Health Canada, the country’s department of health, is starting a committee to research how cannabis and related products can, or should, be used without a prescription or a doctor’s oversight.
The Science Advisory Committee for Health Products Containing Cannabis will “provide independent scientific and clinical advice to support the department’s consideration of appropriate safety, efficacy and quality standards for health products containing cannabis, including the conditions under which these products would be suitable to be used without practitioner oversight,” according to a news release.
The committee’s formation is part of an initiative to form cannabis-related regulations that began in Canada in 2018. As part of that initiative, from June to September of 2019, Health Canada sought feedback from the public and from industry professionals regarding the products they’d be interested in manufacturing, selling or purchasing if a legal pathway were established.
The focus of the new committee is on evidence-based advice and guidance. The committee will review available evidence regarding the use of products containing cannabis and will address specific scientific questions, review current and emerging scientific and clinical issues and provide evidence-based advice to help inform a potential regulatory path forward.
A sub-committee will also be formed to address cannabis use in animals.
The committee will be examining the evidence surrounding the safety, efficacy and quality of cannabis and specific cannabinoids when used therapeutically. The committee will also look at the current regulatory framework for cannabis products, the safety profile of existing products and what factors should be considered when determining dosage thresholds of specific cannabinoids.
Health Canada is now searching for eight to twelve members of the committee. Potential candidates could include patients who use cannabis for medical purposes, as well as experts in the following fields:
Cannabis and drug research
Medicine or prescribing practice
Substance use and dependence
Pharmacology and toxicology
Biostatistics and the analysis of data resources
Pain and/or sleep research
Health law and policy
Other expertise relevant to the mandate of the committee
For more information about becoming a member of the committee, visit Health Canada’s website. Nominations must be received by April 9, 2020