ONJ, medical cannabis and a nod to Australian cannabis stocks

By Jonathan Jackson. Published at Aug 5, 2019, in Features

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I don’t usually watch 60 Minutes. I find it overproduced and overhyped these days and pine for the time when Jana Wendt and George Negus, were going toe-to-toe with people.

I was just a kid back then, but those two alone, along with Ray Martin and Ian Leslie, were part of the reason I wanted to become a journalist or writer or any part of the media industry.

I wanted to wear a tweed jacket and throw it over my shoulder and go into war zones.

I don’t remember that initial 60 Minutes team putting themselves before the story, as seems to happen a lot these days on a variety of current affairs shows, but sometimes the current crop produce a story I am interested in and last night (Sunday, 4 August) it had to do with Olivia Newton John.

Here I go being nostalgic again. As a kid in the time of 60 Minutes’ glory years, I, along with many others, hoped Newton John could be hopelessly devoted to me. I was very much pre-teen in 1978 when Grease came out, so please forgive me.

Today, as a man in his mid-to-late 40s who writes a lot about medical cannabis and related listed companies, my interest is always piqued by medical cannabis based human interest stories.

So when Liz Hayes interviewed Sandy about cannabis use, I felt it was worth repeating Newton John’s fight with stage 4 cancer and how medical cannabis helped her get through it.

She tells Hayes that her husband John Easterling had grown cannabis for medical purposes for her.

"I really believe the cannabis has made a huge difference," says Olivia.

"I'm confident," John concurs.

All three in the family, including daughter Chloe are now converts.

Here’s a look at the full interview:

Of course, this is a high profile story.

There are many other inspirational stories out there, that don’t involve Australian icons.

Like Rebecca Sewell’s which you can read about here.

Or Kristen Courtney who was diagnosed at the age of sixteen with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which quickly developed into an autoimmune disorder leaving her bedridden for four years. Kristen founded Cannabis International with doctor William Courtney after cannabis reduced her pain.

One of the more famous cases is that of Charlotte Figi who had her first seizure at just three months old and by five couldn’t walk, eat or talk. Cannabis oil was her saviour and now there is a recognised cannabis strain named after her called Charlotte’s Web.

You can read all about Charlotte’s story here.

Of course, cannabis is no miracle cure. It obviously has its benefits, but there is little known about any side effects or long-term effects.

We know the psychoactive element has been taken out, but beyond that we have to put our faith in the researchers and their findings as to the full suite of medical benefits.

Companies such as the profitable Ecofibre (ASX:EOF), which is heading toward a billion dollar market cap, THC Global (ASX:THC), AusCann (ASX:AC8), Elixinol (ASX:EXL), Cann Group (ASX:CAN), Althea (ASX:AGH) and MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MXC) are working hard in the space.

As Business News Australia reports, “Cannvalate CEO and co-founder Dr Sud Agarwal describes Australia as "the next Canada" with positive trends since medicinal cannabis was legalised in 2016, just two years after similar regulations took effect in the North American country.

"The growth trajectory of medicinal cannabis users that we've seen so far in Australia is very similar to what was seen in Canada in the early days of commercial legalisation," says Agarwal.

"Fortunately, more GPs and medical specialists are starting to learn more about the benefits of medicinal cannabis as well as how to prescribe it to patients.

"There has recently been a significant shift recently in how the medical profession views medicinal cannabis and its place in the health sector."

If that is true then the Australian medical cannabis industry is in good shape and stories such as Olivia Newton John’s may not be niche stories about the miracle of medical cannabis for too much longer. They would actually given widespread credence.

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