Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The conspiracy of conspiracies

I decided to write this blog update after weeks of concern about the tsunami of misinformation that permeates social media and many private conversations during this time of Coronavirus.

When I was in my 20s and 30s I was obsessed with conspiracy theories. As a student of history and a writer I was fascinated with how people could take a small sliver of fact or opinion and develop a whole universe around it, but unlike an author, not know it was fiction. As an author, I love it when one of my off-the-wall hypotheses can be supported by a correlation or gap in history. It is exciting to be able to build a whole world, characters and events within that gap.

But here is the thing: I know it is fantasy, I know it is fiction. I don't conflate my wishes for neat explanations and fanciful, adventurous narratives with the reality. What I learned studying conspiracy theories for over 20 years is that they are seductive, because quite frankly they are more interesting than real life. They allow us to believe that we aren't responsible for the failures in our lives, that it is somebody else's fault, and excuses us from participating in the civic project of advancing our society.

A conspiracy theory is also extremely attractive, because like the mythologies created by cult leaders, a select few of us can become the hero in our stories, because we are privy to secrete knowledge, only given to the elect. Sheeple won't get it, sheeple will refute the evidence that you find so convincing. Sheeple will counter your experts with their experts who are just part of the conspiracy. This circular argument is a bit like the fundamentalist religious argument about faith. Faith can't be argued with, because to argue with it is an act of apostasy. If we ask for proof we are not faithful, not one of the chosen and we will no longer be special, but instead are the handmaidens of the devil.

The 5G Coronavirus conspiracy is a distressing case in point. The current meme's circulating have led to the destruction of property and the threatening of anybody who looks like they are working on 5G infrastructure. Let's be clear, 5G cannot penetrate living cells. It cannot change the genetic make-up of any cell because its part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is too weak to enter the cell, has been shown to be safe and has been used in a range of telecommunications products for decades. It is not that different to 4G, which most of you are using to read this blog. I would also like to note that your home microwave, stove-top, oven and television most likely emit more radiation in your home than any 5G emitter could ever do.*

Likewise with Australia's new Coronavirus tracking app. If you use facebook, messenger, What'sApp, google maps, Amazon Prime, Outlook mail, zoom, or use a search-engine you have already given away an enormous amount of information, and it has already been hacked, sold or used to advertise products to you online. You have also already given away information that could be handed over under a subpoena to the Australian, US or other government if they suspect you may have participated in terrorist or other criminal activity. The Australian Government has made a commitment that this will not happen with any contact information you voluntarily provide to the government, should you test positive for Covid-19.

The Australian Coronavirus app is designed to allow us to get back to our lives in a coordinated way, so that should an outbreak happen, contact tracking can be facilitated more quickly. It is not tracking your movements, just your contacts if, and only if, you have downloaded the app and have it running in the background, you have come in contact for 15 minutes or more with someone who then tests positive for Covid-19, you are then contacted by someone from the Health Department and informed you have been in contact with that person, you then decide to upload the data, which up to that point has been stored on your phone. Furthermore, you can delete the app at any time.

What is the point of a conspiracy in the first place? A conspiracy can be the product of imagination by someone who, to make themselves feel more important, becomes the centre of everything that is happening. This is a form of magical thinking that most people grow out of by 11 or 12 years of age. For instance thinking the Coronavirus App has been specifically designed to trap you. As a person who suffered considerable abuse as a child it took me a bit longer to grow out of this mode of thinking. I also have a good imagination, so I tend to connect the dots in creative ways. Fortunately, at this point in my life, I am mentally robust enough to be able to tell the difference.

This study of conspiracies has led me to understand that, unlike the person who seeks to be the centre of the universe and engage in conspiracy theories, the originators of many of these conspiracies aren't so innocent, and don't believe the conspiracies themselves. They use conspiracies as tools to further their own greed and lust for power. Many conspiracies are used by convincing salesmen to push a product, course, book or course to help you 'see the truth' and you sign-up because you want to understand what is going on, to be able to look behind the veil of world history. They rely on 'confirmation bias' - the concept that people like to believe things that advance their existing belief system. Therefore it is easier to convince an anti-vaccination adherent that 5G is dangerous, because it confirms to their basic distrust of science, despite the originator of the anti-vaccination movement admitting his study was fraudulent, retracting it publicly and numerous subsequent studies showing no relationship between vaccines and autism.*** The originators of these conspiracies make money through product sales, advertising, subscribers, tours etcetera and they have discovered that on YouTube the more ridiculous and outrageous the claim, the more views and followers you get. This has led us to believe things that a decade ago we simply would not have fallen for en masse. The viral nature of social media means that many of these narratives get thousands of times more traction than they would before social media.

Furthermore, stay home orders are not like Hitler's pre-war Germany. I have a Masters in International Relations, my dissertation was on genocide, and I am appalled by those trying to conflate the two, without any basis in fact. Hitler's policies were justified by a fraud - known at that time as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy, that had circulated and been elaborated upon since publication in Russia in 1903, as if it had existed since the end of the 19th Century. This conspiracy said that a group of Zionist elders met regularly and created a plan to manipulate world affairs, subvert the media, orchestrate the Great War (and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles) to extract all of Germany's wealth and push the world into the Great Depression. The supposed group (which has been proven to never have existed) has since been said to be responsible for the disappearance of non-Jewish children, the abduction, enslavement and sacrifice of non-Jewish women, the hoarding of wealth with the aim of all humanity being tattooed with the number of the beast. This fraudulent 'Protocols' document was published by both Henry Ford and Nazis and the supposed conspiracy led to hatred of all Jews as members of this imaginary group and justified unimaginable atrocities throughout the world against anyone of Jewish ancestry. It saw this action as pre-emptive and necessary because the conspiracy 'proved' that the Elders of Zion would eventually enslave all non-Jews and bring about a New World Order where non-Jews would be persecuted. The holocaust was seen as a solution to this 'threat' and a way to get back all the hoarded wealth the conspiracy pushers said these Jews had amassed. To be clear, the conspiracy was based on a complete fraud, it was a dangerous fallacy that people fell for and acted upon during a time of great financial stress and societal breakdown. It was ascribed to by the followers of Hitler, Stalin and even many people in Britain and the US in the lead up to the World War 2, and influenced world events for almost 60 years.**

So does anybody else benefit when we believe in conspiracy theories? Yes, if conspiracy theories fracture and divide society then they assist those who wish to undermine social cohesion, civil order and functioning society, they undermine government and democracy by causing us to question everything without using critical thinking. Questioning everything doesn't equate to critical thinking. Critical thinking asks us to check the sources of information, validate those sources are what they say they are and look for other witnesses or collaborating evidence or references that can also be validated to ensure the information is not just a viewpoint or a fraud. Most people don't track through the claims on a YouTube video to its sources. As long as other conspiracy theorists support it, they feel that the information is validated. They often don't look at the financial incentive, sometimes millions of dollars, for people to jump on the bandwagon.

For example, considering the opinion of an engineer to be superior to the life-time research of a meteorologist when reviewing information about climate change, is not smart, it's not intelligent, it doesn't make you clever. It just means you don't understand that a lifetime working as an engineer is very different to a lifetime working in meteorology. It would be like saying that a Year 12 English Teacher is qualified to teach University mathematics, because at some point in their life they did some mathematics, or vice versa.

The organisations that want you to ascribe to conspiracy theories are many and varied, and can come from both ends of the ideological spectrum. In the context of Coronavirus, I can tell you they are groups that want to control the agenda and prevent governments from functioning, to force us back to work so nothing changes, so the wheels of commerce keep turning and we don't have time to realise the possibilities created by innovative solutions, like universal basic income. They are the mining magnates, the media barons that want us to keep working with our heads down as our rights are eroded. They are the ideological organisations that want you to keep donating to their religion, their philosophy, their political ideology so they can keep existing and pumping out their destructive memes. They are the polluters that don't want you to notice that nature is doing better when humans stop their normal routines for a while; they don't want you to see that what we all do does matter and can make a difference. They suggest that the economy is something separate to the production of people and that sacrificing the old and vulnerable is acceptable. They suggest that to save the economy we must sacrifice some people.

Where they are applied, the stay home orders are for our own safety and are the only proven strategy in the history of pandemics, dating back to the dark ages and used most recently en masse during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919. They are still effective today. If better strategies arise, believe me, they will be applied. Fearing that you are being victimised because you have been asked to shelter-in-place or stay at home and social distance, ignores the sacrifice previous generations have made to keep future generations safe. Yes, it is tough mentally, yes it is tough financially, but the alternative is far worse. The stories from Northern Italy, Spain the UK and New York are heart-breaking. Developed societies pride themselves on valuing every life, but it seems this is only as long as it doesn't require much discomfort or come at economic cost.

We will get through this if we come together and support each other, because I suspect this will be only the first of a series of shocks we will experience this decade. Living on the South Coast of Australia, this is our second shock for the year. The first was the ravaging fires over summer that reduced many of our homes and forests to ashes. We came together as a community to survive the fires, and we have brought that same mentality into the Coronavirus crisis. The recovery will ask much of us, to work together, to go without things we have taken for granted, to work in different ways, to think more flexibly, to find ways to keep active and keep our spirits up, to be agile in our businesses to stay afloat, and to financially support those whose place in society is precarious due to the casual nature of their work. Those that do will come out of this better than they went in, richer for having survived and done their part, healthier for having found the balance between work and home, and it will be up to us to help those who have had to carry more of the burden. Our society will similarly become richer, more sustainable and agile and we will understand that a resort to conspiracy theory does not serve us.

*Comprehensive study into effects of 5G technology
**The Elders of Zion conspiracy
***Vaccine conspiracy debunked

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: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/generalissues/hemp/Pages/default.aspx
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.