by FAYYADH JAAFAR / pic MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
CLINICAL trials could be carried out to test the efficacy of cannabidiol in the treatment of various ailments such as epilepsy, says Deputy Health Minister I Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali (picture).
However, he stressed that the laws governing the use of marijuana would still apply to ensure that the full effects of the substance are known and to prevent abuse.
“The Health Ministry (MoH) takes an open stance towards the use of cannabis in the medical field.
“As long as there is clinical and scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness, we will not stand in the way of any research or clinical trials involving it,” he said at the launch of the Clinical Trials Day celebration organised by the Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) today.
On May 18, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman urged the government to recognise the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
He said patients who are forced to use cannabis for medical purposes should be given due leeway.
“Hanging is an excessive punishment for these patients simply because their health problems require them to seek alternative medications such as cannabis and hemp,” he said in a Facebook post.
Syed Saddiq, who is also the Medical Marijuana Caucus chairman, said it was time for Malaysia to follow in the footsteps of more than 40 countries around the world in recognising cannabis as a medical alternative.
Meanwhile, the Clinical Trials Day celebration was held to honour clinical research volunteers, investigators, study team members, regulators and industry members who have supported the clinical research ecosystem in the country.
Dr Noor Azmi then presented the annual CRM Sponsored Research Awards to outstanding achievers in sponsored clinical research in the country.
Among the recipients were orthopaedic surgeon Dr Vijaya Kumar Suppan from Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim and consultant nephrologist Assoc Prof Dr Lim Soo Kun from the University of Malaya Medical Centre.
CRM also celebrated its 10th anniversary, marking a decade of helping to fund clinical research in the country.
According to CRM CEO Dr Akhmal Yusof, the organisation has now conducted over 1,800 sponsored studies since 2012 and has gained the second position within the South-East Asia region, after Singapore, in terms of the number of global industry-sponsored studies.
“We have established cooperation through MoH and Drug for Neglected Disease Innovation to find a cure for dengue fever.
“We cannot work alone; we have to work with other countries like Brazil, India and Thailand that have the same problem,” he said.
He also explained that the National Cancer Centre in Tokyo is also another partner in CRM’s efforts to find solutions for rare types of cancers.