It’s Legal to Grow Cannabis in Australia!*

mj-fmgirlOh, so much excitement about medicinal cannabis in our fibromyalgia family!

BUT do you know what’s happening here (ie: Australia)?

It is legal to cultivate and manufacture medicinal cannabis in Australia (Hold On! Keep reading!), which means people can apply for a licence to grow their own cannabis crop from the Office of Drug Control.

Since early November, through the Therapeutic Goods Administration, medicinal cannabis no longer falls under Australia’s most stringent of schedules, reserved for dangerous drugs. Instead, there are provisions in place to use it on medical grounds, with certain approvals but only for very ill people.

However, it will still be illegal to use or grow marijuana for recreational purposes.

It is up to the states to decide whether the drug will be allowed and who will be able to use it, dispense it, who will be able to approve it, and what dosage and form of medicinal cannabis is appropriate. And this is where things get murky (da,da, da, dum…)! Each state is trying to form or introduce its own legislation, while also considering the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961.

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The convention is set in place by the United Nations, and outlines how medicinal cannabis should be approached.

So, how does it work state by state?

  • If you are in Queensland, from March 2017 a specialist should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis for certain patients who have illnesses including MS, epilepsy, cancer and HIV/AIDS. There are no age restrictions, but approval will only be provided by a doctor who needs to show evidence that medicinal cannabis could help the patient.
  • In New South Wales, medicinal cannabis will be available for end of life illnesses, but only for adults.
  • In Victoria, children with severe epilepsy will be able to access medicinal cannabis from early 2017.
  • The ACT is currently working on legislation that will include education sources for doctors. The legislation is expected to come into effect next year .
  • Tasmania is developing a Controlled Access Scheme, to allow patients to access unregistered medical cannabis. It is expected to come into effect next year.
  • The WA Government has recently passed changes supporting the federal legislation. That means that doctors are able to prescribe medicinal cannabis under strict conditions.

Products will only be able to be dispensed by a pharmacist. However, there is still no legal product available in Australia.

There is little to no information available for what the situation in South Australia or the Northern Territory.

Patients who have been illegally using medicinal cannabis are applauding the changes, they fear it could be a decade before it is widely available to those who need it.

* With many restrictions

How Many do You do?

Q. What do talking, showering, and doing laundry have in common?

A. They’re all activities that seem simple to most people, but can be thoroughly exhausting for us.

TheMighty.com partnered with the National Fibromyalgia Association to discover what everyday activities we engage in (or don’t engage in) because of fibromyalgia. How many do you do? Got any to add?

  1. “Not showering every day or keeping up with laundry. People see widget 5me as lazy but in reality, I’m prioritizing what I can do each day. Otherwise I’d be out for a month. It’s hard for people to understand how much energy and effort it takes to do the most simple tasks.”
  2. “I keep a lot of my curtains closed and the brightness on devices on lowest; when I’m having a flare light hurts me so much. My smell and hearing are too sensitive. Repetitive noises are agony to me.”
  3. “Napping. I hate sleeping during the day. I feel miserable when I nap, but if I don’t lie down, I will fall down. Some of my friends love to nap and envy me when I tell them I spent the afternoon in bed. To me, though, napping is just one more way my life is not my own now.”
  4. I clench my jaw really tightly when in pain (probably just looks like I’m pulling weird faces!). Also people think I’m strange for not drinking alcohol, but it reacts with my meds and a hangover feels a million times worse!”
  5. “I rub my hands a lot and sometimes my feet. Most people don’t think this is anything more than self-comfort. The reality is, the weakness and pain in my hands, arms and legs is something I deal with every day.”
  6. “This weekend I was at a wedding. Most people at my table were dancing and were trying to tell me to join them. They don’t know I was bravely smiling through the pain and that it was a two-hour battle just to get dressed up and show up. There was no strength left for dancing.”
  7. “Google-Earth-ing everywhere I have to go (or am considering going) and have never been before to assess if the building would have stairs (inside and out) and a parking spot nearby.”
  8. “I wear a lot of fuzzy socks because I have cold feet issues. Having fibromyalgia means when I get cold my pain gets elevated even worse. Ugg boots are also helpful because they are soft and warm.”
  9. “Avoiding family gatherings as much as possible. I come from a very big and loud family who likes to hug. I’m surrounded by all of them and the kids are running a round and everyone is talking laughing and having a good time. No one realizes how huge that sensory overload is for me.”
  10. “A prime example is ‘test-driving’ chairs to find the most comfortable one. At work, there are several office chairs in the main work area that are used by various people on all shifts, so they get moved around and swapped for each other pretty often. When I’m working in that area, I sit in each chair for a few seconds to see which one is going to cause me the least amount of pain throughout the day (the chairs are identical, but some are older/used more than others). People who don’t know I have fibro may find it odd or humorous, but I think even people who do know seem to find it ‘amusing’ at times.”
  11. 119-fibro-fog“I’m soon to be 27 and have the memory of a goldfish. I mix up words and stutter so bad. People don’t realize I have fibromyalgia and this is why I do this.”
  12. “Taking a deep breath as I reach the entrance door at work, putting a massive smile on my face. Chest out, shoulders back… keeping on my ‘I’m OK’ face until I crumble back into my car at the end of the shift.”
  13. “I really don’t talk much because I have fibro fog and find it hard to carry on a conversation. So this sometimes makes me appear disinterested in others, but that isn’t the case at all. I find it hard to find the words to say.”
  14. “When I have to stand for more than a couple of minutes I rock back and forth to distract myself from the pain. Most think it’s just a nervous habit, but in essence it’s my pain control.”
  15. Giving up my social life. I go to work, and I come home. That’s all I can manage to do. I have to choose between going to church, family activities, and meeting with friends over rest. And lately, rest wins.”
  16. “Sometimes I’m having a really bad flare and can’t get out. Rather than admitting my weakness, I say the kids are sick or something, so no harm, no foul. It makes me uncomfortable admitting it, and it makes them feel even more uncomfortable/angry/disappointed, etc.”
  17. “I walk out of work when my shift ends and drive right home. I don’t say goodbye to anyone because if we end up chatting it’ll be even longer until I get to lounge at home and rest.”
  18. “Turning down TVs and radios when people come in the room. The noise sensitivity makes sounds get louder the more there are different sounds. Each added person, instead of making it harder to hear something, amplifies the sounds.”
  19. “When you take an extra day off work from a holiday weekend. It’s not to just play around and be lazy. It takes me days to recover from travel, from cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, from Christmas shopping, even from just sitting in an uncomfortable chair eating a holiday meal with family and friends.”
  20. “In college, people don’t realize I always tell them, ‘I have to go to the bathroom, be right up with you guys’ because I don’t want anyone looking at me me while I slowly climb my painful way upstairs. So I always make up an excuse to be the last one to go up, and alone.”
  21. “I text instead of calling because I’m not sure how I’ll sound over the phone, and I can make the text sound positive without acting.”
  22. “I take a few minutes every so often when I’m out, like when I go to the bathroom or pop to the kitchen, and just sit and gather myself. Allow myself to feel the exhaustion and pain then breathe and go back in.”

Shaken…not Stirred

Purple bondI’m 007…really! That’s my identification number for the Daiichi Sankyo Mirogabalin study. Today, I went for my screening interview.

I got to Emeritus Research at 11am. The place looks like any other office…with 3 assessment rooms at the back, filled with medical equipment. It seems a little disorganised and haphazard; but I’m looking forward to being involved.

I had a meeting with a nurse practitioner and a doctor. They took a very, very long history, asking questions about almost EVERYthing to do with my medical history (including a questionnaire called the MINI, which I must say is just plain stupid!). I was required to give a urine sample (to check if I am pregnant), some blood work and an EKG. The doctor did a relatively quick physical and, of course, checked all my pressure points. All in all, with a few technical issues, it took about 2 hours.

The first part of the study is 13 weeks long. I have to come off the Lyrica that I am already on. Then I will be (randomly) assigned to one of 4 groups: Placebo, 300mg Lyrica, 15mg Mirogabalin or 30mg Miroglabin. There will be regular check-ups for the entire time.

After the 13 week trial, there may be an opportunity to enter the 52 week Miroglabin trial.

So, now, I’m waiting two weeks to see if I’m part of the study.

NOTE: Emeritus Research is still recruiting for the study, if anybody is interested. Click for  the Consent Form and information. Contact Daiichi using this email address – SM_DS5565_FM_Info@incresearch.com.

As well as the 1000 person study in the US and Canada, Daiichi is also recruiting in:

  • Campse and Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia;
  • Maroochydore, Sherwood and Southport, Queensland, Australia;
  • Hobart, Tasmania, Australia;
  • Malvern East, Victoria, Australia;
  • Tallin and Tartu, Estonia;
  • Baldone, Jekabpils, Liepaja, Ogre and Riga, Latvia;
  • Auckland, Hamilton, Nelson, Tauranga and Wellington, New Zealand;
  • Banska Bystrica, Bratislava and Dubnica Nad Vahom, Slovakia; and,
  • Reading, Berkshire; Chesterfield, Derbyshire; Wellingborough, Northamptonshire: Atherstone, Warwickshire; and
  • Belfast, United Kingdom.

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It Can’t Hurt to Ask

The Australian Parliament is asking for public submissions into chronic disease prevention and management in primary health care.  This is our opportunity to write to them and ask them to fund research into Fibromyalgia and cater for patients who require home care, visits and support from medical professionals.

Despite an estimated one million Australians living with Fibromyalgia, there is limited services, support and information available. The gaps between research and daily care are unacceptable.

Now is the time to ask the Federal Government to provide:

  1. Leadership and coordination of a national approach to provide integrated management of Fibromyalgia services, building on the work of state governments, private sector providers, Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks.
  2. Access to quality services for all Fibromyalgia sufferers including people in rural, regional and remote areas, indigenous and socio-economically disadvantaged communities, children, and older Australians.
  3. Access to education and training for health professionals in particular as it relates to early intervention, multidisciplinary team practice and the early identification of Fibromyalgia.
  4. A public awareness campaign to address discrimination, misunderstanding and stigmatisation of people with pain within the community, including in the workplace and in welfare and compensation systems.
  5. Funding to provide community support services including consumer information, self-management education and telephone support (crisis help line).
  6. The development of a national research agenda to address gaps in knowledge about Fibromyalgia and improve clinical practice in pain management.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, 31 July 2015.

Please make a submission if you can.

 

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International Day of Yoga

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Yoga is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice, with its origin in India, which aims to transform both body and mind.

international-yoga-day-logo-300x429On December 11 in 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. The declaration came after the call for the adoption of 21 June as International Day of Yoga by Honourable Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi during his address to the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 wherein he stated: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.” In suggesting June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, as the International Day of Yoga, Mr. Narendra Modi had said that, “the date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.”

Yogi and mystic, Sadhguru notes the importance of this day in the yogic tradition: “On the day of the summer solstice, Adiyogi [the first yogi] turned south and first set his eyes on the Saptarishis or Seven Sages, who were his first disciples to carry the science of yoga to many parts of the world. It is wonderful that June 21 marks this momentous event in the history of humanity.”

FYI: 175 nations, including USA, Canada and China co-sponsored the resolution. It had the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA Resolution of such a nature.

95. yogaWhat better reason to do you need to give yoga a try? Tomorrow?

As most of us know (whether we do it or not!), exercise is an important part of managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Staying physically active can relieve pain, stress, and anxiety. The key is to start slowly. Begin with stretching and low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming or other water exercises, or bicycling. Low-impact aerobic exercises such as yoga can also be helpful. (Remember: prior to starting any exercise routine, or if you want to increase the intensity of your exercise, talk with your doctor.)

Now, yoga isn’t for everyone but exercise is! So why is exercise important for fibromyalgia?

  • Studies show that exercise helps restore the body’s neuro-chemical balance and triggers a positive emotional state. Not only does regular exercise slow down the heart-racing adrenaline associated with stress, but it also boosts levels of natural endorphins. Endorphins help to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
  • Exercise acts as nature’s tranquilizer by helping to boost serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that scientists have found to be related to fibromyalgia. While only a small percentage of all serotonin is located in the brain, this neurotransmitter is believed to play a vital role in mediating moods. For those who feel stressed out frequently, exercise will help to desensitize your body to stress, as an increased level of serotonin in the brain is associated with a calming, anxiety-reducing effect. In some cases it’s also associated with drowsiness. A stable serotonin level in the brain is associated with a positive mood state or feeling good over a period of time. Lack of exercise and inactivity can aggravate low serotonin levels.
  • A study, at the Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington, D.C., suggests that exercise may improve memory in women with FM. Decreased brain activity, due to aerobic exercise, suggests that the brain is working more efficiently. The researchers suggest that one of the benefits of exercise for fibromyalgia patients is that it may streamline brain functioning. It may help free up brain resources involved in perceiving pain and improve its ability to hold on to new information. The findings may help explain why regular exercise decreases pain and tenderness and improves brain function in people with fibromyalgia. (These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.)

What Are Other Benefits of Exercise for Those With Fibromyalgia?

chronic comic 163Regular exercise benefits people with fibromyalgia by doing the following:

  • burning calories and making weight control easier
  • giving range-of-motion to painful muscles and joints
  • improving a person’s outlook on life
  • improving quality of sleep
  • improving one’s sense of well-being
  • increasing aerobic capacity
  • improving cardiovascular health
  • increasing energy
  • placing the responsibility of healing in the hands of the patient
  • reducing anxiety levels and depression
  • relieving stress associated with a chronic disease
  • stimulating growth hormone secretion
  • stimulating the secretion of endorphins or “happy hormones”
  • strengthening bones
  • strengthening muscles
  • relieving pain

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Pain or No Brain?

Ages and ages ago (except it doesn’t feel that long ago – doesn’t time fly when you’re in a fibro fog!), I (with my doctor’s advice) weaned myself off Lyrica to see if we could find a better way to deal with this condition. If you followed the posts, you’ll remember that I ended up at Step 1 again and back on it…almost immediately.

Basically, it seemed, I was given the choice of being in pain (no Lyrica) or no brain (with Lyrica). I chose no pain.

I am beginning to question my choice…as my brain and everything in it quickly turns to mush.

119. fibro fogLyrica (and Neurontin, by the way) blocks the formation of new brain synapses, drastically reducing the potential for rejuvenating brain plasticity – meaning that these drugs will cause brain decline faster than any substance known to mankind! (This is not me being OTT – this is a quote by some-one else.)

Synaptic plasticity is a key feature of nerve architecture that enables your brain to tolerate stress, recover from trauma, and make changes. That’s how your brain bounces back from intense stress (or not, in our case). Hmmm….and that could be why I just can’t seem to quit smoking. Our brains, on Lyrica, are no longer flexible or “plastic.”

Doctors use them for all manner of nerve issues because they are good at suppressing symptoms. However, can we justify this use now that the actual mechanism of the drugs is finally understood? – they are creating a significant long-term reduction in nerve health.

148. fibro fogTo make matters worse (yes, they can get worse), antidepressants block the action of acetylcholine. What does acetylcholine do, you might ask? It is the primary neurotransmitter involved with memory and learning. And, how many of us take antidepressants? I know that I do. See what I mean by things getting worse?

Can it really be right to force us to make this kind of choice?

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Innate Magic

A while ago, I wrote about starting to see a Network Chiropractor and I’ve been a bit hesitant about writing about my experiences so far. I really don’t want to sound like I’m selling this modality to you – I’m just telling you how it has affected me. I cannot say whether it will work for you or not; and, whether you choose to try it or not, is up to you.

That being said…I am currently a huge fan!

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It took me 2 years to go see Con (my chiropractor). My friend, Thais, had recommended him; and I had even been to one of her appointments to see what happened. It looked like hocus pocus. But it had gotten to the stage where I was ready to just throw in the towel regarding treatment…so off I went.

Firstly, it’s expensive. The initial consultation was $120 and each subsequent consultation is $50 – if you have private health insurance, you may get some money back. I have been seeing Con for 7 weeks. For the first couple of weeks, I saw Con three times a week. We are now at twice a week. It will move to once a week in about 2 weeks. I think it really, really started working about 3 weeks ago. If I didn’t think it was working, I would have given up already just because of the cost.

I have an abundance of energy – so much so that my body is having trouble keeping up with me: on Sunday, I played football with my 4 year-old nephew and went to my 1 year-old cousin’s birthday party, then shopping with my Mommy; yesterday, I started the day with an energizer yoga session followed by a 1 hour hydrotherapy session. I’m sleeping better – waking up is still awful (and takes about 2 hours) and my body still aches (not sure if it’s from all the exercise or from the FM). I’m holding myself straighter and taller. And, generally, I just feel better.

Mommy is coming with me this week because she can actually SEE that I am happier and more energized; and she wants some, too!

So what is it?

Now, to the technical:
Network Spinal Analysis™ care is an evidence based approach to wellness and body awareness. Gentle precise touch to the spine cues the brain to create new wellness promoting strategies. Two unique healing waves develop that are associated with spontaneous release of spinal and life tensions, and the use of existing tension as fuel for spinal re-organization and enhanced wellness. Practitioners combine their clinical assessments of spinal refinements with patient’s self-assessments of wellness and life changes. Greater self-awareness and conscious awakening of the relationships between the body, mind, emotion, and expression of the human spirit are realized through this popular healing work.

What does it feel like?

You know that magic trick where the magician puts his beautiful assistant in a box and then stabs swords into her?

This is the complete opposite. Con pulls OUT swords of pain at each appointment. It amazes me. I don’t understand how it works…and, to tell you the truth, I don’t really care. I am just so relieved to be feeling more like ME. I don’t understand how I can feel Con working on other people who are also in the room (or them me); and, guess what? I don’t really care.

I feel better (and that’s all that matters!)

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If you’d like to give NSA a try, you can find a practitioner through the Association for Reorganizational Healing Practice.

If you’re in Melbourne, Australia and in the South-Eastern suburbs, you might want to visit Con at Innate Wisdom.

 

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Networking News

283. thought for the dayTomorrow, I’m going to see a chiropractor. Hold on! Before I start hearing the pros and cons of all the different therapies from you, this is not a ‘normal’ chiropractor, me thinks. This is a Network Chiropractor.

A Network Chiropractor uses Network Spinal Analysis, a chiropractic system of light touches that claims to have helped improve Fibromyalgia symptoms and achieve greater health. Network Spinal Analysis alleges to help the body create new connections between brain and body. It is a gentle technique that is well suited to people living with Fibromyalgia. Light touch is used along specific areas of the spine causing large-scale changes across the entire body.

The gentle touches, applied with as much force as putting in a contact lens, are made over specific areas called “spinal gateways”. Gateways are critical information processing centres for our nervous system. They’re how the nervous system can monitor and regulate on our inner and outer environments. They are focal areas for free energy and with light touches can help the nervous system to unwind, heal and growth. When a Gateway is contacted the body naturally breathes and moves, stretches, awakens, and releases stuck energy and stress. With regular care, this ability becomes deeply ingrained.

Functioning optimally, the nervous system helps all parts of the body to communicate with each other. It allows us to sense and adapt to ever-changing internal and external environments.

If our pain experience comes from a mis-wired brain, how do we address the pain and get back to health? Pain medication, usually the first resort, can quiet the nerves. Unfortunately, pain meds modify the experience only and not the underlying issue. Take away the medication and the pain returns. Why? The nervous system is still misinterpreting signals as painful. Reorganizing the nervous system is the key to health.

How do we improve the health of the nervous system and correct the signal distortion? We need to reorganize the sensors, wiring and switches. We need to rewire the nervous system.

So, if you had the opportunity to re-boot your system and Network Spinal Analysis could rewire our nervous systems for greater healing, growth and well-being, wouldn’t you? Don’t get your hopes up yet. I hear it may take a while but, if it does, I will be sure to let you know!

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Did the Earth Move for You, Too?

According to recent study findings by Anthony S. Kaleth, PhD, associate professor at the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, whole-body vibration exercise effectively reduced the severity of pain in patients with fibromyalgia.

146. best exerciseBUT it is not entirely clear whether these improvements were the result of added vibration or just the effects of being more active.

24 women with FM were randomly assigned to either 8 weeks of twice-weekly, lower-body, progressive-resistance exercise with whole-body vibration or an attention control group. Whole-body vibration involved patients standing, sitting or laying on a vibrating platform to induce alternating muscle contraction and relaxation.

Patients were assessed at baseline and at 8-week follow-up for fibromyalgia-related physical function, pain severity and muscle strength.

The researchers found a significant improvement in pain severity among patients in the whole-body vibration group compared with controls, but the magnitude of muscular strength improvement was not different between groups.

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