University of Newcastle researchers commence Medical Cannabis Trials

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

University of Newcastle researchers will undertake critical research as part of Australia's first medical cannabis trial, announced this morning by Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward.

The trial, conducted in two phases, will assess the ability of cannabis to relieve symptoms including fatigue, low appetite, altered taste and smell for food, low mood, weight loss, nausea, insomnia and pain relief.

The first phase of the trial, led by University of Newcastle Chair of clinical pharmacology Professor Jennifer Martin, will produce world class pharmacokinetic analysis and sophisticated modelling to inform drug dosage and frequency of administration.

"It is essential to determine correct dosages, frequency of inhalation and any side effects," said Professor Jennifer Martin.

"We have state-of-the-art equipment at the University of Newcastle to monitor even very low levels of the drug and their breakdown products which can have both beneficial and toxic side effects in patients," she said.

The first phase will involve thirty patients of varying height, weight and gender to assist with modelling.

Once complete, the first phase modelling undertaken at the University of Newcastle will inform the state-wide, phase two rollout of the trial.

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

The initiative is part of the NSW Government's $9 million commitment to support medical cannabis clinical trials and is a joint research project with a number of universities in New South Wales.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.