The Australian government has given a pharmaceutical company permission to study how medical marijuana affects the driving performance of patients.
As the acceptance of medical cannabis increases around the world, concerns have been raised regarding the potential effects of this medicine on road safety. Currently, many jurisdictions in Australia have laws banning patients who take medical marijuana from driving. These bans are premised on fears that the substance could impair the drivers.
The driving restrictions imposed on drivers, as well as the complex bureaucracy that patients must negotiate before they can be enrolled on the medical cannabis program, have limited the rate at which the medical cannabis program is embraced by people in Australia.
In fact, there have been reports of patients who are advised to try medical marijuana to manage their conditions and they decline because they aren’t willing to forego their liberty to drive in exchange for using medical marijuana.
The cannabinoid known to cause a “high” is THC, and medical marijuana products contain it in varying degrees. However, CBD is the most commonly used cannabinoid in medical marijuana products and it doesn’t make users high. That notwithstanding, it isn’t clear whether CBD can impair one’s ability to drive even if it isn’t euphoric.
That is the question that the makers of CannEpil, a medical cannabis product that contains a 20:1 ratio of CBD and THC, want to answer during this trial. This medicine was developed to treat epilepsy that is unresponsive to existing drugs.
This medication is currently available in the UK and Australia in the category of “investigational medicines.” This classification is given to drugs that have not yet been approved by regulators and are still being studied.
The trial will be conducted as a collaboration between MGC Pharmaceuticals (the makers of the drug), the University of Melbourne, and the Swinburne University of Technology. The study will also be used by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (ATA) as a source of safety data about the drug.
During the trail, 30 patients will be divided into two groups. One group will receive a placebo while the other group will take CannEpil. The test subjects will then be subjected to driving performance tests using a hi-tech driving simulator provided by the University of Swinburne. The tests are expected to be conducted over a 14-day period.
Analysts believe that industry players like IONIC Brands Corp. (CSE: IONC) (OTC: IONKF) and Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) will be looking forward to the results of this trial since it could open a serious discussion about some of the myths associated with medical marijuana.
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