Thursday, March 7, 2019

The following is a letter from one of the pioneers of Medicinal Cannabis in the US, Andrew L McIntyre. I have republished it here in its entirety because it is crucial that governments and the industry do not lose sight of how and why the Medicinal Cannabis industry began in the first place, and address the very real concerns of the most vulnerable. The lessons and trends evident in the US, are also being felt in other jurisdictions like Australia and the UK.

Elisabetta L Faenza

Something That Grabs You: Epilepsy

Who opened the door of legitimacy for the Cannabis Industry?

As private use of cannabis to treat children with epilepsy became more widespread, caregivers and parents drew upon their talents to ensure safety at all levels of production. With a sense of urgency, families with epileptic children, small growers and commercial operations joined forces to perfect the process of producing and administering cannabis as medicine.

This collaborative effort resulted in significant improvements in testing techniques and plant type or strain selection.  This compounding of different types of plants and molecules is proving to support not only epilepsy health outcomes but also other similarly sensitive neurological conditions.  Our culture has not fully digested how positive kids’ health outcomes from cannabis truly are and yet the impact is already being felt like load roaring thunder.

An important outcome is that the successful use of cannabis in treating pediatric epilepsy has opened up new awareness in the public eye of how and why cannabis can support many other disease states.  All the groundwork that has been laid out in pediatrics is now being carbon-copied in such areas as geriatrics, where the insights gained about low-dose strategies for children were immediately applicable.

While the new pediatric strategies were created under emergency conditions, parental demand and grower angst pushed development, the innovations that resulted from this struggle are fueling many of the continuing advancements in the cannabis industry today.

Without this movement in pediatrics, various cannabis legalization bills might not have been passed and the techniques to deliver safe and quality medicinal product would not have emerged so quickly.  All of the successful pediatric studies changed the landscape of the cannabis industry, bringing a revolution of thought and legitimacy.  It was all driven by the efforts and sacrifices of parents, advocates, and medical professionals who fought for the right to access for kids.  This effort cracked the egg for the entire industry, but who is eating all the eggs?

Unfortunately, as the industry is exploding the parents and people who fought for legalization see other families are left behind.  They are still struggling for safe access to the specific medicines they need.  It varies drastically from state to state.  Thousands of cannabis cultivation licenses have been issued and some states even require pediatric formulas be made.  Yet in many cases, even when it is required by the state, many of the new licensed producers do not make the right formulas for diverse and somewhat perverse legal reasons.   In other cases the testing is not used to the standards needed by the parents and prescribing doctors to drive these proven treatment strategies. 

In fact, the scientific achievements around cannabis and epilepsy have been a great unifying factor of political factions in the cannabis industry.  These divisions in the industry historically haven’t always been on the same page, especially when it comes to legal definitions of drug class. 

It is now a moot  point as we know everyone needs safe access now.  This is an emergency and we are in the middle of healthcare crisis all over the world.  Every child in America should get access Rights now under the Right To Try Act.  We should lead!!   It should clearly be delisted from the FDA schedule and graded for quality like vitamins.  Best quality gets a different stamp with approval by parents and advocacy groups.  EASY!!  Please move the FDA's failed and inconsistent drugs laws on cannabis aside and let America take its next golden ticket to the global markets.  That is what the story behind the pediatric cannabis developments should tell us. 

Of course, we are not out of the dark age of confusion over cannabis as many of the cannabis industry leaders are still unclear on the production types needed. There will be leaders that emerge in the industry who understand cannabis is a warehouse of nutritional molecules. Finding the best ingredients  out of the 600 molecules in the plant is the equivalent to finding the God vitamin or supernutrient.  That is what we do in pediatric cannabis.  Something like this is happening in labs across the world after the new pediatric methods put a new drive to dive deeper into the science.

From Greek origins, the root of the word epilepsy essentially means something that grabs you. That something also grabbed the cannabis industry and set it on a scientific High with legitimacy.

The thing that takes hold of the person in epilepsy or the “Grab” that causes a seizure is a breakdown or interruption in the “bodies balance”.  This is what biologist refer to as metabolic homeostasis.  This is related to much more disease states than just seizure activity.  Not enough of cannabis science has been directed toward metabolic considerations but it has been slowly growing in the direction for decades.  These metabolic considerations are now dead center under the microscope as a result of the pediatric influence.  It is a very common understanding that the same diverse metabolic dysfunctions that occur in epileptic seizures are present in autism, ADHD, sleep disorders, bipolar and migraines. The list goes on.  The Door just blew open scientifically.  

If you do not understand magnitude of metabolism please take this part away with you and spread it throughout your circles.  This new pediatric cannabis emphasis on the body’s balance and its impacts on broader medicine is the equivalent to discovering and harnessing electricity. As a result, the industry is exploding with new low dose, low psychoactive techniques, and I believe it is just the beginning.  We owe this to the kids and their parents who won for us all...We should open access for kids like them now and in the future.  May their lives inspire us.

Please get cannabis use for epilepsy and autism on the right to try Act Now Mr President.  And Please push to Delist cannabis off the FDA drug schedule.

Hope and Health,
Andrew L. McIntyre

Friday, October 5, 2018

All Countries Need to Legalise Medicinal Cannabis NOW!


 Why we shouldn't delay on medicinal cannabis legislation...

I know I haven't posted for a while. That's because I've been working with a team of scientists, quality assurance manufacturing experts, cultivation experts, clinical and plant phenomics researchers and business leaders on a very important project.

If you've read my posts before you'll know I'm a writer who is extremely passionate about understanding the roots of health and disease and all the ways we can improve and maintain health and cure disease. This passion is very personal because of my life-long health issues.

In my book - The Energy Code - I explored many different mind and body health 'hacks' including mindfulness, hypnosis, exercise, diet, nutrition, hydration and over-coming trauma. I explored how our genetics and brain chemistry are both modified by our environment and lifestyle choices and how we can maximise our health, vitality and quality of life through applying these methods.

In early 2016 I fully ruptured my Achilles Tendon and was off my feet for 6 weeks and then spent another 6 weeks in a boot. I'd been working on a side-project looking at how we might extract essential ingredients from botanicals without chemical solvents and became very passionate about the potential of SuperCritical CO2 to achieve this, enabling people who are sensitive like me to use plant-based extracts without fear of reacting to solvents or preservatives. Around the same time the Australian Government announced the legalisation of Medicinal Cannabis. I had been interested in the plant's possibilities for years, but had been unable to do anything more than reading about it while it was banned. The time off my feet gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus completely on understanding what this amazing plant could actually do, and if it is something I should get behind.

This began a quest to understand everything I could, traveling to Israel twice to speak to the leading scientists in the field, talking to experts from the Netherlands, Canada and the US as well as emerging scientists in Australia. Very quickly I had an amazing, small team of people around me doing the same and by the end of that year LeafCann was born.

Since then LeafCann has been establishing production facilities in Australia, applied for licences, employed cultivation and quality assurance experts, begun a clinical trial into the effectiveness of Medicinal Cannabis on the Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia, and partnered with major research organisations to understand the genetic and morphological expression of different cannabis cultivars. 

In November 2018 we will host a Symposium that will bring together leading experts in Medicinal Cannabis research, regulation, medicine, patient access, plant cultivation and manufacture to discuss what is needed to overcome political inertia and medical skepticism to advance the sector and provide patients with efficacious, affordable, quality medicines.

We've also been liaising with government on both the Federal and State levels and pushing for more stream-lined and faster access for patients in need. To support this, LeafCann regularly talks to the media, contributing to the evidence based debate to bring the best quality Medicinal Cannabis medicines to those who need them most.

After a LinkedIn conversation with Carol Coombes OBE, I realised that there might be many in the UK and elsewhere who could benefit from the work we have been doing. So, I've decided to post our Australian media teasers on my blog and start posting more regularly about what we are learning here about the pathway to legal Medicinal Cannabis. I'll be in the UK in November and hope to meet with advocacy groups and government while I am there in support of the growing patient access movement that uses the hashtag #weeditandreap.

I hope you find this information helpful


Elisabetta Faenza, MAICD, BA, MIR, Dip Clinical Hypnotherapy
CEO LeafCann Group


UK moves to make medicinal cannabis available on prescription after being approved for use by government.

The move is great news for those with certain conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, however, there is still some work to do to make more products available to those who need them.  While imported Cannabidiol (CBD) only products are already available without prescription in the UK, they are extremely expensive and out of reach of many people with chronic conditions. Certainty around the future legal framework for a local medicinal cannabis sector is essential to the development of new cannabis based medicines, better affordability for patients, product safety and the fostering of medicinal cannabis research.

Phone app shows that medicinal cannabis is successfully treating a wide range of conditions

Recent studies conducted by the University of New Mexico have found that medicinal cannabis provided patients with statistically and clinically significant therapeutic benefits for a wide range of symptoms. The studies used the commercially developed Releaf app for mobile phones which allowed users to record immediate changes to their symptom intensity levels and side effects. With almost 100,000 recorded user sessions the studies contain the largest repository on the effects of medicinal cannabis. To date, the results are promising.

The studies found that medicinal cannabis has numerous therapeutic effects for conditions ranging from chronic pain to insomnia. Over 94% of cannabis users reported a reduction in symptom intensity, as well as recording that the side effects that do occur are far less serious tan those found in prescription medications. Medicinal cannabis has great potential to replace some of the traditional pharmaceutical products currently in use.

New data on opioid deaths means alternatives must be found 

A recent report released by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre has found that 1045 Australians aged 15 to 64 years old died from opioid overdoses in 2016. Opioid deaths have increased from 3.8 to 6.8 deaths per 100,000 between 2007 and 2016, an alarming trend that is also occurring overseas. 

Now is the time to look at alternatives, such as medicinal cannabis, for pain management rather than looking to pharmaceutical opioids which are far more dangerous. Medicinal cannabis is a safer option that has never resulted in death due to overdose, nor does it the addiction problems associated with opioids

Imitation products harm the medicinal cannabis industry

A recent report of 52 people experiencing illness after using unregulated cannabidiol (CBD) oil in Utah is a timely reminder of the dangers faced by desperate consumers forced to purchase unregulated (and sometimes illegal) products because they can’t access them through normal channels. The case in Utah found that over half the 52 reported illnesses tested positive for dangerous synthetic compounds instead of authentic CBD.   

This should serve as a warning to the emerging medicinal cannabis industry to remain vigilant and expose imitation products and their producers before they harm the reputation of genuine medicinal cannabis producers who diligently prepare products of the highest standards.

Time to face the (real) facts on medicinal cannabis

Results of a recent study on the effectiveness of cannabis in treating chronic pain are alarming to the medicinal cannabis industry. Not because the study challenges thousands of other studies that have found cannabis to be an effective treatment, but because it relies on flawed research: that used illicit cannabis (think street weed); relied on participants to self-report; and was not conducted in controlled conditions. Medicinal cannabis is treating chronic pain in over 30 countries, yet Australian research is not keeping up with reputable international studies. More work is required to educate the public on the real facts and potential of medicinal cannabis. The publicising of flawed research in the media must be called out and discredited.

Medicinal cannabis imposters must be exposed

The Australian medicinal cannabis industry should take notice of imitation products being produced internationally and expose the producers before they gain a foothold here. A recent report in Utah found that 52 people experienced illness after using what they thought was authentic cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Instead, they took synthetic compounds mostly found in a product called Yolo CBD Oil. A product so highly touted by its manufacturer that U.S officials still cannot determine who produces it.

Australia’s regulations and standards are heading in the right direction in what is an emerging industry. It would be a shame to see imposters enter our market and quickly reduce the consumer confidence in medicinal cannabis which has taken some time to earn.  

Cannabis extract might be the ibuprofen replacement you’re looking for

A groundbreaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant medicinal cannabis extract rich in a particular cannabinoid known as Cannabidiol, compared to synthetic cannabidiol, Aspirin or Tramadol.  This study leads the way for the use of whole-plant medicinal cannabis that is rich in CBD as a combined pain-management and anti-inflammatory treatment. It also further confirms the superiority over synthetic CBD-only treatments, and as a replacement for Aspirin, Nurofen, Voltaren and addictive opioid treatment regimes. Could Cannabis extract change the way we manage pain? 

Increasing synthetic cannabis overdoses in the U.S emphasise the importance of regulation in the medicinal cannabis market

Recent reports of overdoses related to recreational-use synthetic cannabis have highlighted the importance of ensuring the medicinal cannabis industry operates to the highest of standards. Although some medicinal cannabis products do use synthetic cannabis, these products are created in strict laboratory controlled conditions. U.S authorities report that recent deaths related to synthetic cannabis were laced with dangerous chemicals such as fentanyl, an opiate, or brodifacoum, an anticoagulant found in rat poison. Consumers can be confident that medicinal cannabis products available in Australia are free of impurities and safe to use.

Elisabetta Faenza - CEO, LeafCann Group & Medicinal Cannabis Precision Medicine Expert 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Getting the good oil on hemp food legalisation…

The Australian Hemp Lobby was given a mixed result today, when Australian State and Federal Health Ministers announced the legalisation of hemp seed with no or very low THC levels as a food for sale in Australia, but maintained the prohibition of the use of other parts of the hemp plant as a food or supplement.

Ministers met on Friday after receiving a recommendation from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the findings of a Swinburne University of Technology study showing that the consumption of low THC hemp seeds provided no risk to road safety.
Hemp seed food producers must ensure that products made from or containing hemp seed make no claims using the words, marijuana, cannabis, cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) or THC, or infer that consumers can get high from their products or receive medicinal cannabis style therapeutic benefits.
This decision maintains Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and is consistent with Medicinal Cannabis regulations, as hemp seed is specifically exempted from the convention. CBD remains a Schedule 4, and THC a Schedule 8 Narcotic in Australia and as such are prohibited to be sold as foods or nutritional supplements.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Coming to a supermarket near you - legal hemp food products?

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved Proposal P1042 to legalise Low-THC Hemp as a Food in Australia and New Zealand, and now awaits the results of a study on the effects on roadside drug testing, due late April. Health Ministers in Australia and New Zealand then have 60 days to notify FSANZ whether they intend to ask it to review its decision or not, and will meet on April 28th to consider their decision.
Should the Australian Government accept the recommendation, foods made from hemp seed or hemp oil will be legal for human consumption and sale in Australia. Long considered a super-food, hemp oil can be processed to make a protein rich flour and used as a substitute for wheat products.
However, recent announcements in the media about the creation of a Hemp Hub in Geelong, Victoria and millions of dollars of investment by the sector into equipment and facilities may be premature, as representatives of the Office of Drug Control (ODC) and TGA recently commented in a public meeting that until the UN signals its approval of Low THC, high CBD Hemp Foods, they will remain prohibited here. 
Australia has an obligation as a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961  & 1972, to not move in advance of changes to this schedule. Hemp is part of the Cannabis family of plants and therefore every part of the plant is covered by the convention (except for industrial or horticultural use). The difficulty comes when low THC Hemp is touted as significantly different to low THC Cannabis, which it is not. Hemp is the term used to describe the sub-species of cannabis used for industrial purposes, generally a taller and more fibrous plant. To produce the proposed hemp foods a shorter version of the plant would be bred, higher in CBD oils, which is exactly the same as low THC Medicinal Cannabis. 
Consumption of any part of the plant as a medicine is permitted under the same stringent licensing conditions that were announced in Australia in February 2016 for Medicinal Cannabis. Furthermore the total amount of hemp foods produced made from extracted oils would have to be included in Australia's Annual Narcotics Estimates to the UN.

The obligation of a signatory include the following:

"Article 36 PENAL PROVISIONS 1. a) Subject to its constitutional limitations, each Party shall adopt such measures as will ensure that cultivation, production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, possession, offering, offering for sale, distribution, purchase, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transport, exportation of drugs contrary to the provisions of this Convention, and any other action which in the opinion of such Party may be contrary to the provisions of this Conventions shall be punishable offences when committed intentionally, and that serious offences shall be lable to adequate punishment particularly by imprisonment or other penalties of deprivation of liberty."

In other words, because hemp flour is made from high CBD, low THC hemp oil, and touted as a super-food with health benefits, it is technically a Cannabis Medicine and therefore regulated by the Office of Drug Control. Legalising Hemp Foods in advance of the UN could put Australia into direct contravention of our international obligations, causing the loss of our status as a complying signatory. This could lead to a delinquency notice from the UN, and the destruction of Australia's massive potential as an exporter of Medicinal Cannabis products and hemp products to complying signatory countries.

The Hemp Foods lobby can't have its cake and eat it too, claiming health benefits from its CBD flour but avoiding the compliance standards and regulation required of Cannabis Medicines.

Will the Single Convention be updated to allow Hemp Foods some time soon?

Probably, but until then the Australian Government needs to tread with caution, and industry needs to look at the big picture for a sustainable Cannabis and Hemp Food sector, and not short-term gains by circumventing legislation.

Hemp seed, however, is exempted from the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and is the most likely candidate for legalisation, when Federal and State health ministers meet.
You can learn more about FSANZ and hemp foods here:
You can learn more about the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 here:

Why all the fuss about Hemp Foods?

While sourcing Omega 6 and Omega 3 rich oils from marine sources has serious environmental consequences, including the risk of heavy metal contamination, hemp is a vegan friendly, environmentally acceptable and ethical alternative to fish-oil and krill oil. High in insoluble fibre, hemp oil is also a good source of tocopherols and essential minerals.

The 9 remarkable dietary and skincare properties of hemp oil

With the imminent legalization of hemp as a legal food in Australia, and its touting as a super-food. Here are 9 reported properties of hemp, when used as a food or for skincare:
1.     Fact #1: Hemp Oil may help maintain hormonal balance: Hemp is the only edible seed that contains gamma-linolenic acid, which is eventually converted to the protective hormone prostaglandin PGE1 that regulates hormonal balance and supports menopausal health.
2.     Fact #2: Hemp Oil may regenerate and energise the skin’s protective layer: Due to its high content of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, hemp oil has a composition similar to skin lipids, which makes it an excellent natural emollient and moisturizer. It is especially useful for dry, tired or dehydrated skin and nails. Hemp oil increases the skin’s elasticity and the water retention capacity of tissues. Pure hemp oil can be used to treat dry hair and is often included in vegan hair conditioners.
3.     Hemp Oil is vegetarian and vegan friendly: Getting the right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can be tricky for vegetarians and vegans. Hemp oil naturally has the optimal ratio of these acids, is plant based and a renewable crop that conditions soil.
4.     Hemp Oil may lower cholesterol: The only vegetable oil to contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the right ratio (3:1), hemp oil may help lower cholesterol levels by accelerating metabolic processes. With a faster metabolism, fats burn at a quicker rate preventing them from forming plaques on artery walls.
5.     Hemp Oil may benefit diabetics: Due to its low glycaemic index, hemp oil can be a great food additive for diabetics. The nutrients present may help moderate blood sugar levels.
6.     Hemp Oil may help prevent psoriasis: Psoriasis has been associated with a deficiency of omega-6 fatty acids in the body. The fatty acids present in hemp oil may help improve skin oxygenation and hydration.
7.     Hemp Oil can boost your immunity: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids improve immunity while regulating intestinal flora, thus building a natural barrier against microbes and increasing digestive and immune resilience. 
8.     Hemp Oil may prevent demyelination of the nervous system: Essential fatty acids are necessary for a healthy cell membrane structure. They also prevent the demyelination, the destruction of the myelin sheath (a membrane that protects the nerve cells). Hemp oil is high in essential fatty acids.
9.     Hemp Oil may prevent varicose veins: Like other compounds high in omega-3s, hemp oil thins the blood, reducing blood clots and varicose veins.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Better than your current pain killer...


Cannabis extract (CBD) might be the opioid, ibuprofen or Aspirin replacement you’re looking for…

A groundbreaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant CBD-rich medicinal cannabis extract as compared to synthetic, single-molecule cannabidiol (CBD), Aspirin (non-steroid anti-inflammatory) or Tramadol (an opioid pain medication).
“Our data together with those of others provide legitimation to introduce a new generation of phytopharmaceuticals to treat diseases that have hitherto been treated using synthetic drugs alone,” the Israeli team reported.

This study leads the way for the use of whole plant CBD rich medicinal cannabis as a combined pain-management and anti-inflammatory treatment, and further confirms its superiority over single-molecule, synthetic CBD only treatments, and as a replacement for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (for example the NSAIDs: Aspirin, Nurofen, Voltaren) and addictive opioid treatment regimes.

References: Ruth Gallily, Zhannah Yekhtin, Lumír Ondřej Hanuš, “Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol,” Pharmacology & Pharmacy (Feb. 2015), 

Supplements, who really needs them?

You’ve probably heard a lot in the press about the ineffectiveness of vitamin supplements. You’ve probably also heard about ground-breaking studies showing the benefit of plant-based extracts in the treatment of hard-to-manage conditions. Why do these reports seem to contradict each other?

Well not all supplements are equal, and their clinical use is difficult to patent and produce at standards acceptable to the various regulatory bodies that govern medicines around the world. While difficult, though, it is not impossible. Recently more research has begun into therapeutic botanical extracts and better ways to produce them, and the evidence is compelling.

Think of it like this: while eating an apple a day is beneficial to health, taking synthetic versions of the vitamins and minerals found in an apple might provide little or no benefit. That’s because there are dozens if not hundreds of other molecules bound up in that apple that help it to support human health, that aren’t in the supplement.

The rule of thumb is, if a supplement is made of a whole-plant extract, and you can find peer-reviewed studies to support it, then it’s probably going to help for the conditions indicated in the study. If, however it’s a synthetic copy or just contains a couple of the molecules found in the plant, then odds are it will just help you to make extremely expensive urine. The other alternative, of course, is to simply eat the apple.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Cannabis shows promise in treating meth and opioid addiction

The International Journal of Drug Policy recently concluded a major Canadian based study into the effect of medicinal cannabis on pain management, tobacco use and prescription drug addiction. 63% of the 271 study participants reported that they managed pain more effectively with cannabis and preferred it to prescriptions pain medications. 30% of participants preferred cannabis to using highly addictive opioids. 12% of recipients had used cannabis to quit their tobacco addiction (Lucas, 2017).

In another review, The National Institutes of Health concluded that a "growing number of studies support a critical role (in addiction pathways) and provide further evidence that the cannabinoid system could be explored as a potential drug discovery target for treating addiction across different classes of stimulants" (Oliere, 2013).

 Studies, such as this one, are overturning the false belief that cannabis is a gateway to more potent drug addictions, and instead shows that medicinal cannabis is an effective and safe pain management treatment, helping sufferers avoid developing dangerous addictions to opioids and other pain medications while adequately relieving pain.

In a separate study, The National Academy of Sciences, found that there is no valid evidence connecting marijuana with increased usage of other illicit substances. As a result the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) was forced to remove unsubstantiated claims about marijuana being a gateway drug from its website.

This move is in line with a growing body of evidence substantiating the medicinal applications of cannabis for chronic pain and otherwise untreatable conditions. While smoking marijuana does not provide optimal dose or quality control, formulations based on Cannabinoid extracts and delivered as an oil, capsule, dermal patch or via metered inhaler show great promise with few if any side-effects.

As the peak medical practitioner body the AMA must now be under pressure to update its policy on medicinal cannabis and work with the TGA to support practitioner education and licensing, to meet the growing, medicinal demand.

Industry Expert: Elisabetta L. Faenza Co-founder – LeafCann


Lucas, Phillipe and Walsh, Zach, April 2017, Medicinal cannabis access, use, and substitution for prescription opioids and other substances: A survey of authorized medical cannabis patients,  The International Journal of Drug Policy, , Vol 42, pages 30 -35

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2017, The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: Current state of evidence and recommendations for research. Washignton, DC: The National Academies Press

Oliere, Staphanie, Jolette-Riopel, Antoine, Polvin, Stephane, Justras-Aswad, Didier, 2013 Modulation of the Endocannabinoid System; Vulnerability Factor and new Treatment Target for Stimulant Addiction, Semantic Scholar, Psychiatry, 2013
Cited at

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Can Mindfulness Empower Us?

What is Self-Awareness?

The process of learning mindfulness practices like self-hypnosis, meditation or other autogenic techniques, can be compared to preparing thoroughly for a journey. The journey of course, is life, however, armed and prepared with greater insight, we are able to understand and reap the benefits of observing and learning from the journey of life as never before.

There are many subconscious levels of perception and the more we consciously apply ourselves to the task of knowing ourselves, the deeper the level of perception and consciousness we can achieve. This is at the root of all mystic traditions, and what lies screened by the dogma of the world’s major religions. Knowing ourselves is not always a simple task, and the hardest part seems to be acknowledging our responsibility for the life we've ended up with. Once this is achieved, other insights come more easily. By learning mindfulness techniques like self-hypnosis and meditation we can begin to peel back the layers of self-deception that we create. Many of these layers were created as protection against adversity, loss and trauma.

In previous posts I have discussed the mechanisms through which we develop inappropriate behavioural  responses. When these responses are re-stimulated we act out old scenarios learned in childhood or early adulthood, that are mostly completely unrelated to the situation at hand, and almost useless as strategies for problem solving. Perceiving the origins of this behavior is a first, and very important step, but if lingered upon, can become counter-productive. We naturally seek to blame the authority figures of our childhood for all of our adult problems. Where does this stop, however? Our parents, equally, could blame their forebears, and they in turn their own. What does this achieve?

The answer to evolving beyond negative learned and instinctive behaviours, is to emerge from the cycle of blame and ignorance, and to look inside once more. Those behaviours could never linger if we didn’t find some comfort from them. This is what we call a secondary-gain. 

For example, sometimes the attention and sympathy of friends and relatives keeps us chronically unwell, or more precisely our addiction to that form of approval and validation that ensures we do not give 100% to the business of becoming well. Medicare, insurance policies, pharmaceuticals, invalid pensions etc, are all conspirators that cushion the discomfort of illness. They are necessary to assist us to get through the initial phase of trauma, and support us through the healing process, but become counter-productive over the long term if they become a crutch. 

This may sound harsh, but think about it for a while. Once we’ve been unwell for long enough, we can lose our ability to think of ourselves as well, and our self-image has shifted toward the victim end of the scale. Naturally, we feel we need help to cope with the repercussions of chronic illness, in the form of rebates or financial payment as compensation, especially for injury. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets. The part of us that no longer perceives itself as capable of health, clings stubbornly to the secondary gains of illness, preventing us from moving back toward a state of wellbeing.

Any type of subsidy needs to be paired with a caring system of rehabilitation - identifying what abilities can be strengthened and using technology to assist with disability. This allows us to emerge from helplessness and take back our power.

Please be aware that in this discussion, I am not referring to terminal illness.

These are issues I have discussed at length previously, but they are pertinent to the topic at hand; that is the achievement of an Empowered Life. Our interactions with each other, at all levels of daily life, are also governed by social mores, and were learned by observing the world of adults that surrounded us in childhood. We intuitively perceived the interplay of power in the world of adults, and adopted the behavioural tools we deemed most appropriate, in order to navigate our way through life. In summary, there are myriad ways one human being can relate to another, and most of the methods we employ are not only reactive but help to perpetuate the hostile environment that foments envy, deceit, murder, prejudice, war and intolerance.

We are Energy

It all boils down to the concept that individuals interact in non-visible ways. We often put this down to vibes, by saying someone has good or bad vibes. What does this mean? Does it reveal anything more than some amorphous feeling? The answer in my opinion, and coming from quantum biology is a resounding yes!

Physicists have discovered that there is a web of energy, which links beings together, formalizing what has hither to been called intuition. This web is an electromagnetic field of energy, measurable in the laboratory. It exists at the level of sub-atomic particles in a detectable manner, and its discovery has created a cleft between the adherents of mechanistic view of the world, and the more contemporary, but far less tangible quantum view of the Universe as a connected whole. Quantum biologists have observed the interaction of this field with human DNA.

Fritjof Capra, in The Turning Point, and The Tao of Physics, John Gribbons, In the Beginning, Peter Tomkins and Christopher Birds’ The Secret Life of Plants, Paul Harper in Cosmic Wormholes are amongst a wave of scientists and investigators in fields of physics, biology, anthropology, cosmology and genetics who have perceived the interconnectedness of life in the Universe. Even more than that, as John Gribbon put it, the Universe is organic, it is evolving and self-organising just as cellular organisms do. If the actions of very small sub-nuclear particles can effect each other over great distances, and seemlingly instantaneously, and if 99% of all matter in the Universe is invisible, then how can we say that humans stand outside the Universe as impartial observers, unmoved by the invisible, instantaneous processes that act on all matter from the quantum to the macro?

When you are able to see the Energy Field around all things, you are also able to see the state of flux of all things, and this helps us understand that our solidity is only an illusion. Electrons obey the Uncertainty Principle of physics, and can never be precisely placed in space. Instead, physicists offer a probability quotient for the position of electrons within atoms at any precise moment. In other words because sub-atomic particles are always moving, very, very fast, and because every visible thin in the Universe contains atoms, which form molecules, which form elements, which combine to become higher forms of life including all animal, plant and insect life, then we too are continually in movement.

The electrons within the atoms of our own bodies are vibrating and spinning at incredibly fast speeds so that it gives the illusion of solidity, much like a spinning propeller on a plane visibly cease to spin at a certain speed and gives the illusion of a disk, and can even appear to be spinning in reverse.

The Energy Field around all things in the Universe, animate or inanimate, is a cloud of energy being discharged by the atomic and chemical processes that occur continuously within us in order to keep us alive. Interestingly Kirlian Photography and the testimony of those who see the energy field, has shown that the mood, health and perception of any individual impacts on the form, intensity and colour of that individual’s Energy Field or aura. It has long been known that our hair, skin and nails reveal inner states of health, so why not the energy discharge of our atoms?

Those who can perceive the electromagnetic Energy Field of living beings often report flaring, or huge surges of the Energy Field in the direction of the perception, or when individuals experience strong emotions. We seem, in general, to filter out the information that would show us the world and ourselves as fluid energy. The five sense act as filters of information, not only gatherers, especially when compared to the sensory world of plants. As we evolved into moving, verbally communicative and creative creatures, we developed more specialized senses. We filtered out the ultraviolet and infra-red extremes of the light spectrum. We filtered out extremely high or extremely low sound frequencies and we lost our ability to pick up subtle odours. Yet, there are creatures on earth and in the sea, who are able to do any or all of these things because it is pertinent to their survival. We filtered out this information, perhaps, because it overloaded our brain, by providing too much input. By becoming more specialized it allowed our mind to do other things, like master speech.

A plant has a large open field of sensory perception because its movement is limited as is its volition, and it needs a very wide spectrum of information in order to prosper. As we lost our ability to perceive the flux of existence, and the dynamic interplay between the energies of living things, we also forgot our connection to the living world. We separated ourselves in towns and cities, and filled our lives with tangible, material things – so much so that we began to believe, falsely that these things were reality.

This is a rock-logic, unmindful perception. 

What is it? We ask, and the answer is – a book, a clock and car. We use the symbol book to connote in a very superficial way what the book realty is. Then we are fooled into believing that the symbol is as real as the information the book contains, then we begin to believe that like the symbol the information in the book is static and not dynamic. 

All of us are human becomings. We are still evolving, and have not achieved or become fully evolved, and may never be. The environment influences our genes. DNA is switched on or silenced by chemical tags triggered by these epigenetic signals. Experience can in turn alter the genes we pass onto our descendants. We started existence in this Universe approximately 15 billion years ago, and contain elements, which are only higher vibrations of the primordial elements of hydrogen and helium. We are the stuff of exploded stars, interstellar debris, gas clouds, volcanic eruptions, primordial swamps, prehistoric sea creatures, land dinosaurs and the higher primates.

Every element in our bodies has been on a fifteen billion year journey, evolving, refining itself and combining in new ways to create higher and higher orders of life. Here we are with brains that require the resources of an entire planet to sustain, with a history stretching back eons and yet we deny our connection to this planet and the cosmos at large?

Another side effect of limiting our perception to a rock-logic point of view, is that the pool of energy readily available to all living things became more and more removed from us, or to be precise we removed ourselves further and further form it. Natural things in pristine environments have Energy Fields that are enormous, and this is why we feel so good when we immerse ourselves in a natural environment. Indigenous peoples embrace a tree or rock in order to energise themselves before a confrontation or when they are ill, and many animist cultures attribute spiritual powers to all living things. We too were once surrounded by an enormous field of energy, but as we removed ourselves more and more from a pristine state of existence and spiritual connection with the planet of our birth, our Energy Fields diminished to a size that for most people is limited to less than a metre beyond the physical boundary of their body.

Because all beings need energy, if any being is cut off one source of energy it has to find alternative sources of energy. Most of you would think of food as the primary source of energy, but isn’t it interesting that the amount of food humans consume is not proportional to their energy requirements, and our ability to judge our energy requirements from food, via the hypothalamus is almost totally non-existent in Western society. Often we know we have fulfilled our caloric requirement for food, and yet we still feel lethargic or run-down. A balanced diet and perhaps vitamin therapy go a long way toward alleviating this problem, but what drives us to eat poorly in the first place? We are all capable of eating well when we feel good, but the minute we feel low or depressed, or drained we begin to eat high-calorie, low nutrition foods. The word DRAINED, is an important clue.

The primary source of energy humans use today (aside from food) is the energy they drain from other human beings and the environment. Having lost our ability to tap into the Universal Field of Energy and Information, we instead take the ‘easy’ way out and drain someone less powerful than ourselves of their energy. Of course, in the end this is not really the easy way out, because there is never enough energy around at this level, and the draining process creates a chain reaction whose end result is the society we lament all around us.

Overturning the tyranny of our genes

All of this can be changed by becoming mindful of the power we all have over our own lives.

Information and knowledge are at this moment competing with DNA as the determining force of existence. With inner knowledge comes the power to change everything about ourselves: to overcome the limitations of our physical birth, our upbringing and our environment. It enables us to evolve to a state unparalleled in the history of the earth. Our DNA, that guardian of our inheritance has given birth to a brain, which has runaway in its development, far outstripping the limitations of our genes. Our genes can add to themselves by mutation – and that occurs over a geologically long period of time. Epigenetics is a recently discovered process that reveals how experience and the environment can edit the genes, changing the genome that is passed onto subsequent generations. Learned behaviours can be transcribed into the genome, affecting how our children and grandchildren respond to stress and trauma. Mindfulness allows us to consciously edit our DNA.

Mindfulness training provides the key to creating a process of change, and a dialogue with our inner selves. It is the basis of conscious evolution that frees us from the chains of a slow genetic process of development from primordial slime to complete human being.  Change is the hallmark of our era, and the ability to change is the pre-requisite for survival. We do not have the time as a species, to wait for genetic mutation to come to our rescue, and help us to stop acting in a gene-multiplying self-prophecy of doom. No other species of living organism has ever had to face the question of cutting its own reproduction rate in order to survive, yet this is the very task facing us today. In fact, it is this most important characteristic of genes that reveal them to be the force behind the negative road of mankind. Genes are selfish by nature, and create a body that gives the genome the greatest chance of survival through reproduction. The gene is immortal and cares little for the carrier – the human in this case – except as a means to an end. The gene is also blind, and cannot see where this selfishness is leading.

The task we face is to take the under-utilised brain that our DNA has created and use it to evolve beyond gene domination. Through mindfulness we can free ourselves from gene driven behavior, that while good for the gene does little for our quality of life, nor for the future of life in general.

While DNA is slow to change, and protects itself against change, the mind is able to add to its files continually. Further, it can completely re-organise itself in the light of new information, it can learn new skills that influence its survival consciously. DNA, on the other hand, is a the mercy of mutation and natural selection, and can do nothing to change its chances of survival even over generations.

The only way we can be free of the tyranny of our genes, is to develop our minds. Mindfulness training develops skills that open up the inner world of our mind, and can help us in our quest for knowledge, enlightenment and self-actualisation. 

The choice is ours.


Elisabetta is the author of the best-selling non-fiction book - The Energy Code.
She is also the author of The Infidel, Veritas and Nemesis and was the librettist for  the musical  - D'Arc, The Legend of Saint Joan.
Elisabetta works is a professional speaker and consultant to government organisations, entrepreneurs and NGOs on innovation, change management and talent retention.
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