NSW children suffering severe, debilitating and treatment-resistant epilepsy will soon be able to access medicinal cannabis as part of an Australian-first clinical trial.
The experimental, cannabis-based Epidiolex drug will be delivered through the Sydney Children's Hospital to an initial group of 40 NSW families in need, with the hope of expanding the trial to hundreds within the next 12 months.
"This is a day we give hope to some of the sickest kids in NSW," Mike Baird told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
The NSW Premier said while the drug was still in the final stages of development across the world, it was beginning to yield staggering results where other forms of treatment had failed.
"For three out of 10 there is a significant benefit, a significant improvement in their condition," he said.
"And for one out of 10, it's miraculous."
Mr Baird cautioned the medicine would not work for everybody, but said delivering results for some desperate families where all hope of relief had been lost, was worth fighting for.
Clinicians will seek out children suffering the most severe cases of epilepsy to begin with, before casting the trial net wider.
"This is the start, and you start with the sickest of the sick, but obviously we hope to provide it to everyone who wants it in coming months," Mr Baird said.
The drug - produced as a liquid and administered orally twice a day - will be supplied to children who have exhausted conventional treatment options and meet criteria for the scheme.
It is expected to have the biggest impact on younger patients, with children involved to be pulled from the program if they show little or no signs of improvement.