World Health Organization Directly Contradicts Australian Government Propaganda Document on Medical Cannabis

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In a very embarrassing blow to the Australian government’s Department of Health, the World Health Organization unintentionally made a massive dent in the department’s reputation.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), an agency within the Department of Health, published a document a few days ago, titled Guidance for the use of medical cannabis in Australia – Patient Information.

The document turned out to be an embarrassingly low-quality material, doubling down on the misinformation that the Department of Health has been advocating under the leadership of Health Minister Greg Hunt.

The governing coalition has been playing down the therapeutic effects of medical cannabis and have applied legally questionable techniques to limit access to cannabis medication even for terminally ill patients.

MP’s have accused the governing coalition of having blood on their hands for keeping life-saving cannabis medication out of reach.

Health Minister Hunt has shown very limited understanding of medical cannabis and made many statements to make this clear.

His reasoning for keeping cannabis away from terminally ill and palliative care patients was that it could kill people.

“Removing the safeguards could potentially allow in dangerous drugs that could take lives,” Mr Hunt was saying, defending his actions.

Green Leader, Richard Di Natale, who is a medical professional himself, demystified Hunt’s claims easily and called it ‘utter nonsense’.

Instead of Mr Hunt reading up on medical cannabis, his department published the report with the same outdated propaganda, dating back to the Reefer Madness times.

Here are some quotes from the document to demonstrate the level of science denial and misinformation that is somewhat unprecedented in Australia.

The denial starts as early as the second paragraph.

“Currently there is only limited evidence about the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for use in different medical conditions. There is also little known about the most suitable doses of individual cannabis products.”

And it goes on and on with very similar misinformation statements throughout.

“As there is limited scientific evidence to support the use of medicinal cannabis in most conditions, and in many cases the evidence is for its use together with other medicines, it should be used only when approved treatments have been tried and have failed to manage conditions and symptoms.”

Well, that is interesting, perhaps Mr Hunt should read all the 3281 pages of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report that compiled evidence from 1193 witnesses (including 335 physicians, 467 civil officers, 144 hemp growers, 75 dealers and many other professions).

If that evidence isn’t enough, he could also read the report on the Panama Canal Zone Military Investigation into Marijuana by the US Military.

And there is also the LaGuardia Committee Report that has plenty of evidence he is looking for, as well as the Wootton Report from the UK, the LeDain Commission Report from Canada, the Shafer Commission Report from the US, the book Ganja in Jamaica – Medical Anthropological Study of Chronic Marijuana Use, as well as a Canadian Senate committee research into public policy on cannabis.

All these extensive and expensive research papers have one thing in common: they contradict the official position of the Australian health department on cannabis.

On the top of these existing reports, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a Pre-Review report on Cannabidiol (CBD), that directly contradicts the TGA claims.  

While the TGA report claims that there is no evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis for epilepsy in adults, the WHO report says the opposite.

“CBD has been demonstrated as an effective treatment of epilepsy in several clinical trials, with one pure CBD product (Epidiolex®) currently in Phase III trials. There is also preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions.”

CBD is currently a Schedule 4 (S4) Prescription Only Medicine in Australia, while the WHO report recommended it not to be a scheduled drug.

Fortunately, it is becoming harder and harder for governments to get away with misinformation and these kinds of embarrassments will hopefully keep governments more accountable for their actions on medical cannabis.


Share your views in the comments below.

Krisztian Panczel

Krisztian Panczel

I am stoked to be able to write for greendorphin.com as I’ve been passionate about the Cannabis plant in its every form since I was 14 years old. I have a bachelor degree of Agricultural Science and have studied plant production for 8 years. Meanwhile, I learned so much about plants that it was hard to miss the outstanding (quite incredible) qualities of this hugely versatile plant. After university I went on to build a career and recently I had the opportunity to return to this most passionate area of my life and have been writing about a wide variety of topics on Cannabis and Hemp.

9 Responses

  1. Corruption in high places is the ONLY reason cannabis is still outlawed officially.

    If we were allowed to grow our own, we could self-medicate at a fraction of the cost using a plant that is virtually a weed. However, big businesses would then experience a massive fall in the huge profits they make.

    So to prevent this they bribe (sorry ‘donate to’) political parties and pay off (sorry ‘fund’) universities and other research establishments for supposedly independent ‘research’ which, surprise, surprise perpetrates the myth that cannabis is dangerous.

    All the dithering is done by politicians who have a vested and financial interest in keeping ‘in’ with the alcohol, tobacco and (especially) the pharmaceutical companies; and that’s all that is keeping us from growing cannabis ourselves.

    The most obvious example is no less than the Prime Minister of Australia PharMa-lcolm Turnbull. He is a major shareholder in Immutep (formerly Prima Biomed), a pharmaceutical company actively searching for treatments** for cancer and currently on the Government list of approved suppliers to the Australian health service.
    .
    His wife, Lucy, is Chairman and the major shareholder of the company too. ‘Bite the hand that feeds him’ and ‘Conflict of interests’ immediately springs to mind!

    **Incidentally, I say ‘treatment’ as there is not much profit in curing cancer as that is a one-off treatment; the real profits are in the ongoing treatment of cancer, keeping patients alive but supposedly prolonging and making their life easier.**

    If ‘they’ are so worried about our safety having access to this plant, the following plants are readily available and often grown.

    Rhododendron,
    Lily of the valley
    Hydrangea
    Poet’s Narcissus
    Foxglove
    Larkspur
    Oleander
    Poinsettia
    Purple Nightshade
    Mountain Laurel
    Mistletoe
    Water Hemlock/Spotted Parsley

    However, these plants are more dangerous than cannabis; they are deadly if just a small amount is eaten! So why have they not banned these too?

    Tobacco kills millions worldwide, why isn’t that banned?

    Alcohol does more damage than all the other drugs put together, why isn’t it banned?

    AS FEW as 15 paracetamol tablets can cause irreversible liver damage or even death, so why are they allowed to be sold in supermarkets?

    Corruption in high places is the ONLY reason cannabis is still outlawed officially.

    1. Thank you for that, I am going to share what you have written as it could not be said better. This war on a plant needs to end and people need to be free to grow and use as desired and required, raw or cooked this plant has many health benefits and beyond its medical benefits are a multitude of industries just waiting to begin.

      1. Thanks Elizabeth, I just say what a lot of people feel. I wish I could think of a way to get the vast silent majority to come forward and protest at the unfairness of withholding cannabis from the people. The government are supposed to carry out the will of the people, which they are not doing reference cannabis. I wonder if a lawsuit such as started by Alexis Cortell in the USA would work here? https://www.cbsnews.com/news/medical-marijuana-epilepsy-seizures-alexis-bortell-lawsuit/

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