Leah is a health scientist, dementia expert and Director of Research and Advisory at Leafcann™ Research and Advisory, a Melbourne-based medicinal cannabis organisation.
How did you first get involved with medicinal cannabis?
My life’s work has been focused on the aged care sector within Australia and globally, with my area of expertise being dementia research; creating catalysts to change old malignant philosophies and cultures of care within the industry.
I have demonstrated how negative and stereotypical views can be fostered by judgemental perspectives of society and often do not reflect in any way, the reality of the people we care for. Thus, my interest in medicinal cannabis originated from the same type of vision – an identified area of need that I felt required an alternative, and one that I could utilise my leverage in the medical field for.
The emerging medicinal cannabis industry seemed to me a wonderfully fresh alternative to the current ineffective management of many medical conditions in aged care.
The argument that medicinal cannabis can benefit people in ways that other methods cannot, is a crucial element that I believe we are duty bound to honour. Furthermore, there are younger people who already seek out cannabis and utilise it for a range of conditions, currently posing a risk to themselves in relation to possible legal action under the current restrictions.
This seems an unfair and unjust position to place any human being in, who essentially needs a medication to manage the symptomatology of a wide range of chronic or debilitating conditions. If we consider the present alternative, and continue ignoring the significant benefits of cannabis, are we not then condoning and prolonging the suffering of a population in need?
This vision has led me to dedicate myself to advancing and establishing pioneering outcomes to contribute and promote a healthier Australian community, and ultimately, global population. My primary focus was to initiate and propose life quality enhancement for our ageing population by examining and investigating unsuccessful and incapacitating pain medication regimes and polypharmacy.
This commitment to humanity challenges current boundaries and existing technologies, and is dedicated to utilising evidence based research and clinical trials to support interventions that emphasise innovation and the development of fresh perspectives.
Working with Leafcann™ Research and Advisory, and Ward Medication Management, we imagine a future together, paving the way forward to support recognition of the abundant benefits and promise by specifically selected strains, and measured dose medications, compounded from this natural, organic plant.
By operating closely together, we represent a culture of excellence, supported by front-line, forward-thinking medical advances; integrating an inspiring medical discipline, a unique person-centred care philosophy, and a commitment to supremacy and excellence.
What most excites you about the work you’re currently doing?
What excites me most about this journey, is the privilege of working with Leafcann™ and having the ability to work with leaders in this field, who believe in innovative approaches.
Leafcann™ think outside the square, and shall, without doubt be pioneers in creating extraordinary change, through the courage of their convictions, their expertise, their powerful leadership synergy and team, and their exemplary knowledge basis.
We also have one chief commonality. This is the interminable desire to benefit humanity, and provide answers to identified problems and recognised conditions that are not responding to traditional medicine and methods. Making a difference to a civilization in need, is the greatest reward of all. This vision is becoming more tangible by the moment. It’s not negative nor fanciful, but real, positive, logical and humane.
I am thrilled, delighted and excited to be part of Leafcanns™ powerful voice. We continue to inspire each other, becoming progressively stronger, encouraging a solid robust duty of care, and creating baseline opportunities for modern medicine. By speaking with empathy and compassion from the perspective of those who need care, we can lead by example, thus we can alleviate suffering on a grand scale.
My excitement additionally lies in dispelling the stigma and myths associated with cannabis through evidence based clinical trials. Leafcann’s™ supportive approach, and collaborative, compassionate framework, not only demonstrates the ‘problem’ but delivers the ‘solutions’ by expediting collaborations between research and health information into improved clinical care, and superior guidelines.
This inspirational perspective shall be a powerful catalyst to revolutionary change, whilst ensuring our inherent purpose constantly advocates the maximisation of health, comfort and wellbeing of our existing and future population.
What are participants going to get out of your session?
As the Director of Research and Advisory, I am directly involved with setting the direction of current and future research into potential medical applications of cannabis. In my session, I will be exploring the findings of a recent research initiative into the nature and treatment of chronic pain in the Australian aged care setting.
Potent opioid analgesics are widely prescribed within the aged care sector, yet these agents are associated with the highest degree of drug-related harm. This research provides evidence of widespread use of analgesia and adjuvant medicines for the management of chronic pain amongst older people living in aged care facilities. The findings illustrate the scope for the use of medicinal cannabis as a beneficial alternative approach to enhancing quality of life and maximizing comfort.
This major research initiative examined current practices in pain management within the Australian aged care sector, exploring the scope for a potential positive and significant impact from the utilization of medicinal cannabis as an alternative to current pain management regimes. This research is the first large-scale, comprehensive examination of pain management investigating in detail the characteristics of medication use amongst a large cohort of older Australians living in residential aged care.
Leafcann™ are partnering with Ward Medication Management to complete the subsequent implementation of research exploring the use of medicinal cannabis as a potentially beneficial alternative to existing approaches.