requirements for medicinal cannabis manufacturing, labelling and packaging, and the extemporaneous compounding of medicinal cannabis.

The topic of road safety and the use of medicinal cannabis was discussed, including current issues in relation to medicinal cannabis use and driving. Consistency in the advice provided by Prescribers, including potential opportunities to influence these processes, and current 'road-side' testing arrangements were also discussed.

Next meeting

The Council is scheduled to meet again in September 2022.