By Emma Koehn September 2021
ASX-listed cannabis companies are racing to get low-dose medicinal pot products onto shelves, with hopes they will be available through pharmacies by the end of next year.
In February, the country’s medicines regulator - the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) - agreed to change the classification for certain products containing small amounts of cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient in the cannabis plant that does not get the user high but is used in therapeutic products.
Under the new rules, cannabis medicines in this category are classified as “schedule 3” medicines and can be sold in pharmacies without the need for a prescription. However, no Australian products currently fit the criteria for an over-the-counter medicine, meaning drug developers must set up clinical trials for new products and show that they work before anything can be sold to consumers.
“The interest in medicinal cannabis is strong, and it continues to grow,” said chief executive of ASX-listed cannabis company Cann Group, Peter Crock.
“The schedule 3 [pharmacy] product is going to take things to another level.”
The TGA says there is scientific evidence to support the use of CBD capsules to treat chronic pain, anxiety and sleep issues, but any over-the-counter medicines will have to provide robust evidence that they work for one particular ailment.