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Addiction patient interested in medicinal cannabis as treatment


An emerging role for cannabinoids in the treatment of addictions

The ability of cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) to reduce anxiety, prevent seizures and reduce psychotic behaviour may be relevant in the treatment of addiction to alcohol and other drugs

Our Research

Development of cannabinoid therapeutics to treat methamphetamine “ice” addiction

This project is investigating whether cannabinoids have therapeutic efficacy in treating methamphetamine addiction. We are testing various phytocannabinoids in a preclinical model of addiction in which rats voluntarily self-administer methamphetamine.

Some of the findings of this ongoing study have been published, showing that cannabidiol strongly inhibits the intravenous self-administration of methamphetamine in rats. See

This is an ongoing collaboration between the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney and Macquarie University.

Research team: Associate Professor Jennifer Cornish (Macquarie University); Professor Iain McGregorAssociate Professor Jonathon Arnold (Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

Exploring cannabinoid solutions to the opioid addiction crisis

In the past decade opioid overdose deaths have nearly doubled in both the USA and Australia, now killing more people in the USA each year than car crashes, firearms and breast cancer. In Australia, the majority of opioid overdose deaths are related to pharmaceutical opioids. The severe physical withdrawal syndrome that emerges after cessation of opioid use is a significant contributor to individuals transitioning to problematic use and is a major hurdle to recovery attempts. The endogenous-cannabinoid and opioid systems are deeply intertwined, with numerous lines of evidence suggesting cannabinoids may offer a breakthrough treatment for opioid addiction. In this project we are using gold-stand preclinical models to assess the potential of cannabinoids for treating opioid withdrawal.

Research Team: Dr Michael Bowen (Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

A randomised controlled trial of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal

This is a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded parallel trial to examine differences in rescue medication (Diazepam) use (as a proxy for withdrawal severity) following a 5 day regimen of oral high dose cannabidiol (CBD) in 52 patients with alcohol dependency requiring inpatient acute withdrawal treatment.

Participants will receive one of the interventions (a daily fixed dose of an oral CBD or placebo) across a five day inpatient stay at either of the study sites; Royal Prince Alfred Hospital or Sydney Eye Hospital, both in Sydney. The objective of this trial is assess the clinical effectiveness, tolerability and cost-effectiveness of a fixed-dose of CBD during acute alcohol withdrawal in improving withdrawal outcomes for alcohol dependence relative to placebo.

This is a collaboration between the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, University of Sydney, Sydney Local Health District and South East Sydney Local Health District.

Principal Investigators: Professor Paul Haber (Sydney Local Health District) and Professor Nick Lintzeris (Sydney East Sydney Local Health District)

Project Coordinator: Katie Wood (University of Sydney)

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