The donation that might change the face of the medical cannabis industry in Australia and across the world
Australia’s medical cannabis industry just got more promising, thanks to the $33.7 million donation for medical cannabis research by Barry and Joy Lambert. The Lambert Initiative is poised to play a pivotal role in the march towards legalization in Australia.
The first of its kind in Australia, the Lambert Initiative is a well-oiled research program on the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, rolled out in collaboration with the government as well as patients of various ails who are more responsive to cannabis-products than mainstream medicine.
Australia has been playing catch up with the rest of the world in the adoption of pro-cannabis policies. This relatively lackluster approach to cannabis policy revisions has mostly been due to the dearth of home-based studies on the therapeutic effects of cannabis.
The short supply of sufficient empirical evidence on the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, in general, is a punch line frequently pulled by prohibitionists. The Lambert family themselves are eternally grateful beneficiaries of the medicinal potentials of cannabis, but their anecdotal evidence can only do so much to convince prohibitionists demanding concrete empirical evidence.
Barry and his granddaughter, whose seizure has been successfully treated with medical cannabis. Source
The Lamberts knew that if they wanted to help others who could benefit from cannabis in life-changing ways, but who are denied easy access to the drug, they have to turn in concrete empirical evidence - hence, the Lambert Initiative.
Areas where new findings will most likely be unearthed
The Lambert Initiative seeks to unearth pivotal evidence on cannabis’ therapeutic potentials for the treatment of a targeted range of health conditions. According to the official site of the initiative, these conditions include pediatric epilepsy, chronic pain, obesity, addiction, and a number of neurological and mental health conditions.
The research will also shed more light on how cannabis interacts with the body in general, and is also one of the few to investigate the medicinal potentials of other cannabinoids in the plant besides THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol).
The initiative’s objective is to facilitate the introduction of therapeutic cannabis products into mainstream medicine in Australia and other parts of the world.
Beyond the laboratories
While the cardinal objective of the initiative is to gather more empirical evidence on the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, an offshoot will involve advocacy and educational activities to popularize the findings of the research.
Barry Lambert announcing the donation. Source
Although public opinion is heavily in favor of the legalization of medical cannabis in Australia today, the shortfall of knowledge on the most effective ways to apply the drug continues to undermine the stance of advocates.
The scope of this research project will span across a wide range of scientific and clinical fields, including plant science, preclinical pharmacology, and medicinal chemistry. The facilitators of the program are keen to seeing the fruits of the research generate an immediate impact on the industry, partnering with the government to roll out clinical trials based on new discoveries.
Furthermore, the facilitators are also looking to spread the word about findings to consumers, health practitioners, and policymakers. This is to ensure that findings in the research hold a significant bearing on regulatory approaches going forward.
Final words - how realistic are the expectations of the founders?
Medical cannabis has been one of the most controversial issues in Australia. It cuts across nearly every facet of life, from morality to politics, therapeutics, and even finances. However, without adequate clinical evidence, the full potentials of medical cannabis will most likely not be harnessed. People need to know what they’re taking, and exactly what to expect from the dosages.
Findings from sufficient studies will help bring about the production of more optimal pharmaceutical-grade products, and will also help medical practitioners prescribe and administer the drug more effectively.
The Lambert research also seeks to engage the government, the medical community, as well as medical cannabis patients in a quest to unearth a stronger body of evidence that can better-inform future cannabis policies.