Researchers at the University of Adelaide will examine the effects of medicinal cannabis on advanced cancer patients in a trial using products supplied by Leafcann.

The “large clinical study” will be led by biomedical research fellow Dr Hannah Wardill following the award of a A$1.5m grant under the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund.

The CANCAN study will explore the use of personalised medicinal cannabis dosing to prevent common symptoms of advanced cancer.

Dr Wardill said the trial will aim to guide clinical practice in an environment where medical professionals may feel “ill equipped” to advise patients due to a lack of evidence.

Dr Hannah Wardill: awarded a $1.5m grant to conduct the trial

“Cancer therapies are highly toxic and cause a constellation of physical and psychosocial symptoms that negatively impact quality of life, dose intensity and survival,’’ Dr Wardill said.

“The CANCAN trial will show that targeting gut distress due to mucosal injury with medical cannabis will improve patient wellbeing and maintenance of intended dosing.

“Recent attention has centred on the use of medicinal cannabis for the management of these symptoms.

“While largely driven by patients and their advocates, the use of cannabis in this context has challenged medical professionals who feel ill-equipped to guide their patients due to the lack of empirical evidence.”

The hope is that personalised CBD and THC preparation will prevent and manage clusters of related side effects of cancer therapy including detrimental effects to sleep, appetite, mood, pain and fatigue, Wardill said.