Medical cannabis in Australia

March 3, 2019 by Elana Bowman
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J-Wire spoke with Adam Benjamin to discuss cannabis farms in Australia and its potential to assist people with a range of conditions and diseases.

Adam Benjamin

In 2014, a close family friend lost their child to terminal cancer and there was no option to provide cannabis treatments (mainly in oil form) as it was illegal then.

Adam Benjamin founded MEDIFARM, Australia’s first fully licenced medical cannabis facility and feels that a lot of it has been about luck, timing, and serendipity.

His timing could not have been better because in 2016, the health department hosted a roadshow specifically educating people about cannabis and how it bought comfort to patients with all types of illnesses and was considered a medicine.
The Australian government did extensive research with companies all around the world and advised them to take guidance and leadership from Israel and they pointed to Tikun Olam, the global pioneers in medical cannabis cultivation, research and patient treatments. MEDIFARM secured an exclusive IP partnership with Tikun Olam in order to help Australian patients with the most advanced medical cannabis treatments.
So MEDIFARM became the first company in Australia to become fully licensed in October 2016, and Benjamin feels that he was very fortunate. The Australian government handpicked an Israeli company as the stand out company and Medifarm benefits from this integral partnership.
“We want people to be aware and to help people. Doctors are now being informed that medical cannabis farms are legislated by the Australian Health Department. People are choosing other options and should rather be approaching doctors to specifically get the right dosages of cannabis needed for their conditions” MEDIFARM’s plants are providing patients with purpose-bred prescribed medicine.
Adam Benjamin talked about the different approaches and choices people have with cannabis. If people choose a drug which is specifically bred with the aim to get someone high, and a lot of cannabis has been anonymously tested has shown that the plants can be widely inconsistent, and will probably have no benefit when treating an illness.
“We have to be mindful that this is another tool in the doctor’s bag. Choosing to advocate your treatment with a doctor or specialist, can bring better results along with other forms of medication.”
The irony is that treatment with cannabis is not new and was used as prescribed medicine all over the world. During the Prohibition, doctors were no longer allowed to prescribe it and it became illegal.
So companies like MEDIFARM and there are currently six fully licenced medical cannabis cultivation and manufacturing companies, have undergone the fit and proper test, they have been vetted, and the plants are all heavily researched, checked, and tested.
Really all Adam wants to do is help bring a prescribed medication to the fore to help thousands of people with cancer, PTSD, Autism, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, ALS, Arthritis, and other conditions, to assist with nausea, appetite, pain, and possibly improve health outcomes.
“It’s nice to have the recognition as people from Tikun Olam are all Jewish. Tikkun Olam is defined as a duty to heal the world, so we all feel a sense of duty. I feel very fortunate to have our partnership with them.”
Adam believes that any amazing people in the world; who discover something, create something, or innovate something can gift the world with it. It’s not only about having a business and making money from it, but it has also been an opportunity for him to help other people and be part of something which is helping to heal the world.
Now MEDIFARM is aiming to provide patients with plants and the cannabis treatments first and later in the next year or so, will be working with New Zealand and Asia.
There is research and resources on the MEDIFARM website to help educate the general public, and to encourage them to advocate for treatment of their conditions. Adam encourages people to go to doctors to seek the right treatment for themselves.
“We are in an amazing race, game on!”

Adam graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor in Science & Masters in Commerce. 

Prior to graduating, Adam was recruited and spent several years working for Reebok Australia.
He then shifted his focus to finance and worked for the Macquarie Banking Group. After gaining substantial commercial exposure to public & private organisations, Adam then entered private enterprise where he specialised in developing innovative businesses from inception to commercial exit. 
Most recently he has directed his focus to the health industry with successes in primary healthcare clinics. 
Adam has now targeted the medical cannabis industry with a unique collaborative approach as he drives towards his goal of leading this pioneering industry in Australia and beyond.

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