AACMC meeting 21, 10 March 2023
The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis, Communiqué #21.
The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis (the Council) met for its 21st meeting in Melbourne on Friday 10 March 2023. The Council represents professional organisations and specialist areas of the medical profession and patient groups.
Dr Anne Tonkin AO, a specialist physician with a sub-specialty in clinical pharmacology and Chair of the Medical Board of Australia, attended the meeting to present to Council on concerns regarding the prescribing of medicinal cannabis via online clinics and the risks to patients this presents.
Adjunct Professor Noel Cranswick, a General Paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Director of Clinical Pharmacology and the Australian Paediatric Pharmacology Research Unit and an Associate Director of the Melbourne Children’s Trials Centre, presented on his experience in the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in children particularly in clinical trials.
The Council discussed in depth the Improving Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2023, which was introduced as a private member’s bill into the Australian Senate, by Sen Pauline Hanson, on 9 March 2023. The Bill is for an Act to amend the law relating to the regulation of products made or that contain cannabis. Further information about this bill, including the text of the bill and explanatory memoranda, are available on the Parliament of Australia website.
Council also discussed the Road Safety Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2019 (Vic). If passed the bill will amend the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) to provide that prescription medicinal cannabis that does not impair driving must be treated in the same manner as other prescription drugs. Further information about this bill, including the text of the bill and explanatory memoranda, are available on the Victorian Legislation website.
Adjunct Prof John Skerritt and Adj Prof Robyn Langham provided the Council with a brief overview of the outcome of a recent scheduling decision on MDMA and psilocybin. On 3 February 2023, the TGA announced final decisions regarding the scheduling of psilocybin and MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) in the Poisons Standard. The decisions permit prescribing of MDMA for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) by psychiatrists who are specifically authorised under the TGA’s Authorised Prescriber scheme, effective from 1 July 2023. Further information about these scheduling decisions is available on the TGA website.
The Council received regulatory updates from the Office of Drug Control (ODC) and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Mr Avi Rebera, Assistant Secretary, ODC, provided an overview of recent developments concerning the ODC.
Ms Myra Kochardy, A/g Assistant Secretary, TGA Regulatory Compliance Branch, explained the rules prohibiting consumer advertising of unapproved prescription medicines, advertising that contains restricted or prohibited representations and advertising that contains health practitioner endorsement or testimonials, including the application of these rules to advertising by online medicinal cannabis clinics.
The next Council meeting will be held 21 June 2023.