More MS news articles for November 2000

Marijuana as medicine debate rages

Thursday 2 November 7:00 PM

The head of the Australian National Council on Drugs says marijuana should not be promoted as a medicine.

Major Brian Watters from the Australian National Council on Drugs is concerned the introduction of legal cannabis for medicinal purposes promotes the drug without offering the negative side effects.

He says if introduced it needs to be strictly monitored.

"I don't think we ought to be allowing people to grow it themselves," he said.

"Perhaps they need to look at some way of making it available through a government-controlled system."

He agrees cannabis may help with pain relief but says smoking it causes other health problems such as respiratory problems.


The Australian Democrats in South Australia want a national approach towards a proposal to trial cannabis as a pain reliever for the terminally ill.

The New South Wales Premier Bob Carr has indicated he would support a two-year trial in his state, which would involve legally giving a small number or patients access to the drug to alleviate pain and loss of appetite.

The Australian Medical Association says a clinical trial is a commonsense approach and other states should look at the idea.

The Democrats' Leader in South Australia, Mike Elliott, says a South Australian parliamentary committee recommended the therapeutic use of cannabis several years ago.

He says the most effective approach to a proposed trial would be to involve all states.