Call for strong regulation for medicinal cannabis

23 January 2020

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has expressed their support for the further research and, where backed by sufficient evidence, appropriate regulation of medicinal cannabis.

In a submission to the Senate Standing Committee of Community Affair’s Inquiry into the current barriers to patient access to medicinal cannabis in Australia, RANZCP President Associate Professor John Allan has emphasised the importance of safety and rigorous regulation.

‘We strongly believe that medicines containing cannabinoids should follow the same approval process as other pharmaceuticals to ensure acceptable standards of effectiveness and safety’, said Associate Professor Allan.

‘Despite promising results from clinical trials, there are still significant gaps in our knowledge about the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of medicines containing cannabinoids and the College is strongly committed to promoting the use of evidence-based best practice.

Education and training in relation to the regulation and uses of medicinal cannabis will need to go hand-in-hand with appropriate regulation.

‘Providing practitioners with education and training activities about the regulation of medicinal cannabis should be done as independently as possible’, explained Associate Professor Allan.

‘We can’t have bodies that have a vested interest in the marketing and commercial sale of medicinal cannabis providing this education, it should come from an independent body such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The RANZCP emphasised that training and information for medical practitioners about prescribing medicinal cannabis, particularly for mental health conditions should be based on sound evidence.

Continued research into the medicinal uses of cannabis, including for psychiatric indications, is required to ensure that medical practitioners can provide their patients with appropriate treatments which are supported by evidence.

For further information about emerging evidence in relation to the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of using cannabis in psychiatric treatment, see Clinical Memorandum: Medical use of cannabinoids

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Sarah Carr on +61 (0)3 9640 0646 or +61 437 315 911, or email