80 openings for first medicinal cannabis trials

CANCER patients across New South Wales can now apply to take part in Australia's first medical marijuana trials.

The NSW Government has opened 80 slots for patients affected by chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting to take part in the experiment, with scope to expand the trials to a further 250 patients across the state.

Sydney-based cancer treatment centre Chris O'Brien Lifehouse will run the trial with the University of Sydney, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and other cancer centres.

Medical oncologist Associate Professor Peter Grimison, who will lead the research, published an article at TheConversation.com on Monday explaining the jury was still out on marijuana-based medicines' effectiveness to treat debilitating illnesses.

"We can't predict the outcome. The trials could show a benefit of medicinal cannabis, but they could also show that medicinal cannabis doesn't work or has overwhelming side effects," he said.

"We are hopeful that, at the very least, NSW patients will be given a clear, scientific basis upon which to make important decisions about their treatment in the future."

Medical Research Minister Pru Goward said the trial was the biggest and most definitive of its type ever conducted worldwide.

"The trial will play a critical role in developing a better understanding of how cannabis products may provide relief for cancer patients," she said.


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