Test tubes being used in a lab experiment.

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Australian Hospital Begins CBD Epilepsy Drug Trial for Children

The Children’s Hospital Network in Australia is conducting a clinical trial of Epidiolex, a CBD-rich, cannabis-derived drug, to determine its effectiveness for children suffering from epilepsy, according to a report by the Maitland Mercury. The trials are a part of the New South Wales Compassionate Access program, which allotted $21 million to the research of medical cannabis therapies.

The GW Pharmaceuticals-developed drug contains 98 percent CBD and other cannabinoid components which have proven to be effective epilepsy treatments. It contains no THC.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said that the program allows some of the state’s “most vulnerable children” to access cannabis-based medicines.

“Parents have told us they do not want to play pharmacist — they want nothing but the best for their children and we are driven by this same purpose,” he said in a press release.  

So far, 12 children from New South Wales will take part in the trials, which will be administered by John Hunter Children’s Hospital. Another trial will be performed at Sydney Children’s Hospital by Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward.

“We have embarked on an ambitious research program to explore the possible therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids for patients suffering from a range of debilitating conditions,” she said.

The program is part of the larger Medicinal Cannabis Compassionate Use Scheme, which allows adults with terminal illness in New South Wales to access medical cannabis and possess up to 15 grams of flower, 1 gram of oil, and 2 1/2 grams of resin. Cannabis, and derived products, are prescribed by doctors and dispensed by pharmacists.     

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