Australia’s Unifying Voice with Governments and the Community on all Matters Concerning Medical Cannabis [Interview][Transcript]

Adam MillerGuest: Adam Miller

Presenter: Henry Acosta

Guest Bio: Founder of BuddingTech and The Medical Cannabis Council, Adam completed his studies of Business Entrepreneurship at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Sweden’s Jönköping University for international business in 2009. In 2016 Adam published two Australian industry White Papers with MGC Pharmaceuticals & The University of Sydney on medical cannabis. Additionally, Adam is the organiser of Seedlings, Australia first medical cannabis innovation conference.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we welcome Adam Miller here to discuss the launching of The Medical Cannabis Council this week in Melbourne. The Council will be the peak industry body that aims to develop best practice and standards for producing, supplying and distributing medical cannabis products. The founding members are industry leaders and experts in the fields of health and medical cannabis, including CEO of Epilepsy Action Australia, Carol Ireland; Director of Neurology at St. Vincent’s hospital in Melbourne, Professor Mark Cook; and preventative health expert and cardiologist, Dr Ross Walker. The Council will position Australia as a world leader in research and the production of safe, scientifically-backed, medical cannabis products. The launch comes during Medical Cannabis Awareness Week.

Transcript – TBU

Henry Acosta: Hi you’re listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m Henry Acosta, the host for this segment. Today’s guest is Adam Miller, the founder of BuddingTech. BuddingTech is a company that helps inform people about the safe and responsible usage of medical cannabis. They also help with research and projects offering cannabis to a safe and regulated and available environment to all Australians. He is also one of the founding members and it’s currently director of The Medical Cannabis Council. This council’s aim is to help with the legalization, manufacturing and supply of medical cannabis so Australians will no longer have to rely on illegal products. Adam joins us today to talk about the Council and what’s coming next for them. With all that said, hi Adam.

Adam Miller: Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

H: Can you tell us a little bit more about what you guys do with the Medical Cannabis Council and where do you guys do it?

A: What we do is create a unified industry board and bring together members across the industry. That includes medical professionals, researchers, educators and advocates, all the way to cultivators and manufacturers and distributors. Our goal is to work with the industry to help create a favorable environment that not only benefit the industry but patients as well.

H: I just wanted to ask how did you guys started with the industry and what inspired you into joining the industry?

A: We began working in the Universities in Sydney in group called MGC Pharmaceuticals last year and ran three university programs where we produced three projects, two white papers and one survey. While we’re working in first white paper we identify the need for an industry body to be built. If you look at any credible industry in Australia or around the world for that matter, they have a representing body and medical cannabis is no different. The inspiration to build the Medical Cannabis Council came from the work that we were doing at the University in Sydney.

H: What kind of impact do you think that council will make with regards to the industry and the country itself?

A: We hope to be a communication bridge to industry and a collaborative partner to government. Our objective is to assist the government with some of the key challenge they are facing around education, patients access and harmonization of state and currently legislation. Our goal is to ensure that we can be the interface between industry and government. And it really be that unified voice so that as a collective group members from across the industry, we are able to very strategically work with government to help address the key challenges that they are currently facing. All coming back to ensuring that we can provide safe well backed and well researched the medical cannabis products that patients need.

H: Why is cannabis illegal in Australia in the first place?

A: Well it is prohibited for almost 80 years. That was due to a number of reasons but the primary reason in my view would had come from a lot of the campaigns from America. I’m sure we’ve all heard of Riffer Madness, there was a lot propaganda in America some time ago and that trickled down to Australia and last year the federal government made regulation changes to the Drug Narcotic Act to allow for domestic cultivation and manufacturing of medical cannabis. The TGA re-scheduled cannabis last year to a schedule 8 substance, meaning now it is no longer prohibited, it is a controlled substance that can be prescribed by a specialist doctor.

H: Are there any certain conditions that you guys specifically target with regards to the usage of medical cannabis?

A: Our group doesn’t specifically target particular patient groups. We do work, our industry body has a number of ASX companies involved who are conducting research in fields of cancer, epilepsy, and palliative care. So we are here to support them along their journey to providing products to patients.

H: I see that you guys are launching on the 22nd of June. What’s coming next and what can people expect from the Council?

A: That is right, we are launching on the 22nd of June in Melbourne. What comes next is we’ll be forming our first founding members meeting. With the founding meeting will agree upon our yearly agenda to assist the federal advisory committee in helping create a more accessible medical cannabis industry in Australia.

H: What are the most common misconceptions that you usually get with regards to medical cannabis?

A: With regards to medical cannabis, the biggest misconception is that of us getting high. That is a recreational understanding and that’s what people who are looking to smoke a joint. We’re are trying to promote well research products that have gone through double blind placebo controlled clinical trial and have been proven to be safe and ethical for a patiently used. That’s a really big misconception that cannabis is just a recreation product. It’s not, it’s actually a medical product and there’s a lot more research that’s coming out to prove that. Our goal is to ensure that we can also provide that platform that people could find that research to be informed.

H: With regards to research, how has the research gone for you guys and what have been the results?

A: We don’t actually conduct the research but there are a number of groups inside our organization that do conduct research. There’s been some really promising results in the field of epilepsy, most recently Professor Ingrid Scheffer from the Austin Hospital I believe released a report on CBD which is a cannabinoid in the cannabis plant that had successfully treated people with epilepsy. Further to that, there’s also a recent study done by Wollongong University looking at cannabis as a treatment for schizophrenia. There is a body of research that coming out to support the medical use of cannabis.

H: With regards to the medical use, when they use it do they feel the recreational value of it also or it help with them symptoms of what they’re dealing with?

A: Here’s a thing, with a medical cannabis product versus a recreational product, the recreational product is usually created to have a very high amount what’s called THC and that’s the stuff that gets you high. With medical cannabis products, we can actually remove the THC and have other cannabinoids such as CBD which have been shown to have a very strong medical value. With that being said, there is research to a certain depth that THC also have medical value. It’s about finding the right ratio so that patients don’t feel that intoxicated effect but it can definitely benefit from the medical value.

H: What would be your main take away message for all our listeners right now?

A: To find out more, you can head to www.medicalcannabiscouncil.org. We have put up a lot of information there to help people understand what’s going on in the industry and how people can access products through the regulatory system. We really believe that it’s very worthwhile going and doing some research into how the cannabis industry has evolved over the last few years. You can even reference that white paper I mentioned. If you actually go to our website buddingtech.com, that’s the business I started, there’s a link to that white paper which will give you a full update on how the industry has evolved here in Australia and overseas.

H: For anyone who’s interested in knowing more about the medical cannabis council and staying updated, even reaching out to you Adam, What’s the best way to get in touch with you?

A: You can find all of our information at medicalcouncil.org.au, or you can reach out to me directly using my email address [email protected] Happy to have a chat with anyone who’s interested in learning more.

H: We wish you the best of luck and that’s all our questions for today Adam. Thank you so much for getting on the show.

A: My absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me.

H: That was Adam Miller, founder of BuddingTech and currently the director of Medical Cannabis Council. You can find his business at www.buddingtech.com and you can find the council online at www.medicalcannabiscouncil.org.au. If you’re interested in more health related topics such as fitness, medical research and current news in the health industry, you can visit us at www.hpr.fm , we’re also available on YouTube, SoundCloud and iTunes. You can also like us on all main social media platforms so you can keep updated with our updates. I’m Henry Acosta and you’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio.