CSIRO aims to get into medical cannabis to take advantage of the $ 44 billion market


Cannabis cough drops and a variety of products that harness the medicinal properties of marijuana could soon be manufactured by Australia’s national science agency to help put the country at the forefront of a potentially $ 44 billion global industry by 2024.

CSIRO is currently the only independent research institute in Australia capable of developing protocols for manufacturing drugs in the medical cannabis field. The agency has been granted a new license to work with local manufacturers to manufacture therapeutics.

CSIRO scientist Professor Peter Duggan told The West Live that the new license would bridge the gap between growing the cannabis plants and converting the plants into medicines.

“There are already more than 20 (medical cannabis companies) on the stock exchange and a number of private companies, so there is a lot of interest in the Australian scene,” said Professor Clegg.

“But one of the problems is that a lot of these companies have focused on growing the crops, getting the right genetics, learning how to dry them, and that the next stage is actually producing, not much work medication was provided. “

Camera iconBranch manager Ruby Amsden (left) takes care of medical marijuana customer and retired nurse Jan Stewart at Minerva’s medical cannabis dispensary in Santa Fe, USA, who uses cannabis to relieve the pain associated with her recovery from bone cancer and help sleep. Photo credit: Morgan Lee/.AP

Professor Duggan said smoking a joint is not an acceptable way to ingest medical cannabis in Australia. The easiest means of delivering such a drug is therefore to put the cannabis extract in an oil such as coconut oil.

“It’s already mandatory in Australia, but that’s pretty low technology,” said Professor Duggan.

“Capsules or tablets are a minor addition, but there are many other formats that we expect to be quite effective, such as lozenges or wafers … drinks, but there is great interest in transdermal delivery through the skin with creams.” and stains. “

Researchers are investigating the potential of medicinal cannabis in conditions such as epilepsy, nausea, and vomiting related to chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain.

The leaves of a marijuana plant in Ultra Health's greenhouse in Bernalillo, New Mexico.Camera iconThe leaves of a marijuana plant in Ultra Health’s greenhouse in Bernalillo, New Mexico. Photo credit: Susan Montoya Bryan/.AP

Olivia Newton-John, diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2017, announced last year that she and her husband John Easterling, a specialist in plant medicine, are growing their own cannabis in a greenhouse on their California property.

“I know Australia is a little behind the rest of the world in cannabis, but I hope Australia will eventually realize that cannabis is a medicine and can help people,” she said at the time.

The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is heavily regulated in Australia.

In December, however, the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved over-the-counter pharmacy sales of a low-dose form of cannabidiol (commonly abbreviated as “CBD”), one of the key components of cannabis that can help a range of medical conditions.

Olivia Newton John.Camera iconOlivia Newton John. Credit: MARK SULLIVAN-BRADLEY/.News Corp Australia

Professor Duggan said it is possible that some people are trying to use the system to obtain medicinal cannabis products for recreational purposes, as has been observed in America.

“There are potential side effects and potential drug interactions that can lead to unfortunate consequences. So it’s really important that people taking these drugs do so through a doctor,” he said.

However, the CSIRO scientist said he couldn’t see Australia follow in America’s footsteps, where CBD is now found in beer, chocolate, and a variety of readily available products.

“There is obviously an impetus for this in some parts of Australian society, but many medical cannabis companies are not interested because it complicates things and makes it difficult to properly control and care for patients,” said Professor Duggan.