The national science agency has received a licence to develop medicinal cannabis products.
The CSIRO will develop prototype products and pass the technology on to local manufacturers to create new therapeutics for a range of conditions including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain and nausea associated with chemotherapy.
CSIRO scientist Adjunct Professor Peter Duggan says the licence will put CSIRO at the frontline of medicinal cannabis research.
“We had been able to do early-stage work with cannabis, but the new licence will enable us to develop cannabis-derived cannabinoid medicines using innovative extraction, refinement and formulation techniques,” he said in a statement issued by CSIRO.
There are currently more than 20 listed medicinal cannabis companies in Australia as well as a number of licenced cultivators and manufacturers.
Peter Crock, CEO pf medicinal cannabis company Cann and Chair of Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia (MCIA), says his company has been working with CSIRO for three years.
“With this independent license CSIRO will be able to play a key role in helping establish a vibrant industry in Australia,” he said in a statement.
“Research that creates new and enhanced medical products and improves manufacturing processes is important if we want Australia’s medicinal cannabis industry to be competitive in a global market.”
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) last December approved over-the-counter pharmacy sales of a low dose form of cannabidiol (CBD), an ingredient of cannabis that can help with a range of medical conditions.
Medicinal cannabis products can also be prescribed through the TGA’s Special Access Scheme in the form of oils, capsules, oral sprays and lozenges.
The global medicinal cannabis market is projected to be worth $US44 billion by 2024.
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