Medicinal pot 'needs more research'

UOW Associate Professor Nadia Solowij says more research needs to be done on marijuna's effects. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

UOW Associate Professor Nadia Solowij says more research needs to be done on marijuna's effects. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward says he supports medicinal marijuana as long as there is evidence showing it leads to a reduction in pain for sick people.

Mr Ward's comments come after federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce told media on the weekend he supported using the drug to treat terminally ill cancer patients.

Mr Ward said while he had "never smoked and never inhaled", he supported the use of the drug if it could be proved to help reduce people's suffering.

"I'm open to any professionally evaluated evidence in relation to any drug, particularly for those that are terminally ill," Mr Ward said.

"As long as there is evidence that can prove there is a link in terms of reducing pain and suffering then it would be something I would consider."

University of Wollongong Associate Professor Nadia Solowij from the School of Psychology cautioned against rushing into legalising medicinal marijuana, with more research needed into the therapeutic effects of different cannabis compounds.

"We know it has some medicinal properties, there are some benefits of the administration of low doses of THC with multiple sclerosis, managing ticks and spasticity.

"At high doses it makes one intoxicated and can bring on a whole host of adverse effects we know to be associated with THC, such as changes to the structure and function of the brain, memory problems and psychotic symptoms," she said.

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