Reforms to laws governing the sale of medicinal cannabis that will soon allow some products to be bought over-the-counter were welcomed by a Jewish medical cannabis entrepreneur who signed a contract with a major pharmaceutical chain.
The agreement between Tommy Huppert’s Cannatrek company and the Jewish Chemist Warehouse (CW) was hailed as an important step in the treatment of conditions such as inflammation and anxiety.
Huppert is an Australian expert on Israeli medical cannabis development initiatives and was presented at a Hadassah Australia medical conference in Jerusalem four years ago.
Importantly, cannabidiol (CBD), the medical cannabis that will soon be available over the counter, does not contain the psychoactive agent found in some forms of cannabis.
Huppert stated that both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD cannabis products have been available with a prescription since Australia legalized medical cannabis in 2016.
Under the agreement, Cannatrek will work with CW to develop and launch new products, including CBD.
Changes to Australian law last month included a change in the scheduling of drugs that are overseen by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) so that CBD, currently only available by prescription, is available over-the-counter as a “pharmacist only” Medicine”.
Huppert informed The AJN that CBD will be available over the counter once the TGA specifically approves the product as a List 3 drug. However, this could be at least 12 months away.
The Cannatrek CEO welcomed the CW deal, saying, “The ultimate winner will be Australian consumers who gain access to quality medicinal cannabis products through a visit to Australia’s largest chain of pharmacies.”
He added, “We will continue to run educational programs in Australia with our partners including Chemist Warehouse. The point here is to increase the comfort factor for doctors and specialists in Australia in order to make medical cannabis more general and more available to patients. ”
He said the cannabis will come from plants grown at his company’s facility in Brisbane and that supplies will later be increased by a planned new facility in Shepparton, Victoria.
CW chairman and co-founder Jack Gance noted that “low-dose cannabidiol is used to treat conditions such as stress, pain, anxiety and insomnia”. He was “pleased that the TGA has agreed to allow over-the-counter sales of CBD in a controlled environment through pharmacies”.
He added, “Unfortunately, CBD’s reputation has deteriorated over the years. What is important is that CBD has medicinal properties without the psychoactive properties of tetrahydrocannabinol. “Both partners agreed that research into the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for certain treatments is increasing, but is currently in its infancy.
They urged patients to always speak to a doctor before making decisions about their treatment options.
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