For me, this weekend has been both inspiring and hugely frustrating. Many people have been brave enough to share their personal stories with me and some with the wider audience during the panel sessions.
I say again…..personal narratives are powerful instruments of change.
As introduced during the various sessions, my advocacy for better patient access pathways to Medicinal Cannabis is well regarded and wide-ranging throughout South Australia and beyond.
I receive contacts, not dissimilar to those received this weekend, regularly. It is a telling sign of the society we live in when there are so many people who may benefit from Medicinal Cannabis therapy and yet affordable and simple access is all but unreachable.
For the record – I am not able to provide ‘advice’, nor am I qualified to. That said, I can share information I have gathered/learned so that you may make your own choices.
For those of you who don’t know what started my advocacy, here is the back story. There is always a back story.
When my father was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer about 12 years ago – it was not operable and metastasised to his bones – he died in September 2009. It was during that time I started my quest for better treatment options for him during the palliative time.
Cannabis was an option but accessing it was futile and it was a criminal act to access it. Not much has changed – though legal now – the patient access pathways are cumbersome and expensive and medical professionals are mostly uneducated and unwilling to consider cannabis as an option.
Not putting too finer a point on it, the lead up to his death was painful and we lost him long before he died thanks to the opiates he was prescribed for pain relief – he was mostly so sedated he couldn’t communicate and all activities of daily living were done for him by my sister, my mother and I.
An undignified death for a dignified man. My fight for better access to Cannabis is both personal and ongoing.
Fast forward to 2019
Whist there is a Federal legal framework (from 2016) for access to Medical Cannabis the States/Territories have the responsibility for regulation.
As I mentioned above, safe, affordable patient access pathways remain the challenge.
Here are some useful links
If you go decide to venture down the legal path it may be useful to review this link: http://www.integrativehealthsolutions.com.au/2017/10/03/patient-pathway-to-access-medicinal-cannabis/
This is the most recent guidance from the TGA https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis-guidance-documents/
Here is some info regarding access in our State (SA). The challenge will be to find a doctor willing to prescribe.
There are many resources available and this is one I often refer people to https://grannystormcrowslist.wordpress.com/the-list/
Simply search for the diagnosed the condition/s and a range of link will come up – ranging from studies to scholarly articles.
United in Compassion – this extract is from the UIC Website. Please take a dip into the site in an effort to understand Dan’s story and the incredible work this organisation is undertaking. I have nothing but pure respect and admiration for Lucy Haslam and her team.
Our philosophy is the dignified alleviation of suffering with compassion & empathy according to ‘Dan’s Test’
Our primary mission is advocating for patient access to Full Spectrum herbal Medicinal Cannabis extracts and dried herb Cannabis; in a manner which is safe, effective, affordable, equitable and favorable for patients, for the dignified relief of suffering.
Dan’s test – sets high quality product expectations, that are legally and easily accessible to patients when they need it, with no one left behind :
- Equitable and favorable for patients
- Naturally outdoor/greenhouse grown herbal Medicinal Cannabis
- Organic principles.
- Incorporates a wide range of herbal Medicinal Cannabis varieties, to treat a wide range of health conditions.
- Full Spectrum plant extraction processes.
- Dried Herb (Cannabis floral clusters); for use in electric personal vaporisation devices.
- Ensures high standards of production & manufacturing, by employing the principles of Quality Assurance
Dan Haslam was instrumental in bringing the issue of the therapeutic use of herbal Medicinal Cannabis to the forefront and into the national Australian consciousness. Dan benefited dramatically from his use of local Australian grown herbal medicinal varieties of Cannabis, during his battle with cancer.
Dan passed away on the 24th of February 2015, but his legacy lives on. “Every step we take on Medical Cannabis, will be built on the footsteps Dan Haslam left behind” Mike Baird – Premier of New South Wales
UIC supported the making of the documentary High As Mike.
If you wish to host a screening of this most compelling documentary visit FanForce to learn how:
For those of you who saw the doco in Adelaide you would have come to understand that many people can benefit from Cannabis therapy.
From this weekend alone, it was clear to me that many people are either accessing the alternative market (with risk) or going without, too frightened to run the risk of becoming tangled in the criminal justice system. Sadly, too many are dying waiting.
It is understood about 1 million Australians have turned to the alternative market in Australia, a market which is estimated to be worth $4.5Billion in Australia each year. It does make you think!
I hope one day, in the not too distant future, the landscape is very different.
Be an advocate – tell your story – Don’t raise your voice, simply improve your argument.
Strength to each and every one of you.