FreshLeaf Analytics discovered evidence of the "watershed move" in a submission to the Senate Inquiry into improving patient access to medicinal cannabis.
According to FreshLeaf Analytics—which operates as a division of Southern Cannabis Holding—the Australian Government may be preparing to introduce over-the-counter CBD at some point during 2020.
The information was uncovered as part of detailed submission from the Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH) to the Australian Senate's Inquiry into barriers preventing patient access to medicinal cannabis.
If the only thing making the TGA hesitate about allowing low-dose (15-100mg/day by their definition) CBD products to be made available OTC is safety, it doesn't seem like they'll have much of a problem. The effects of low-dose CBD may be negligible for many patients, but it's a pretty benign drug and is already widely available online and in retail outlets across North America and Europe. FreshLeaf Analytics Principal Consultant, Rhys Cohen
The submission revealed that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is currently in the process of undertaking a safety review of lower dosage CBD, which indicates that the Australian Government may be considering a possible relaxation of its scheduling status at some point in 2020.
If this takes place it would constitute a "watershed moment" for the Australian medicinal cannabis system, which could have "far-reaching" implications for both patients and healthcare providers.
However, the submission also noted that the relaxation of CBD's legal status will be dependant of the outcome of the TGA's current studies.
The Cannabis Access Clinics medical advisory board member and addiction specialist, Dr Mark Hardy, also noted that patients who may benefit from medicinal cannabis would likely require higher dosages than the 15-100mg threshold currently being studied by the TGA.
"While the CBD products the DoH is referring to are likely to be fairly benign, patients who are seeking treatment for conditions that may benefit from medicinal cannabis may require higher dosages or other cannabinoids such as THC and should therefore consult their GP before taking these products, even in small amounts," Dr Hardy said.
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