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Cannabis-based drug to be made available to NSW children

A small number of children with drug-resistant epilepsy will soon be able to access a new cannabis-based drug in New South Wales which is showing promise in relieving the symptoms.

The pharmaceutical drug, Epidolex, is still in a trial phase and has not yet received full approval from authorities, but the Government has now set the date of March for a compassionate access scheme to begin.

Last year, the NSW Government approached the company that makes the drug, the UK's GW Pharmaceuticals, to see if trials could be arranged in NSW.

Pru Goward, the Minister for Medical Research, said the scheme was great news for families who had children with the condition.


Australia: Medicinal cannabis users fearful of arrest seek lift to protest

Medicinal cannabis users are looking for rides to a protest site on the New South Wales north coast, claiming they are too fearful to drive themselves.

Supporters of the medical use of the drug believe they are vulnerable now police are doing frequent road-side saliva tests.

Lismore resident Ron Jones has been using medicinal cannabis for six years to help with chronic pain and emphysema.

He wants to meet with the Member for Lismore, Thomas George, to talk about legislative change for those using the drug for health issues.

"I rely totally on a car to get around and I just need to go and talk to Thomas George and find out more information on what I can do to survive," Mr Jones said.


Women and weed: the gender differences in cannabis use and abuse

Naomi* smokes a couple of bongs in the morning after her two-year-old son has been fed and clothed. Once he is asleep at night, she smokes about 20 more. 

The 29-year-old says she wakes up feeling fresh the next day. She pays her bills, sticks to a routine and never smokes in front of her son.

With cannabis, "everything is that little bit more pleasant," Naomi says. But without it, her body begins to shake and anxiety takes over. "I couldn't ever imagine anything worse than going without marijuana," she says.


Patients Taking Opioids Feel Greater Relief When Associating A Cannabinoid Therapy

A recent Australian study examines a large sample of patients with chronic pain who have been prescribed a treatment with opioids. The objectives include the analysis of the mode of simultaneous intake of cannabis and opioids, its effects on patients suffering from chronic pain and the relationships between demographic and clinical data.


Controlled Substance Classifications Vary Widely Around the Globe

Las Vegas—A new paper provides the first compendium of controlled substance classification systems around the world, revealing a broad spectrum of regulations but little consensus as to what works best.


New Zealand: New focus on drug testing

Some of Northland's largest organisations are tightening up their drug testing policies for staff amid stricter workplace regulations amid news the region's rate of failed employee drug tests after workplace incidents is more than double the national average.

Glenn Dobson, group general manager of the New Zealand Drug Detection Agency (NZDDA), which operates a branch in Whangarei, said its most recent figures showed 13.4 per cent of post-incident tests in Northland returned an indication of drugs against the national average of 6.4 per cent.

The region's lead drug detection agency also revealed that during random testing in Northland in 2014, 8.6 per cent of employees returned an indication of drugs present, against a national average of 5.3 per cent.


New Zealand: Helen Kelly wants referendum on legalising cannabis at the next election

Terminally ill former trade unions boss Helen Kelly wants a referendum on whether cannabis should be legalised, and says she is talking to MPs about making it happen.

Kelly, who has lung cancer, has been taking cannabis oil sourced from the black market to relieve her pain and believes it is "absolutely ludicrous" New Zealand's laws have forced her to do so.

"If we can have a referendum on the New Zealand flag, then we can have a referendum on this issue," she said on Saturday.


Airbnb guests in Australia get police raid after owner used 'off-limits' room to grow cannabis

A couple and their five children rented an Airbnb home in Australia subject to “horrifying” drugs raid

A family was renting a home via Airbnb in Australia and preparing a Christmas barbecue when a team of ten police officers raided the property and uncovered an elaborate drugs operation in an “off-limits” room.

Dieter Winkler and his partner and five children were staying at a three-bedroom house on the Gold Coast in Queensland on December 27 when police wearing bulletproof vests kicked the door down and began an extensive search.


Spate of overdoses prompts call for more education on recreational drugs

The Drug Foundation is calling for more information about recreational drugs to be made available to drug users after a spate of overdoses in Auckland.

Seven overdoses in just 48 hours caught Auckland's emergency services off guard as the unconscious patients were rushed to hospital, including two people found critically ill at an inner city brothel yesterday.

"If our crews see one or two patients at this time of year it's kind of thought of business as usual. But with so many patients being in the critical state that they are, that's the surprise," said St John operations manager Doug Gallagher.


Christmas Island medical cannabis plan: community expresses concern

Plans to grow Australia's first commercial crop of medical cannabis at Christmas Island have met resistance from some locals, who fear that islanders won't see the financial benefits and drugs may end up in the hands of local youths.

The cannabis proposal is the latest of a series of developments that have raised the ire of Christmas Island residents, who say the controversial detention centre damages efforts to grow the island's tourism industry and a reduction in the frequency of government-contracted planes means mail is frequently delayed.

Australian firm AusCann announced last month it will plant trial medical cannabis crops on Christmas Island, 2600 kilometres northwest of Perth.


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