Compassion: A New Type of Business Model

Compassion: A New Type of Business Model

Sympathy, understanding, care, benevolence, compassion.

Not the most common structure for a new business to adopt, especially in the medical/medicine industry.

To show true compassion, one must understand the suffering of others or suffer with them, neglecting empathy will lead a business down paths of profit margins and stock market strength rather then ethical notions, of which medicine should be all about.

‘The dignified alleviation of suffering with compassion and empathy’, the philosophy behind United in Compassion, a fresh endeavor into the medical marijuana industry in Australia.

Haslam, the dominant name that is currently sparking the progressive movement towards ending the prohibition of cannabis as a medicine.

Lucy Haslam sits at a meeting with politicians, scientists and social figures pleading her case. Lucy Haslam understands the definition of compassion, specifically when it comes to medicinal cannabis for patients with cancer, her son Daniel suffered from bowel cancer relying on illegal marijuana to allow him to fight his illness and enjoy life from outside of a hospital bed.

ABC recently released a TV length documentary entitled The Australia Story based around the enterprise and the life of Daniel and Lucy Haslam. As a longtime outspoken advocate for the scientific health benefits and life saving properties of cannabis, this episode “Doing it for Dan” really tugged at my heartstrings reigniting my passion for change and supplying hope to the flame. As a firm campaigner for the freedom of choice and the right to access panacea appropriate to an individuals conditions, I cant encourage people enough to watch and show this documentary to everyone and anyone (specifically those apposed to cannabis).

The beautiful strengths Lucy Haslam displays are unduly commendable, with her new endeavor for an overdue medical marijuana business in Australia.

“Our primary mission is to provide compassionate access to medicinal cannabis in a manner which is safe, effective, affordable and equitable, for the dignified relief of suffering…Using the world’s best practice, good manufacturing processes, organic principles and the best medicinal cannabis genetics available” stated on the United in Compassion website.

The necessity of an entrepreneurial enterprise such as this, has been in the wood work for too long; leaving many urgent cases and patients on the back burner, while forcing mothers and fathers of ill stricken children and or family members to embark on criminal ventures. Lucy discusses how the family had code words for buying marijuana of the black market, to avoid charges and possibly stopping Dan from receiving his medicine.

“I became a drug supplier; I bought cannabis on the black market and gave it to Daniel… Had my husband still been active on the police force, he would have risked dismissal”.

To commensurate recreational use with medical use is utterly ridiculous, yet the law still sees everything through as black or white. Luckily of late there have been significant ameliorations calling for change; Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales are amongst the states gradually legalizing this form of cannabis. A lot of these forward concepts for change came about thanks to the incredible work and inspiring crusade by the Haslam family specifically Lucy.

Mental Health

Jumping the Hurdles: Cannabis Research and Mental Health

Jumping the Hurdles: Cannabis Research and Mental Health

The bewildering humming sounds resembling jackhammer’s fill the free space between my brain and the inside of the MRI machine.

Lying motionless to such a degree that I focus on my lungs retracting and expanding, ensuring my slight movements will not alter the instruments outcomes.

A million dollar state-of-the-art machine braking down boundaries, allowing the human brain to be observed with the patient unharmed, let alone inebriated on cannabis.

As an advocate for marijuana and its obvious positive panacea applications, I have volunteered for a first of its kind medical research project, joint funded by my current University. The research evolves around schizophrenia and exploring the hippocampus, the memory learning and emotional centre of the brain (located in the medial temporal lope). The MRI machine takes photos of the brain once the volunteer has consumed one of the following: Cannabidiol (CBD) compound, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compound or a Placebo compound through an administered vaporizer.

The team was extremely meticulous at obtaining and preserving as much information possible, with constant blood tests from a cannula and repetition of questions concerning my mental state, and of course a box that I swear contained the perfect munchies. Everything was conducted in an analytical manner with an essence of elation towards the study. With the growing necessity for this type of research and by overlooking the negative legal and social connotations they are able to explore taboo aspects of society helping secure human kinds future.

Excerpts of the Study

– Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug worldwide

– To examine the acute effects of cannabis on sensory memory and cognitive function in long-term cannabis users.

– Investigate what makes some individuals vulnerable to psychosis if they use cannabis… brains response to cannabis when people are engaged in tasks of short-term memory in an intoxicated state.

– THC thought to be responsible for many of the changes in perception and behaviour

– Cannabidiol is the second most common ingredient… thought to reduce some of the effects of THC

– There has not been very much research which has examined the effect of cannabis on memory or brain activity when participants are intoxicated

– Understand more precisely the effects of both THC and CBD… The way in which the brain responds in the presence of cannabis will help us to understand some of the mechanisms that may be involved in inducing psychosis in vulnerable individuals

– Evidence to suggest that long-term cannabis use may have a damaging effect on short-term memory and learning…in some vulnerable individuals, long term chronic cannabis use has been associated with the development of psychotic symptoms.

Mental Health is not a popular issue to address, with the majority suffering alone and in private. Ashamed of their uncontrollable emotions, reality and the self-image their mind formulates through a chemical imbalance. Yet, more often then not, we know of; or have been subjected to a family member quietly self-managing their mental condition.

Until we as a society treat mental and physical illness in the same light, boundaries will always impede us. The argument that knowledge equals security and understanding in a complicated world, is applicable here; what we can’t see can’t explain and can’t empathize with, enables trepidation to form. This is why intrinsic work reminiscent of this MRI needs to be implemented.

Society should be proud these intelligent-entrepreneurial scholars are figuratively side stepping the present legal hurdles and approaching future medicine head on. I am now signing up for an EEG/ERP study with cannabis, organized by some of same scientists. I am excited there are more studies to come and more opportunities to become a guinea pig.

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy: Breakthrough New Study Could Help With Legalisation

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy: Breakthrough New Study Could Help With Legalisation

A new study involving 213 children and adults suffering from the debilitating symptoms associated with epilepsy has been published.

This study set out to prove that medical marijuana contains properties able to fight against the extreme symptoms of epilepsy.

Seizures are scary for all involved; the patient themselves, their family and friends that witness the overpowering convulsions and unstoppable muscular spasms.

Grand Mal seizures originate from abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain. The Grand Mal is not specifically associated with epileptics however; extremely low blood pressure, head trauma, drug abuse, high fevers and strokes can also be triggers.

The array of conditions that induce these life-threatening attacks are not limited to genetics or environment; rather incorporating a larger dynamic of factors. The current treatments for epilepsy help to slow down the amount of seizures in some people and decrease the severity in others. None however offer a substantial step towards a cure…until marijuana was considered.

Epilepsy effects a wide diversification of society; ‘Epilepsy Action Association Australia’ state that globally, 2.5 million people are identified as epileptics. Over 250,000 Australian citizens will be diagnosed with epilepsy each year. For a country of only twenty three million, these statistics are proof that measures need to be employed quickly.

Epilepsy sufferers are constantly prescribed different chemical compounds to alter the brains electrical activity, hopefully slowing it down. These drugs work to a degree but (epilim, tegretol, lamictal, etc.…) can inflict unseen side effects, which on top of epilepsy seizures, leaves the patient conflicted and can frequently lead to depression and anxiety.

‘If something half works there’s no point trying to fix it’ applies to the original ideology around seizure medication. However, it has recently upgraded with a forward approach to medical marijuana.

An extract of marijuana with no psychoactive properties has been shown to reduce the number of seizures in children with severe epilepsy, a surreal sentence for most but a beacon of hope for epileptics and their families. Epilepsy is a disease that has the potential to collapse the world around the victim. Learning difficulties, speech impediments and violent seizures are common in younger diagnoses; career choice limits, lifestyle and adult privileges (driving) being denied due to safety regulations and possible violent seizures.

So how does the marijuana treatment work?

Cannabinoids contain different compounds that have anticonvulsant properties, these compounds don’t leave the patient intoxicated, drowsy or lethargic. During the clinical trials by Dr. Orrin Devinsky, of New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Centre in New York City, 213 participants were chosen. With an average age of 11 years old and all experiencing severe epileptic seizures, modern prescription medicine was not improving their symptoms at all.

The trial proceeded every day for 12 weeks as each patient consumed liquid cannabis extract (cannabidiol).

The results revealed that on average 54% of seizures during the trial subsided. This indicates that medication derived from marijuana could help to prevent the onset of Grand Mal seizures and undoubtedly treat certain types of severe epilepsy.

Australian and American governments are starting to endorse the positive applications of cannabinoid extract, with the Premier of Queensland, Australia recently stating;

 “I’m especially interested in any benefits this form of treatment can have on kids with severe epilepsy…. This trial is about letting the experts do as much research as possible into this issue so that we can all get a clearer understanding of any clinical benefits medicinal cannabis can provide

This step in a positive direction will account for a significant advantage for those undergoing intractable conditions; not just epilepsy but also chemotherapy related nausea, A.I.D.S and terminal pain. Searching in every possible direction for a cure is a necessity, it seems immoral to limit lifesaving panacea research due to out-dated legal barriers.

Instead of relying on Good Samaritans to produce the hemp oil in make-shift-labs, Doctors must be allowed involvement. Progress is a magnificent aptitude for a country to attain, and our society is lunging for it.

Marijuana for Appetite Stimulation in Cancer and HIV Patients

Marijuana for Appetite Stimulation in Cancer and HIV Patients

Why do we all salivate and desire flavour when smoking cannabis? Are ‘the munchies’ caused by the substance or does our body need the extra energy?… obviously not. A team of European neuroscientists led by Giovanni Marsicano from the University of Bordeaux found that, in mice, THC fits into receptors in the brain’s olfactory bulb, significantly increasing the animals’ ability to smell food and leading them to eat more of it.

THC fits into receptors that are part of the brain’s natural endocannabinoid system, which helps to control emotions, memory, pain sensitivity and appetite. Our brains typically produce their own chemicals (called endogenous cannabinoids) that fit into these same receptors, so by mimicking their activity, THC can artificially alter the same factors in dramatic ways.

Studies have linked food addiction to that of cocaine addiction. The areas of the brain that light up (showing activity) while a cocaine user is lying in a MRI machine mimic those consuming food, Nicole Avena’s (Neuroscientist at the University of Florida) study suggests;

“We consistently found that the changes we were observing in the rats binging on sugar were like what we would see if the animals were addicted to drugs”.

Patients that suffer from eating disorders similar to anorexia caused by psychological struggles, a variety of stomach problems and/or negative reactions to medication, endure extreme appetite loss to the point of self-starvation. Cancer and HIV/AIDS sufferers struggle to ingest crucial vitamins, nutrients and energy deriving from a lack of appetite induced by the treatment of chemotherapy. Diets effect our body type, health and well-being especially those whose bodies are deteriorating progressively; every glimpse of normality helps. Indulging in ones favourite cuisine is such a personal delight that we all reserve the right to.

Cancer patients; especially leukaemia sufferers lose their desire for food, the drugs used to treat these debilitating diseases leave the victims lethargic, weak and nauseous with a constant sensation of dyspepsia. Inducing munchies through edibles, oils or smoking of marijuana may help to resolve these problems. Triggering the olfactory receptors to peek smell, emotions and appetite; THC additionally interacts with the same sorts of receptors in the hypothalamus, leading to a release of the hormone ghrelin stimulating hunger.

With the gradual acceptance of marijuana as a medical compound, states and countries become re-educated and re-wired. Victims of diseases that dilapidate their eating habits, bodies and day-to-day life, shall have access to a new range of treatments enabling them to partake in the basic pleasures of a full stomach once again, flavours that once danced upon their pallet are relived and re-cherished. The obvious benefits of decriminalising THC products outweigh the negative connotations; all in all patients deserve the treatment that improves their condition not just with what’s legally applicable.