2021 MHIQ Lecture Series - Australia's policy on the medical uses of cannabis: origins and implications

Principal speaker

Professor Wayne Hall

2021 Menzies Health Institute Queensland Lecture Series

Speaker: Emeritus Professor Wayne Hall, National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research, The University of Queensland

Topic: Australia's policy on the medical uses of cannabis: origins and implications


Cannabinoid drugs have been approved for medical use in the USA and UK but not been widely used because patients have found it difficult to achieve therapeutic benefits without experiencing unacceptable side effects. In 2016 Australian Federal and state governments responded to advocacy for patients by legislating to allow the use of unapproved cannabis products and cannabinoids for medical purposes under special access schemes. I describe how this policy has come about and discuss some of the issues that Australian Governments have had to wrestle with as a result: For what medical conditions should patients be allowed to access medicinal cannabinoids or cannabis in Australia? How should medical cannabis be supplied? What ethical and policy issues are raised by a special access scheme for medical cannabis and proposals to publicly subsidise unapproved cannabis products? How have medical cannabis policies affected policy debates about whether we should or should not legalise recreational cannabis use by adults?


Emeritus Professor Wayne Hall is an Emeritus Professor at the National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research at the University of Queensland and a Visiting Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW. He was formerly: the Inaugural Director of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research (2013-2016); a Professor of Addiction Policy at the National Addiction Centre, Kings College London (2013-2019) and an NHMRC Australia Fellow at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research and the University of Queensland Brain Institute (2009-2014). He has advised the World Health Organization on: the health effects of cannabis use; the contribution of illicit drug use to the global burden of disease; and the ethical implications of genetic and neuroscience research on addiction. He has advised the Australian government, the UN's International Narcotics Control Board and the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction on issues related to the medical uses of cannabis and cannabinoids.

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RSVP on or before Wednesday 21 July 2021 16.39 pm, by email mhiq@griffith.edu.au , or by phone 07 567 80907 , or via https://forms.office.com/r/kZ9Js64xAr

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