The CSIRO has been granted a licence to partner with local manufacturers to drive the development of new medicinal cannabis products in a move tipped to create Australian jobs.
The global market for medicinal cannabis therapeutics has a projected worth of $US44 billion ($A55 billion) by 2024.
CSIRO Scientist, Adjunct Professor Peter Duggan, says the new licence places the national science agency at the forefront of research into the development of new cannabis medicines.
"Around the world, researchers are exploring the potential for medicinal cannabis to help with conditions such as epilepsy and the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain," he said in a statement on Thursday.
"We had been able to do early-stage work with cannabis but the new licence will enable us to develop cannabis-derived cannabinoid medicines using innovative extraction, refinement and formulation techniques."
The experienced botanical extracts team at CSIRO will develop cutting-edge cannabis products in their state-of-the-art lab.
CSIRO is the only independent research institute in Australia able to develop drug manufacturing protocols in the medicinal cannabis space.
This work will bridge the gap between the growing of plants and manufacture of medicines, with researchers developing the manufacturing protocols and preparing the first prototype products before transferring the technology to manufacturers for large scale production.
The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is highly regulated in Australia.
In December the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved over-the-counter pharmacy sales of a low dose form of cannabidiol, one of the key components of cannabis that can help with a range of medical conditions.
Oils, capsules, oral sprays, lozenges or other drug formats, can also be prescribed through the TGA's Special Access Scheme.
There are more than 20 medicinal cannabis companies listed on the ASX and a growing number of licensed cultivators and manufacturers.
Peter Crock, CEO of industry leading medicinal cannabis company, Cann Group, and Chair of Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia, said the independent licence meant the CSIRO would be able to play a key role in helping establish a vibrant industry in Australia.
"Research that creates new and enhanced medical products and improves manufacturing processes is important if we want Australia's medicinal cannabis industry to be competitive in a global market."
Australian Associated Press