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NSW slashes wait times for medicinal cannabis approval

The NSW government has announced patients who use medical cannabis will have shorter wait times and fewer forms to fill out to apply for use of the drug.

Currently, patients can wait for months for approval by the Commonwealth and NSW Health, after the sometimes lengthy process of finding a GP willing to prescribe the drug. Today the Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt, along with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced government will streamline the process by introducing a single application process through the Therapeutic Goods Administration. “A single approval process enables a focus on the world-leading clinical trials under the NSW Government’s $21 million invested into medicinal cannabis,” Mr Hazzard said. Wait times could be reduced to as little as 36 hours, giving welcome assistance for those who rely on the drug for chronic pain and seizure relief. Medicinal cannabis became legal in NSW in August 2016 for adults and children with approval on the basis of compassionate grounds. Patients use it for side effects related to ailments such as epilepsy, brain tumours and cancer. Since then, NSW Health has approved 73 applications to use medical cannabis, although it’s estimated about 100,000 Australians use cannabis illegally. Clinical trials of medicinal cannabis are underway in NSW and the first Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service in Australia opened in January for doctors, in hopes that it will encourage them to educate themselves on the drug. “We are committed to supporting doctors wanting to prescribe medicinal cannabis,” Mr Hazzard said. Mr Hunt made assurances that measures are still in place to ensure only those who need the drug receive legal access to it. “Strong safeguards remain in place to access medicinal cannabis but this move ends a duplication of regulatory requirements,” Mr Hunt said. Countries around the world that allow lawful access to medicinal cannabis include Canada with more than 235,000 registered users, Israel with 26,000 registered users and Germany with 30,000 registered users. It is also legal in 29 US states.

Originally published here:

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