Benefits, Virtues & Hazards
9am–4.30pm, Friday April 30, Nimbin Town Hall

A Seminar for health workers and sufferers of conditions relieved by Cannabis, offering the latest research and news about medicinal cannabis


9–9.30 am Registration
9.30–9.40 Welcome and Introduction by Dr Harry Freeman, Nimbin elder and Lismore psychiatrist.
9.40–10.05 Entertainment — Ganja Fairies
10.05–10.50 Patterns in Medicinal Cannabis Use A presentation by Dr David Helliwell of the results of the Nimbin HEMP Medicinal Cannabis Users Survey
10.50–11.20 Entertainment — Mull Melodies
11.20–11.50 Medicinal Cannabis & Compassionate Supply—a presentation by Dennis Peron, director of Californians for Compassionate Use
11.50–12.30  The Benefits, Virtues and Hazards of Medicinal Cannabis, a panel session with Dennis Peron, Dr David Helliwell and others.
12.30–1.00 Entertainment — Paul Bosgarth
1.00–2.00 Lunch
2.00–3.15 Harm Minimisation for Medicinal Cannabis Users, a panel session with Neil Pike, Dennis Peron, Dr David Helliwell and Geoff Moxham from Lismore HEMP
3.15–3.40 Entertainment — S. Sorreson
3.40–4.20 Compassionate Supply and Cannabis Law Reform, a presentation by Steve Bolt, director of Northern Rivers Legal Centre and others
4.20–4.30 Wind Up and Summary by Dr Harry Freeman

The Seminar:

Dr Harry Freeman, Nimbin Elder and Lismore psychiatrist, will be compering the Seminar. Keynote presenters will be Dennis Peron, director of Californians for Compassionate Use, and Dr David Helliwell, a general practitioner in Nimbin for 15 years.

Dennis Peron is guest of honour at the Nimbin Mardi Grass and Cannabis Law Reform Rally (30 April–2 May). He was a founder of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club and led the campaign that won legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use in the 1996 Californian voter initiative.

Dr Helliwell will be releasing the results of the Medicinal Cannabis Users Survey which was undertaken by the Nimbin HEMP Embassy between August '98 and January '99. The survey analysed responses of medicinal cannabis users from Australia and overseas.

Until the modern prohibition era, cannabis had been used and recorded as a medicine for over 4500 years. Cannabis treatment has been shown to:

   •   relieve pain associated with arthritis and rheumatism 
   •   arrest the advance of glaucoma 
   •   help migraine headaches 
   •   be an adjunct to psychotherapy 
   •   control spasticity from MS and paralysis 
   •   ease withdrawal from alcohol and narcotics 
   •   relieve menstrual cramp 
   •   relieve asthma & hayfever 
   •   help overcome insomnia 
   •   block epileptic seizures 
   •   treat many gastric and appetite-related diseases 
   •   help people with AIDS to relieve stress and depression, eliminate nausea, reduce pain, stimulate the appetite and so fight the "wasting" syndrome.

Modern medical research has so far only investigated only a few of the 60 or so cannabinoids, the compounds unique to cannabis, and is confirming the value of this ancient folk medicine. The research shows cannabinoids to be acting directly on various neuro-transmitter systems for which the human body has specific cannabinoid receptors.

For example it is now know that various cannabinoids will potentiate the body's endorphin (natural opiod) system and also act locally on a spinal level helping to reduce pain and disrupt reflex muscle spasm. Certain cannabinoids have shown anti-convulsant properties while others have an anti-inflammatory effect. Other research suggests that cannabinoids may block pain at a skin receptor level.

This research has added to the world wide movement to re-legalise cannabis as an effective and cheaply produced medicine with minimal side effects.

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