#107 My lovely guest this week is Professor Kylie O’Brien, an expert in Chinese medicine, integrative medicine & medicinal cannabis.
I’ve been wanting to get the facts straight around CBD oil, THC oil and medicinal cannabis for quite some time, so I invited Kylie onto my show. We discuss the many benefits, the concerns and where the law stands right now and what the future holds around this fascinating topic. We keep the technical jargon to a minimum where possible, and this is a podcast for everyone if you want to know more about this incredible plant. Enjoy.
Some of the questions we covered on the show:
- What is cannabis? How does it differ from marijuana?
- What sort of conditions do people seek to use cannabis for?
- Is there any scientific evidence that it works?
- How does cannabis work?
- What’s the difference between CBD & THC?
- Is it safe? Can we over-use CBD oil and THC oil?
- Are there any examples/case studies where people were using conventional medication and then moved to Med Cannabis?
- What are our laws around cannabis use?
- What are other countries doing with respect to cannabis?
- How do people get access to it in Australia?
- What have you been doing in educating doctors about medicinal cannabis? 🙂
About Kylie O’Brien: Kylie O’Brien has had a strong academic career in the fields of Chinese medicine, integrative medicine and now medicinal cannabis since career changing in 2000. She has worked for the Victorian Department of Human Services, and held senior leadership roles in the university and private education sector. She is an internationally recognised expert in Chinese medicine and integrative medicine, and has published extensively including a first book on integrative oncology (US: Springer, 2017) and a second one on mental health and medicinal cannabis due for publication in 2020. She is a member of the TGA Advisory Committee for Complementary Medicine, the TEQSA Expert Panel and the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies’ Speciality Committee on Cancer Rehabilitation.
Links & Resources For Kylie O’Brien
Global Health Initiative Australia: www.ghiaustralia.org.au
Doctor directory for medicinal cannabis: https://greenchoices.com.au/patients/find-a-doctor
Doctors and healthcare practitioners who are interested in the medicinal cannabis course on 22/23 February 2020 in Brisbane featuring Dr Philip Blair MD (US), expert in medicinal cannabis, should go to the following link: www.acnem.org/events/face-face-training/medicinal-cannabis-masterclass-cannabidiol-thc-and-clinical-applications I stress this is for healthcare practitioners and not the general public.
Referenced Podcast with Professor Ian Brighthop:
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Guy: Hi, my name is Guy Lawrence. And thanks for tuning into my podcast today. If you’re enjoying these conversations and you want to check out more of this transformational work, be sure to come back to guylawrence.com.au and join me as we go further down the rabbit hole. Enjoy the show.
Guy: Kylie, welcome to the podcast.
Kylie: Thanks very much, Guy. I’m great to be here.
Guy: I’m very excited or genuinely excited to have you on the show today. I, um, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know whether it’s cause I’m living near Byron Bay, but, um, the topic of, um, medicinal cannabis comes up a lot and I get asked a lot as well because I’ve worked in the wellness space for a long time, you know, and I kind of seen it all in my time and interviewed a lot of people and I, it just seems to be a talking point more and more. So I thought I’ve got to get an expert on the show that definitely knows way more than I will ever know. So, uh, so really appreciate you coming on. So my first question is, and I always ask this on the show, so might as well ask you is that if you were on an airplane sitting next to a stranger and they asked you what you did for a living, what would you say?
Kylie: Uh, yeah, I would just, uh, say that I’m now working very much in the medical cannabis space. So primarily a lot of my role is, I’m working in education, so educating doctors and other healthcare practitioners about the evidence base around medicinal cannabis. And I run courses for doctors on how to prescribe it. That’s a lot of what I do. I also do, I’m up to come involved in some research into medicinal cannabis and I also did consultancy to some of the private companies as well. So I wear a few different hats.
Guy: Yeah. And I feel like I’d be, I’d be sitting right next to you on the plane right now cause my eyes would light up. And the next logical question, well actually, how do people react when you tell them that?
Kylie: Yeah. It’s funny because people who know me know that I’ve got an academic background. So I guess I don’t think I’m too sort of, I haven’t gone too mad. But other people you can sort of say think that. Oh, Oh. So it, depending on, I guess their openness to it, it either shuts them up or they start to ask questions.
Guy: Yeah. Okay. And I’d be definitely the one asking the questions just like today. So why medicinal cannabis? Why start to look at that in the first place?
Kylie: Hmm. That was interesting. My background, I was originally an optometrist, um, Korea, Chinese into Chinese medicine, Viora master in public health. I did my PhD at Monash medical school in, in Chinese herbal medicine. Um, and I’d have to say that it’s one of the most fascinating Herb’s I’ve ever come across. Now, a couple of years ago, a colleague of mine, professor Ian, brought hope, who set up the Australasian college of nutritional environment, mental medicine over 30 years ago came to me and he said, look, we’ve got an issue here. Um, medicinal cannabis is an important, um, um, you know, it’s an important herb. Um, but there’s a problem. It’s become legalized. So it’s legal to prescribe it. Um, in Australia now, in 2016, I legalized that. However, um, doctors don’t know anything about it and there’s a problem with them becoming, um, what they call authorized prescribers of medicinal cannabis.
Kylie: So there’s a system set up whereby they become authorized prescribers, but they need to get an ethics committee to approve them first. Um, and then the TGA therapeutic goods administration makes the final approval, but there were no con, um, in the country. There was no, um, specialist colleges or ethics committees doing that process approving them. So I happen to be working at the national Institute of complimentary medicine at, sorry, national Institute of integrative medicine at the time. NIMS, sorry. I do actually weigh a couple of hats. I’m a fellow of the National Institute of complementary medicine too, but in Melbourne I was working at the national Institute of integrative medicine Nim and I, um, was on the ethics committee. So I set up the process by which doctors could apply through the new methods committee and then go on to seek approval through the TGI. So that was one of the reasons I got into, um, this is the first place was to help that process out. And then because there weren’t any real education courses or not much around, um, for doctors about the evidence base of cannabis and how to prescribe it, I also set those up when I was at Nim and then when I moved out of Nim last year, I started running educational courses through a not for profit organization called global health initiatives.
Guy: Wow. Okay. There you go. Yeah. You know what occurred to me then as well was like when you started looking into this, did you just go in like an open book? Not sure and just think, right? Or were you already surprised by what it was or what did you
Kylie: look? I came in totally as an open book because, um, even though it’s been, um, used as part of, um, I guess Chinese medicine centuries ago, it’s, it’s not used much in the Chinese materia Medica commonly they do use the seeds of cannabis in one of the more famous prescriptions called [inaudible]. But apart from that, it really isn’t something that’s part of, I guess our training as Chinese medicos. So, um, I guess I came in with a totally open mind about it and when I started to read the scientific literature, I thought, wow, there’s an awful lot of evidence already here that it works. And the mechanisms by which it does work as well because I’m, you know, I’ve got a background as a clinical researcher to then I am very much interested in the evidence base. Um, you know, of medicines, including herbs. And as I dug deeper, I’d have to say that this has become, for me probably the most fascinating herb that I’ve come across?
Guy: There you go. Wow. And I guess we should get into then what is cannabis? Because I automatically like growing up, right? I think a Bob Molly or something, you know, like you just kind of indoctrinated with this kind of belief system around it and you just, you know, it’s something that you get high with and kind of, you know, so why don’t we start there first? Exactly. What is cannabis? Cause I think there’s confusion.
Kylie: Well, look, you know, cannabis is, is plant cannabis sativa and um, I guess there’s a bit of argument about the naming of it that they call taxonomy, but two main sub spaces. So cannabis sativa, subspecies sativa and cannabis sativa, subspaces IndyCar. So some of them have got more intoxicating ability and others stoat and there are many, many different what they call cultivars of strains of cannabis. So for the recreational market, you’re talking about Bob Marley and I’ve actually just come back from talking at a conference in Jamaica. Um, yeah, they, they braid particular strains for the recreational markets so that they’ve got high amounts of the key intoxicating component called THC tetrahydrocannabinol, but that’s only one of the active constituents in the plant. And so, um, for the medicinal market, they may not be so much interested in, in necessarily high THC. They want other active constituents in there as well. Right. So, um, I guess in the two to summarize in the recreational market, they want high THC in the medicinal cannabis space. That’s not, so that’s not always so important.
Guy: Got it. So, so for me to, just to simplify that in my own head is that you’ve got this whole cannabis plant. Yep. It’s got, I dunno, a lot of different properties that are all very medicinal. And then you’ve got this one active component THC, which is the part that gets you high. But then in Western culture we’ve kind of neglected the rest of the plan.
Kylie: Yes, that’s right. Yeah. So we’ve got, um, THC is one what they call phytocannabinoid. Phyto just means plant cannabinoid. But you’ve got 120 of them and you’ve got other components called Turpin, say like essential oils. You might use the, the different strengths of cannabis, their characteristic smell. So if you’ve got a lot of alpha pinene, which is one of the two panes, it’s going to smell a bit like pine. If you’ve got lemonade, it’s going to smell a bit more elimination. So all those constituents have got their own therapeutic actions if you like. So even though you hear a lot about THC and the other main cannabinoid that’s been researched is called cannabidiol CBD. There are actually, as I said, 120 Oh Fanta cannabinoids are about 11 classes of them. So you know, we tend to get hung up on just these two.
Guy: Got it. So even though it’s 120
Kylie: them and CBD and THC are the ones that we see a lot of. So I got to ask you then, what’s a cannabinoid? Just for anyone that doesn’t know, it’s just a kind of a nine fo they chemical component, which they’ve characterized, but that’s all what is. So they’ve got 11 classes of them and as I said, around 120 have been sort of the chemical, the chemical structure of from Robert has been found.
Guy: Okay. And is it, so how does then, I guess my next logical question is how does that, then, how do we benefit from that?
Kylie: Okay. So I guess to understand that you’ve got to go back to I guess the basics of the fact that in our own body we actually make cannabinoids ourselves. It’s cold. We have what’s called an endo cannabinoid system. And I guess there’s three main components to that. We’ve got receptors for it in our different parts of our body. Um, and we’ve got endocannabinoids. So they’re chemicals that we make within our own bodies on demand. And one of them is called an Ann demise. And Amanda, I think in Hindi means please. Um, another one has got quite a long name, but all shorter, two to AIG. And there were a few others there. And then you’ve got the proteins that are involved in synthesizing these endocannabinoids and metabolizing and breaking them down. So that’s basically our endocannabinoid system. And we’ve got this system because it’s responsible for homeostasis or maintain balance.
Kylie: Oh, must’ve had bodily functions. Like it modulates our immune system. It modulates metabolism and energy, um, inflammation, pain, our emotions, our digestion and nerve or neuroplasticity, um, the development of the embryo, you know, and lots of other functions in our body. So we’ve got our own system, you know, body and under normal circumstances we’ve got relatively low levels of these endocannabinoids, but they get synthesized on demand, um, in response to I guess stimuli, like pain, like stress, inflammation, even exercise, things like that. So we have our own system. And so when we understand it, we’ve got our own system, then it’s more easy to understand how these phytocannabinoids actually sort of work because the, um, the receptors, um, that we have for our own endocannabinoids THC for example, mimics anandamide and two ag that, that we make ourselves. So it basically locks in or links into the receptor and then activates the receptor in that way.
Guy: Got it. So, so, okay, I can just try and put that into my own words again for myself and the listeners. Yup. So the way I see it, and I, I’m big cause I teach meditation and I hope people at retreats and things, and one of the big components from my aspect is actually in the homeostasis because we constantly operating from the hormones of stress. Yes. And it’s almost like we condition the body that way and it becomes so familiar that that’s how we perceive it to be. But from my past experience, inflammation is a huge component of all illnesses if it’s becomes chronic. Absolutely correct. So the way I’m seeing that, then if the cannabinoid system influences the homeostasis, then influences stress and inflammation. That’s how it’s kind of operating, is that it’s allowing us to support the cannabinoids we’re producing. We’re not producing enough of.
Kylie: Yes. So they think that a lot of chronic illnesses are associated with either a dysfunction or a deficiency in our own endocannabinoid system.
Guy: Wow. That’s huge when you think about it.
Kylie: Yeah. Yeah. And look, you know, it’s only in relative recent times that they actually discovered the endocannabinoid system. So yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s very interesting. But you know, when you understand that the receptors are, we’ve got two types of receptors mostly, um, although there might be a third or fourth one, you know, the, I guess the jury is out on whether they’re actually cannabis can have an OD receptive or not, but CB one receptors for example, are our own now central nervous system, our brain and our spinal cord as well as some of the organs in our body. And then they have CB two receptors and they are more distributed in immune cells. So again, you know, we’ve got them all over our body and other words. And so when they’re in their immune system, we can understand how they’ll, you know, help with our general wellbeing and, and, um, inflammation and things like that.
Guy: Got it, got it. So what I mean with all the, the, the, the science based evidence now and the studies that are coming out, who would generally grab, would you just gravitate to CBD and THC or there are other ways of doing it? I guess I’m asking two questions and then who benefits from it most? Where do we see the studies?
Kylie: Yeah. Okay. So I guess in answering what kind of conditions that people say cannabis for, they’ve done a few surveys. Um, and there’s many different conditions I guess, so that it can be useful. And the evidence there is from a lot of evidence to a little bit of of evidence if you like. But here are some of the conditions and chronic pain, inflammatory conditions, chemo induced nausea and vomiting, epilepsy, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, glaucoma, nerve or neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and ms. So there’s a study in Australia, um, in 2016 and it was just prior to legalization of medicinal cannabis and it was done by a great researcher called professor Niclin Cirrus at university of Sydney. And I basically surveyed, um, people who’d been using cannabis for medicinal purposes and on average they’d been using it for around about 10 years. And they asked the why are we using it?
Kylie: And the most common raisins were, and anxiety around 50% were using it for anxiety at pine, around about 50% depression, 49%. Um, sleep disorders, 45% neck pain and post traumatic stress disorder. So, and they said, you know, in the survey respondents said 80% of them indicated that this medicinal cannabis effectively manage the target symptom. So there’s research also in the United States of course, and that showed sort of similar results in that. And I did a study called the Washington state, um, university survey, and they found the most frequently reported conditions for the use of cannabis where pain 61% anxiety, 58 depression, 50% headache, migraine nausea, muscle spasticity. And those respondents reported an 86% reduction of the symptoms and not almost 60% said that they used it as an alternative to pharmaceutical medications. So it’s interesting what you can, you know, derive I guess from surveys if you like. Um, I know in, in the U S is about, um, in 2017 at least, there were 14 medical conditions that were approved by the different state legislatures. Um, it’s qualifying conditions for medicinal cannabis. Wow. That’s a slightly different system over there. And that each of the States that allow, um, medicinal cannabis have qualifying conditions, um, for which you can apply to. They prescribed cannabis,
Guy: every, every symptom you mentioned there, I’m like, Oh, I know somebody with that back pain, poor sleep, insomnia, anxiety. You know, it’s, it’s a common, I don’t, I don’t know if you’ve looked at the studies around this, but what’s the, uh, I guess let, let’s take pain. Pain is a big one, or chronic pain for people. Um, what’s the, the normal application currently in Australia or America was mr medicine?
Kylie: Well, I guess I’m, I mean a lot of people use opioids, um, you know, for the, you know, management of pain, et cetera. And I guess the problem with that is that they, uh, addictive and the fin associated with a lot of, um, deaths and overdoses. So I guess that’s probably an area where it shows, I guess, promise that, um, medicinal cannabis might be able to be used, um, to decrease the use of, of, um, opioids. I mean, look, we do have an opioid crisis. It’s wearing, well, um, written about in, in the U S and in Australia and other countries. And then I read a TGI pipe for the reporter between 2011 and 2015. You know, we had around 2000 deaths, um, associated with some of these, these drugs. So, um, you know, there are some studies, and again, most of them are in the U S um, that um, indicate that the use of, um, cannabis with opioids might be able to reduce, um, you know, they use or the amount of hours they can then they can use and States in the U S that have legalized the use of it.
Kylie: They did a study and said, well, um, you know, is there a relationship between hospitals related to, um, opioid pain relievers and marijuana in those States that have legalized it compared to those who haven’t? And I found that medical marijuana legalization was associated with a 23% reduction in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence and they found a 30 13% reduction in hospitalizations due to opiate overdose. So that study was published in 2017. So it gives some indication, I guess the research has concluded that medical marijuana policies were associated significantly with reduced hospitalizations, but they weren’t, uh, they didn’t find any associations with marijuana, uh, related to hospitalizations. Some of those studies start to sort of indicate, you know, and you can criticize that study because there are other factors that could have been involved there. But you know, when you start to get, build a bank of evidence, you start to think, well, you know, perhaps it is useful.
Kylie: Now the national academies of sciences, engineering, and medicine put out a report in 2017 and it really looked at the evidence base from what they call systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials. So a systematic review just means that you grab all the randomized controlled trials, basically pull them together and come up with an answer. Does this work or doesn’t it work? And I looked at, um, medicinal cannabis and cannabinoids, and I said, well, which ones? I’ve got the strongest evidence now that I’ve found chronic pain, Kamow induced nausea and vomiting and spasticity associated with ms. um, that there was conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids were effective in those three conditions. I found a moderate level of evidence for sleep disorders, um, short term sleep disorders, um, associated with a range of other, um, conditions and the other medical conditions. I looked at the headless convincing evidence, but we’ve got to remember this is a systematic systematic review which pulls the data and it’s randomized controlled trials. They not the only forms of evidence that something works, but it does show fairly strong evidence, um, about chronic pain. Going back to your original question
Guy: yeah. Which is huge again, and I think of people I know directly in my life with chronic crane that use in medication right now, you know, which I guess would then lead me to the next question is where is Australia at with this right now? Um, the hurdles that somebody that could be listening to this to find somebody that then could have it prescribed to, to help the pain.
Kylie: Yeah. Well as I said, explain, um, legalized, uh, for medical use is 2016 and if a patient wants to um, have it prescribed, you’ve got to have it prescribed by a doctor because CBD kind of a dial, um, which is non intoxicating. Um, it’s a schedule four drug in this country and THC is considered a controlled substance at schedule eight. So it means that the doctor then has to either apply to the TGI through what’s called the special access scheme. So that’s a one-on-ones game where the patient comes in and, and they have to have exhausted other possibilities first before they are supposed to prescribe it. Um, I have to apply to the TGI if that medicinal cannabis product has got any THC in it, then um, they also need to apply to the state health department for permission as well. But thankfully it’s now just one online form, but it is the state, it’s a bit of paperwork for the doctor.
Kylie: The other one that the doctor can prescribe is to become an authorized prescriber, medicinal cannabis, which means they apply to prescribe specific products for specific conditions. They have to submit an application to an ethics committee, like the, the one that I described before, the national Institute of integrative medicine. Um, if they are approved there then they send that ethics committee later on to the TGA and then they’re approved and they have to report every six months to the TGI and if the ethics committee as well, and if a doctor decides that they want to change, um, you know, the, the product that they’re using, for example, they want to try something else and they haven’t been approved for that. They’ll have to go back to the ethics committee from amendment and then back to the TGI for further approval if they want to prescribe for different medical condition. Again, I have to go back to the ethics committee and back to the TGI. So you can see how that can become a pretty onerous process.
Guy: Well, I was going to say that could be a bit of a pain. Like are a lot of doctors taking this on board?
Kylie: They were awesome early adopters, but overall, no, not a lot. I think, um, when you look at the authorized prescribers game at last counts, um, a few months ago at least, there were probably around 57 authorized prescribers of medicinal cannabis doctors in the country. Now all the doctors will be using the special access scheme, which means they just apply each time a patient comes in and if the patient comes in and you know, for rate pay re-apply. So there, we don’t know how many doctors are using the special ex-US game, but this is all brought about because in Australia cannabis is considered an unapproved good by the therapeutic goods administration. And so until they approve it, then the doctors have to go through, I guess these hoops to prescribe it.
Guy: Got it. And do you think that that will happen at some stage?
Kylie: Look, I think there’s an argument for cannabidiol CBD to be taken off schedule for totally because it’s been shown by the world health organization to have a good safety profile with low toxicity. So for me as a herbalist, I don’t see why you should be treating, um, CBD products, uh, any different to any other herbal medicine. So they should be regulated as a herbal medicine, like they are in this country through what they called the Australian register of therapeutic foods. So they can be listed or registered on the IOTG and that’s where I think it should go. Now, that’s not happening at the moment, but I hope that that that’s where it goes in the future. And I hope that the TGA also approve it formally so that it’s no longer considered an unapproved medicine. And therefore doctors don’t have to do something special to prescribe this that they don’t have to do with other drugs.
Guy: Got it. Yeah. And can you like with the CBDO cause that you said that’s class four, not class, H like THC, the CBD, then can that be abused? Can you over dosage on this and get yourself into a mass? Cause I just think of what’s out there when you go.
Kylie: Yeah. Look, when you look at the clinical studies that have been done on it, um, I have used reasonably high doses of it without any great adverse effects. But having said that, CBD can interact with funds, some pharmaceutical medical medicines. So that’s why it’s really important to have it prescribed by a healthcare practitioner. As far as what you’re doing. It’s the same with any herb. You know, st John’s ward for example, will interact with a range of different medications. The Chan has had tension does as well. Ginseng does. So it’s important that it is prescribed rather than people I guess self-medicating. So, um, you know, no herbal medicine I think is completely safe and yes, you know, you could because no one’s ever died from a cannabis overdose by the way, simply because, um, we don’t have, I guess the receptors in that part of the brain that control our heart and our breathing. So there haven’t been any recorded overdoses of cannabis smoking or taking it medicinally or otherwise. But I guess with CBD, yes, you can get some side effects with it and, um, uh, and as I said, it can interact with some pharmaceutical medications. So, you know, the, it’s like any herb, you’ve got to be careful with them.
Guy: But I, but I think as well, when it comes to, um, any, like again, any Herbon anything that we do, it should be supported already by lifestyle changes that are required that might be causing the problems in the first place. I think
Kylie: that’s a, if I’ve learned anything from selling China’s medicine is to look at the root cause of illness. So, um, you know, I don’t think medicinal cannabis is the magic bullet. I think it’s part of a holistic approach to lost on that may include conventional medicine. Um, but it, it importantly, it’s stress reduction. It’s exercise, it’s diet, it’s getting out in the sunshine and getting enough vitamin D on your, you know, um, created in your body, all those things and sleep, you know, all those things as you know, um, are really important to look at holistically. So I think that, you know, it, it’s part of, um, I guess, um, an approach that should be a holistic approach.
Guy: Yeah, totally. Totally. And then another question that popped in there that I wanted to raise anyway is around the, the, um, the legalities of once you’ve been prescribed it. So like for driving for instance, was one, if you’ve got CBD or THC, obviously the two different.
Kylie: That’s right. So in Australia it’s illegal to have any amount of THC in your body. Um, if you’re driving. So if you get pulled over, you’ll, you’ll be done. So, um, and, and it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a prescription in your hand or not, it doesn’t matter. So our, um, driving Lords need to be changed. I actually had, um, lunch with our prime minister earlier this year and I brought up that issue because we all got the chance to have to talk about one thing. So my, um, you know, my, she was talking about medicinal cannabis and driving laws and I said, do you realize that if you pulled over, um, and you, um, you know, you, you’re done basically if you put THC the system. And he said, well, can’t you just hand over your prescription unless they, no, you can’t. That would be logical, but you can’t. And you know, there are a lot, the pharmaceutical medications that are going to impair you much more than, than that. So this is something that really does need to be changed because, you know, it will put people off thank prescribed medicinal cannabis, which has got tetrahydrocannabinol in it and I might need a little bit of it. Um, you know, for the medical condition because they’re worried about being caught are the driving, you know, or, or perhaps at work too. Yeah, it’s a problem and it does need to be addressed.
Guy: All right, so another barrier again that really isn’t it. Um, what, what, what are, what do I, how do other countries adopt this and where are they at?
Kylie: Okay. It varies. So, um, I guess in the U S um, cannabis is still federally, I schedule one prohibited drug. However, um, different States have adopted their own, I guess, laws around it. So I think there’s around 33 States in the U S that have, um, legalized the medical use of medicinal cannabis. And they have varying lists, I guess, of conditions where, um, person is, you know, approved to be able to use it. Um, and the about 10 States have legalized it for recreational use as well. Now in Canada, um, they’ve had, um, medicinal use for a while and last year they legalized recreational use. So it means that people are now able to grow their own plants. Um, I think it’s either four or six. I can’t remember, um, without, um, any problems, um, for their own personal use. Whereas in Australia, you can’t probably run cannabis plants and you know, some people have been doing it.
Kylie: There was a report on I think channel seven earlier, I think it was actually last year about a father who was, um, juicing the leaves and, and, and flowers obviously as the plant, um, to help his daughters out who had inflammatory bowel conditions and they’re in dreadful trouble with it. And it helped them tremendously. But he got caught by, you know, caught by the police and I think he got laid off with a slap on the wrist. However, you know, we shouldn’t be in that position. I think that it’s a fundamental human rights, the people to be able to access, um, you know, medicines, um, with where it can help them. Yeah. And I don’t think it’s the right of the government to tell you that it should be a last resort and not a first line resort. If someone wants to choose that as a first line of resort, you know, for their medical condition, they should have the right to do that in consultation with a healthcare practitioner.
Guy: Slowly and surely as well. If everything is pointing this way, we want to be able to know quality control is there as well. And so,
Kylie: and I guess this is what Australia does very well with complementary medicines. The TGI to the credit, um, have very stringent quality control mechanisms for complimentary medicines as well as conventional medicines. So, um, at the moment, um, a lot of the medicinal cannabis products are being imported from other countries. The, um, importation requirements are quite strict in terms of quality control. So that’s a good thing. And I guess, um, the, the difficulty is though that medicinal cannabis is very expensive to buy in Australia. And so a lot of people, I guess are turning to that black market supply because it’s cheaper. Yeah. And of course with a black market supply, you don’t know what you’re getting. So, you know, um, I, I think it’s important that we change things such that it brings the prices down so that you’ve got high quality, you know, products, but at an accessible amount, I mean, it could cost you in excess of $300 a month for a of medicinal cannabis. If you’ve got epilepsy or you’re using it for cancer related issues, then you might need a much higher dose of that and the price has got to be prohibitive. Yeah, of course. So this is a big problem as well.
Guy: Yeah. Okay. So yeah. Wow. Um, I was debating which way to jump in here cause there’s two things I want to do. I want to recap on literally everything that we’ve said just to refresh our minds. And I know as well, I understand that you’re writing a book on all of this. Maybe let’s go there first. And so, yeah.
Kylie: Um, yeah, I’m writing a book, um, that’s focused on medicinal cannabis and mental health. And I guess the reason for that is that a lot of people turned to medicinal cannabis literature shows us that it’s a mental health problems. So, um, I wrote a book a couple of years ago, um, on integrative oncology and it’s a similar approach that I’m taking is to basically compile the evidence, um, to, and, and, and, you know, and against, um, does it work for different mental health conditions? I’m writing it with a, a fabulous doctor in the U S um, professor, sorry, not professor is Colonel dr Phillip player and he’s a retired army doctor and he works as a physician now. He’s a medicinal cannabis expert. So, um, he and I are co-authoring the book together.
Guy: Amazing. Well, when, when can we expect that to come out?
Kylie: The deadline I’ve got to have it finished is June next year, so fairly soon after. Um, look, it is, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s written for, I guess, healthcare professionals. So it’s a, it’s a slightly heavier rate because it really is putting the, the scientific evidence on it, which is really important. Um, you know, for doctors to understand that it does have a scientific evidence base here. It’s not just someone’s opinion.
Guy: Yeah, yeah, fair enough. But I think that as well, these conversations like this, this conversation will reach thousands of people over the next few months. And, and it’s, it really is important, you know, to be educated, to get past the whole belief systems around it. Like we said, the way I think it’s kind of gets caught up in society. So maybe let’s recap everything that we kind of covered. So, so just to start, um, medicinal cannabis is, I guess, different to marijuana or to the way we see it. It affects the cannabinoid system within the body, which directly affects inflammation and the homeostasis
Kylie: so affects other systems in other neurotransmitter systems as well. So it’s, it’s, um, CBD in particular, it doesn’t have such a high affinity for those cannabis receptors. I talked about cannabinoid receptors rather than what kind of cannabis, um, [inaudible], um, Exxon other targets in the body. So you can see how wide ranging, you know, even just those two components are,
Guy: when would one use CBD to then THC? Then
Kylie: look, it depends on very much on the medical conditions. Yeah,
Guy: yeah, yeah. And that’s a very deep conversation, but for about three hours on that, hence again, why we really need to go and see a doctor to help us look it up. Case study that had been interrupted speed on this as well, which I guess is the most important point to raise as well. So then once they go and see a doctor, one of the 57 currently, is there a list of those doctors?
Kylie: No, I didn’t know. There isn’t a list unfortunately. Um, so I guess it’s, um, at the moment it’s, it’s word of mouth. Although, um, I, I’m hoping that all sort of change in the future. Um, we don’t have a, a society over here that’s focused on cannabinoid medicine like they do in the U S so it’s a little bit harder, but some what we’re doing through the global health initiative Australia is that, you know, we’ve decided we’ll try and compile a, um, a, a directory of doctors who allow the names to be honest. And so people could come to our website and have a look and, and see if I can find someone. Um, that way.
Guy: Yeah. Fantastic. And then once you see the doctor and the doctor that can then prescribe them accurately what they need and the dosage, where does that then get ordered from? Does the doctor then order for the person?
Kylie: They get a prescription and I have to take that to the, um, the chemist chemist has to then contact the company and that gets, um, brought over to the chemist.
Kylie: Are able to dispense it. I mean there are some compounding pharmacists having said that, who will compound their own? Um, but by and large, if they find something that’s already in a bottle, um, yeah, yeah,
Guy: Yeah. Fantastic. I think that’s, we’ve covered so many, um, topics today, Kylie. That was brilliant. I really appreciate it. And you look, if people want to nerd out even more on this, can I, can I, is there somewhere I can send them to you or is there a website?
Kylie: Yeah. And look, I’m global health initiative Australia. We set that up earlier this year to focus on education, um, for not only healthcare practitioners but also the public. So at the moment, um, we are, we joined hands with the Australasian college of nutritional and environmental medicine to run conferences together and we’ve got our first joint conference in February, in Brisbane next year. Now that’s mostly for health care practitioners. Um, but they can go to G H I Australia.org.au or they can go to the EQnum website to get information on that. But what we’re also wanting to do, because we are a not for profit organization, is start to build up a bank called of short videos. The general public can access for free as well. So again, if people wanted to learn more about it, I’d say go to our websites, um, next year and we’ll start to have a bank called, as I said, um, videos that are for the public, so they’re not going to be too heavily to the paper with jargon. And as well, we’ll have our own online, um, and face to face education for doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Guy: Fantastic. And anyone listening to this today, if you hit pause, you’ll scroll down. All those links and resources will be there for you. So, um, if you want to find out any more, uh, Kylie, look, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I learned heaps then. Um, that was, that was brilliant. And I’m just excited to be able to share this message with other people that I know are very curious about it. So thank you for your time and I’ll let you do.
Kylie: My pleasure.
Guy: Thank you.