Medicinal Cannabis

PARKINSON’S WA POSITION STATEMENT:
MEDICINAL CANNABIS

The term ‘medicinal cannabis’ also known as ‘medical marijuana’ covers a range of cannabis preparations intended for therapeutic use. These include pharmaceutical cannabis preparations such as oils, tinctures and other extracts. Medicinal cannabis products are regulated as medicines in Australia and are therefore subject to legal requirements.

The legislation of medical cannabis in Australia is a joint Federal and State or Territory responsibility. The Australian Parliament legislated in February 2016 (Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016) to enable the cultivation, production and manufacture of cannabis for medical and research purposes. Under legislation related to therapeutic goods (Therapeutic Goods Act 1989) medical practitioners can request access to unregistered medicines, such as medicinal cannabis, through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Approval can be obtained from the TGA under the Special Access Scheme which provides for the importation and supply of medicinal cannabis for a single patient, on a case by case basis or the Authorised Prescriber Scheme which enables an approved medical practitioner to prescribe cannabis for a specified condition(s) to patients without further approval being required. Approval may also be granted for the use of cannabis for research purposes in an approved clinical trial.

The benefits of medicinal marijuana in Parkinson’s are mainly anecdotal and Parkinson’s is not currently included in the conditions which have been researched or approved in this field. More research in all conditions and in particular Parkinson’s is required before endorsement can be given for its recommendation and use.

In conclusion: Parkinson’s WA Inc adheres to the current position statement of Parkinson’s Australia in stating that there is currently insufficient evidence to support the use of medicinal cannabis in the management of Parkinson’s.