Cannabis trial

New trial of medicinal cannabis for chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting

CTC is starting up a new trial to assess the use of medicinal cannabis to prevent nausea in people undergoing chemotherapy whose symptoms are not controlled by current drugs.

The trial is part of the NSW government's $21 million commitment to support medicinal cannabis reforms. The new form of cannabis to be used in the trial has been developed by the University of Sydney's Lambert Initiative. CTC is the coordinating centre for the trial.

The research team will be led by Clinical Associate Professor Peter Grimison from the Chris O`Brien Lifehouse.

Professor John Simes, CTC director, says: 'This new trial will be directed by leading Australian cancer researchers. It will be rigorously conducted and is expected to lead to high-quality evidence on whether medicinal cannabis can improve the quality of life of people being treated for cancer'.

In its first stage, the trial will involve up to 80 patients to assess whether the drug can be successfully tolerated and to establish the best dosage. The second stage of the trial will involve more patients and will determine whether cannabis relieves symptoms and improves quality of life.

The trial will recruit patients at Lifehouse and other hospitals in NSW. Participants must be over 18 years of age.

Researchers from the Lambert Initiative and Chris O'Brien Lifehouse have worked closely with Canadian company Tilray to develop an oral medication in capsule form, containing the cannabinoid molecules tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol (THC and CBD).

Professor Nicholas Lintzeris from the Lambert Initiative, who will be a clinical director of the trial, has said 'Synthetic cannabinoid medications are licensed for this purpose in other countries but this represents a major advance for cannabis-based medications-an oral capsule with reliable doses of cannabinoids extracted from cannabis plants, under pharmaceutical grade conditions. In time, we expect to see an expanded range of cannabis medication options for patients'.

26 February 2016