O’Sullivan Davies Lawyers Presents – It’s high time to embrace medicinal cannabis

3 December 2020

O’Sullivan Davies Lawyers held an insightful OSD Presents on the topic of medicinal cannabis featuring special guest Dr Richard Hopkins, Managing Director of Zelira Therapeutics Ltd, a leading global medicinal cannabis company based in Western Australia. Dr Hopkins was joined by Paul Mavor, a pharmacist, cofounder of Health House, a leading medicinal cannabis distributer, and one of the pioneers of the cannabis sector in Australia, and Jason Jordan from Medical Cannabis Research Australia, a MS sufferer using medicinal cannabis.

The three each gave a short presentation and patiently answered a myriad of questions from the floor from interested attendees and continued to answer questions as guests mingled over wine and canapés.

Some interesting facts about medicinal cannabis presented to the fully subscribed event include:

  • Cannabis is a powerhouse plant that contains 300 different compounds with potential medical benefit.  Two of the most well-known are cannabis compounds are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Both have been shown to have potent medicinal benefits with limited side effects.
  • The most notable difference between CBD and THC is that THC is associated with the cannabis high whereas CBD has almost no psycho-activity. 
  • When used in medicinal cannabis formulations, only very low doses of THC are used. Typically, the micro-doses required to achieve a medicinal benefit are well below the levels required to experience a ‘high’.
  • The first recorded use of cannabis dates back 6,000 years and has been found in various cultures across Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
  • In 1900, there were 30 medicinal cannabis products available to treat a number of medical conditions before the laws were changed and the cultivation, transportation and use of cannabis was banned. It was listed as a Schedule 1 Drug in 1961 as part of the International Single Convention on Drugs, which listed cannabis alongside morphine and cocaine, as a prohibited drug notwithstanding the fact there is almost no evidence cannabis is toxic, even at large doses.
  • Today, there are over 50 countries that have approved the use of medicinal cannabis as a prescription medicine.
  • In the pharmaceutical world, cannabis is recognised as being very disruptive. The industry is forecast to be worth over $100 billion in the next two years.
  • Medicinal cannabis, often taken as an oil with a few drops under the tongue, is already approved as a treatment for patients suffering nausea from chemotherapy, to relieve the crippling effects of multiple sclerosis and to prevent the fits associated with epilepsy.  In addition, medicinal cannabis is seen as an effective treatment for chronic insomnia, anxiety, neuropathic pain and PTSD. 
  • Medicinal cannabis has limited side effects and is considered safe given that it’s impossible to overdose on it (one needs to consume 21kg of cannabis all at once to overdose).
  • It is one of only a few medicines in the world which does not contain a label warning “may cause death”.
  • What’s interesting about medicinal cannabis is that patients, particularly those aged over 50 are demanding greater access and driving significant growth in the sector.

Dr Hopkins stated that Western Australia is at the global forefront of clinical trials for medicinal cannabis, putting WA in a unique position to lead the world in its use and treatment of conditions.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit https://zeliratx.com/

The next OSD Presents event will be in February or March 2021. OSD Presents series are hosted in the stunning offices of the family law firm that aims to inspire, educate and entertain friends of the firm with interesting speakers. To receive an invitation to this and future events, please email jwalsh@osullivandavies.com.au.