Skip to main content

Site notifications

AACMC meeting 19, 9 September 2022

The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis, Communiqué #19.


The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis (the Council) met for its nineteenth meeting in Melbourne on Friday 9 September 2022. The Council represents professional organisations, specialist areas of the medical profession and patient groups.

Guest speakers

The Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon Ged Kearney MP, attended the meeting in part to meet the Council and learn more about their role in providing advice to her on current issues facing the sector.

Ms Lucy Haslam and Mr Justin Sinclair from the Australian Medicinal Cannabis Association (AMCA) presented to Council on an industry driven Compassionate Access Scheme (CAS) for medicinal cannabis proposed by the AMCA.

Dr Masha Somi, CEO of the Health and Medical Research Office within the Department of Health and Aged Care, provide the Council with an update on funding to date and current streams applicable for applications to the Medical Research Future Fund for research on medicinal cannabis.

Council discussion

Among topics discussed by Council was the aggressive use of THC/CBD for Autism/ADHD in children in Australia. The Council expressed concern over the effects of THC compounds on children especially those with severe behavioural problems and the availability of these products via online commercial companies with limited visibility of the age of patients being prescribed.

The current evidence base regarding the use of medicinal cannabis for pain management was discussed in depth. The challenges of forming an evidence base for the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis as a treatment against a broad range of conditions and patient groups were also canvassed. An issue identified by Council is the enormous number of compounds that can be distilled from medicinal cannabis from Delta 9 THC to low dose cannabidiol (most used) and the difference in how these interact with Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2) in the brain and nervous system in the treatment of chronic pain from injury or inflammation. It was also noted by Council that often clinical trials are using medicinal cannabis products as an add on medication, which may be cause for concern given the harms associated with polypharmacy. They suggested that going forward research needs to better differentiate between high-risk patients and other patients.

Council also considered avenues to strengthen education of General Practitioners to support prescribing of medicinal cannabis and remove some of the challenges and stigmas currently associated with prescribing. This will be an ongoing area of interest to the Council.

Regulatory updates

The Council received regulatory updates from the Office of Drug Control (ODC) informing them of work being undertaken to update the ODC website to better assist industry and the public with up to date and accurate information regarding the cultivation, production, and manufacture of medicinal cannabis.

Additionally, Council was informed of a review of the current fees and charges structure for medicinal cannabis licences and permits against the new single licence structure introduced in December 2021. An external consultation to seek industry comment on the proposed fees and charges is anticipated in early 2023 with plans to implement changes soon after.

Next meeting

The Council is scheduled to meet again on 9 December 2022.

Help us improve the Office of Drug Control site