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