With an eye to becoming a global leader in the medical cannabis industry, Australia has announced the launch of its Medical Cannabis Council, tasked with speaking out – and reaching out – on all governmental matters related to the field of medical cannabis, and with supporting medical cannabis trials and research in the country

The council’s inauguration will be heralded by a three-day conference—the United in Compassion Medical Cannabis Symposium—scheduled to kick off on Friday, June 23, in Melbourne. The symposium, which is expected to attract an impressive array of medical experts and advocates of medical cannabis, has officially identified itself as “dedicated to the education of medical practitioners and access to medicinal cannabis for Australian patients.”

The Medical Cannabis Council will have some notable medical leaders on its board, including Prof. Mark Cook, Head of Neurology at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, and Carol Ireland, CEO of Epilepsy Action Australia

Advocates see the formation of the council as a hopeful sign in a country where barely 150 patients can currently access medical cannabis and where the regulations are still hampering its cultivation and production. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has long said that it is eager to see more vigorous clinical trials conducted to ensure “positive” patient outcomes. Dr. Michael Gannon, president of the AMA, insists that the diligence applied to all therapeutic products must also apply to medicinal cannabis.

At the symposium, international experts, such as Dr. Bareket Schiff-Keren, a pain specialist at Tel Aviv Medical Center, and Dr. David Caldicott, Senior Clinical Lecturer at the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, will offer workshops.

Subjects covered will be, “Lessons from Israel” and “Optimizing Medicinal Cannabis Policy,” respectively. Dr. Caldicott is aiming to allay the fears that many physicians have regarding medical cannabis, and he hopes to “bring Australian healthcare practitioners up to speed on the pros and cons of using cannabis as treatment, for appropriate conditions.”

[Featured image credit: Pixabay]

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