Last updated on: 10/23/2009 | Author: ProCon.org

National Drug Strategy (Australia) Biography

Position:
Now Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"
Reasoning:

“In Australia the use of cannabis for any purpose is illegal. Although there have been some suggestions that clinical trials of cannabis for medicinal purposes should be conducted (e.g. the NSW government in 2003), no jurisdiction has indicated that they will conduct trials in the near future, and there does not appear to be widespread support for medical trials at the government level.

There is some evidence, from clinical research and case reports, that cannabis (more specifically, the cannabinoid THC) reduces nausea and stimulates appetite, which can benefit cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and those suffering from HIV/AIDS-related wasting syndrome. There is some evidence suggesting that THC can also assist with the symptoms of multiple sclerosis due to its anti-spasmodic properties (e.g. Zajicek et al., 2005). Cannabis may have analgesic properties which could benefit sufferers of a wide range of disorders, and may also act as an antiglaucoma agent (see Hall et al., 2001, for a review).”

Jennifer McLaren and Richard P. Mattick, “Cannabis in Australia: Use, Supply, Harms, and Responses,” National Drug Strategy Monograph Series No. 57, 2006

[Editor’s Note: Prior to the 2006 Not Clearly Pro or Con statement above, the National Drug Strategy had issued a Con statement in their 1994 report “The Health and Psychological Consequences of Cannabis Use”]

“Anyone who wishes to avoid the probable acute and chronic adverse health effects of cannabis should abstain from using the drug. This advice is especially pertinent for persons with any of the diseases (e.g. cardiovascular) or conditions (e.g. pregnancy) which would make them more vulnerable to the adverse effects of cannabis.

Current cannabis users should be aware of the following risks of using the drug. First, the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident is likely to be increased when cannabis users drive while intoxicated by cannabis. The combination of alcohol and cannabis intoxication will substantially increase this risk. Second, the chronic smoking of cannabis poses significant risks to the respiratory system, apart from any specific effects of THC. Third, the respiratory risks of cannabis smoking are amplified if deep inhalation and breath-holding are used to maximise the absorption of THC in the lungs.”

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
  Organizations/VIPs/Others
Individuals and organizations that do not fit into the other star categories.
Description:

“The National Drug Strategy (NDS) and its forerunner, the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NCADA), have been operating since 1985. Both NCADA and NDS were created with strong bipartisan political support and involve a cooperative venture between the Commonwealth and State/Territory governments as well as the non-government sector.”

Homepage, National Drug Strategy website (accessed Oct. 23, 2009)

Mission:

“The National Drug Strategy, a cooperative venture between Australian, State and Territory Governments and the non-government sector, is aimed at improving health, social and economic outcomes for Australians by preventing the uptake of harmful drug use and reducing the harmful effects of licit and illicit drugs in our society.”

Homepage, National Drug Strategy website (accessed Oct. 23, 2009)

Other:
Australian government agency