Australia funds cannabis medical research
This is no less than 3 million Australian dollars, the equivalent of 1,84 million, that the Australian authorities will use for research on the use of cannabis to help cancer patients, declared its Health Minister Sunday, as demand for cannabis-based medicinal products is growing rapidly.
Although legal in most parts of Australia, these products are only allowed for patients with a medical prescription, and a license is required to grow and manufacture medical cannabis.
On Sunday, Health Minister Greg Hunt said access was allowed to more than 11 000 patients, most of whom were approved this year.
"There has been only a limited number of clinical studies focused on medical cannabis, and we need to increase the evidence base to support health professionals," according to a ministry statement.
Data from the Ministry of Health indicate that 78 companies are now allowed to grow and harvest medical cannabis, compared with only one in March 2017.
Actress Olivia Newton-Jones on the front line
Olivia Newton-John wants Australia to catch up with the rest of the world in medical cannabis.
Newton-John, a cancer rights advocate, says funding is a good start, but says she's "frustrated" that only 11 000 Australians have access to medical cannabis.
The singer and actress wants Australia to catch up with the United States in the use of cannabis for the treatment of cancer.
"They discovered that it did not cause the problems that people feared," she told reporters at the annual Walk for Wellness and Race for Research in Melbourne last Sunday.
"People need to get rid of this old hippie cliché (about drugs)."
"It helped me a lot, with pain, sleep, anxiety, especially when I had to wean myself off morphine. I took cannabis. "