Hikurangi Enterprises business development manager Manu Caddie attended the Hemp Health and Innovation Expo in Sydney 25-28 May 2017. He summarises the highlights here.
The expo was well organised with nearly 60 trade exhibitors – most of these were Australian companies with a mix of products and themes including:
- cannabis advocacy and education groups
- cannabis plant growing and extraction technologies including soil nutrition, lights, hydroponic equipment, butane and alcohol extractors, etc.
- cannabis smoking and vaping equipment suppliers
- hemp product suppliers – clothing, hempcrete, food, etc.
- medical industry representatives
- hemp industry associations
- CBD product manufacturers from the USA and Australia
I made a number of key contacts with exhibitors including a manufacturing company who will help us get GMP (pharma) certification in New Zealand, a seed company who will help us get low THC and very high CBD seed from a breeder in Europe and a researcher producing CBD products with 75ha under cover – he invited me to visit.
Last year the expo had 5,000 people attend and it would easily be similar this year, a similar event will be held in Melbourne in December.
The speakers line-up was very impressive and I was excited to have the day MC’d by Tim Harding, a childhood hero of my daughter (he was a founding team member of the hit TV series ‘Hi-5’) and he is now a passionate medical cannabis advocate as his daughter has seizures and CBD seems to work to reduce the frequency and intensity of these episodes.
I enjoyed the presentation by Martin Lee from Project CBD surveying recent research on CBD safety and efficacy, as well as whole plant efficacy and a range of other activities and foods that can positively affect the Endocannabinoid System. Of interest was a 2011 paper he mentioned proving that dosages of up to 3000mg of CBD have no adverse effects.
Viola Brugnatelli, an Italian researcher based in Ireland, shared recent research on the Enodcannabinoid System and advocated passionately for more public interest clinical trials to ensure the plant is able to be used safely and effectively by the public and approved drugs are not made unaffordable or even profited off by pharmaceutical companies. This gave me some ideas about how we can structure the CBD clinical trials we have planned to fundraise for later in the year.
Anastasia Suraev from the Sydney University provided an overview of cannabis clinical trials for children with epilepsy that she is involved with – another potential collaborator I am keen to make contact with.
Dr Gary Richter talked about medicinal cannabis treatments for pets and I discussed some animal trials we’d like to look at with his involvement.
Dr Rachna Patel, a Californian medical marijuana doctor shared some of her experience prescribing cannabis to patients for various conditions and is very keen to do Q&A via her YouTube channel.
Dr Teresa Towpik is an Australian GP and more recently a medicinal cannabis advocate with a focus on educating GPs and patients about the opportunities to use the plant and safe products to treat various conditions.
Activist Jason Wilcox has been the leader of the Canadian movement for patient plant access and successfully challenged federal legislation to enable small numbers of plants to be grown by the public with even greater access available from 2018.
Jenny Hallam, a well known medical cannabis activist, spoke with rage on the need for urgent regulatory change and her own experience of providing cannabis solutions for people suffering around the country and a subsequent Police raid and prosecution for supply. She is currently facing jail time if she loses the case and knows at least one person has already died because they no longer had access to her medicine after she was raided.
Klara Marosszeky from the Australian Hemp Masonry Company has huge experience in the hemp industry and is keen to promote carbon zero building via hemp and local resources, initially for affordable homes and retrofitting in rural and indigenous communities but eventually everywhere.
Finally Robert Clarke, an American ethno-botanist, was the other presentation that resonated with me as he surveyed his decades of studying the traditional uses of hemp in communities throughout Asia and Eastern Europe.
The next Hemp Health & Innovation Expo will be held in Melbourne in December but there was much talk of the Aotearoa contingent and industry hosting a similar event in New Zealand later this year. Such an event would probably have more emphasis on the symposium rather than tradeshow with presentations on recent developments in related science and industry.
Event website: hhiexpo.com.au