Medical pot trial welcomed by HEMP Party president

HEMP Party president Michael Balderstone has welcomed the announcement that Australia's first medicinal cannabis trial will be conducted in New South Wales.

The trial, for terminally ill adults, was announced this week by Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward.

"I think it's great they're doing the trials, but, meanwhile we've got one or two million regular medical cannabis users in Australia who remain criminals," Mr Balderstone said.

Michael Balderstone.
Michael Balderstone. The Star Archives

"It looks like they are doing a synthetic pharmaceutical product and they're gonna vaporise some pot," he said. "I wonder where they are getting the pot from; I hope its good quality."

Rather than conduct the trial, Mr Balderstone suggested Australia adopt the Portuguese drug model.

"I think drug use should be treated like they do in Portugal, as a health issue, but if they're not game for that then I reckon we should start with medical cannabis," he said.

The trial will be conducted by a research team led by the University of New South Wales' Chief Investigator Associate Professor Meera Agar.

"It will be undertaken in two parts, and will assess the potential ability of cannabis to alleviate distressing symptoms including fatigue, low appetite, altered taste and smell for food, low mood, weight loss, nausea, insomnia and pain relief," she said.

"This will add to the existing body of evidence based research to help better understand and evaluate the potential benefits that medical cannabis products may have for terminally ill patients."

Patients will begin treatment in early 2016 with initial results expected by the end of 2016.


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