THE first crop of medicinal cannabis is being cultivated in WA and could be available to patients early next year.
There are 13 companies licensed to produce medicinal cannabis in Australia but Crawley business Little Green Pharma is the only one in WA able to begin growing at present, under its permit from the Office of Drug Control.
Managing director Fleta Solomon said the company had been working steadily towards the goal of producing clean, southwest grown medicinal cannabis products and reaching the cultivation stage was a major milestone.
“Medicinal cannabis is relatively new and strictly controlled in Australia,” she said.
“Companies wanting to produce it have to obtain licences and permits from both Federal and State government agencies.
“We were the first WA company to be granted a licence earlier this year to cultivate and produce medicinal cannabis and it has taken six months of hard work to reach the cultivation stage this week .”
Little Green Pharma products will be manufactured in a local licensed facility monitored by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the WA Department of Health, with plants having been reported to have lower levels of the psychoactive THC cannabinoid and higher levels of the non-psychoactive CBD cannabinoid compared to recreational marijuana.
Ms Solomon said Little Green Pharma planned to participate in medical research on medicinal cannabis and was in end stage talks with reputable research institutions in WA and overseas.
“Medicinal cannabis has been shown to have a role in chronic pain management and some neurological conditions including childhood epilepsy (but) more research is needed into its effectiveness in treating other conditions,” she said.