Aug 12, 2019

Statement on medicinal cannabis - updated April 2020

The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre (ONJ Centre) is a comprehensive cancer centre which has a commitment to providing the best available care to cancer patients and their families. We do this by offering cancer treatments, wellness and supportive care programmes and access to clinical trials that evaluate new cancer therapies.

We recognise that many people with cancer, including our champion Olivia Newton-John, have reported beneficial effects from cannabis products. However, the current scientific evidence for the role of cannabis in the management of cancer and its symptoms remains undefined and uncertain, and for this reason cannabis is not routinely prescribed by physicians at the ONJ Centre. Patients should talk to their treating doctor if they have any questions or concerns.

We believe this is an important area for clinical research. We are in the final stages of planning our first cannabis clinical trial at the ONJ Centre so that the potential benefits of cannabis can be evaluated systematically. Opening of this trial has been delayed due to a combination of several factors. We see this as an important contribution that we can make to emerging evidence base for the clinical value of cannabis products and will proceed with our research in this area as soon as possible.

Further announcements will be made as our programme develops and we encourage those with an interest in this area of research to follow and support us through the ONJ Centre website and our social media.

Professor Niall Tebbutt, Director of Medical Oncology
Olivia Newton-John Cancer, Wellness & Research Centre
Austin Health