For those of you familiar with the process of applying for a medical cannabis card, here in Illinois, you know that the biggest hurdle is finding a doctor willing to recommend. No prescribing here, heaven forbid...because, the doctors are fearful of losing their licenses or criminal reprisals or they are ignorant of its medicinal value or they think it is a joke or all of the above. Hey docs, no one is asking you to consume cannabis...just let your patients have access to it. So, when an article about an Australian doctor, Dr. Andrew Katelaris, who was willing to risk everything to provide cannabis oil to epileptic kids and adults, popped up on my FB newsfeed, I thought...we need a doctor like this in Illinois!
I always thought of Australia as being a liberal nation, similar to Great Britain, with its national health care system. Upon closer examination of the current policies, I see that Australia has committed several human rights violations. I figured that medical marijuana had been legal in Australia for years. Was I wrong. Despite 91% of Australians favoring legalized medical cannabis, it is illegal, although the ban on it is about to be lifted through the efforts of a few individuals, including Dr. Katelaris. To read all about it, here's the link.
Dr. Katelaris, referred to as "The Pot Doctor," but, of course...sigh...was a doctor of pathology and clinically based medicine and a former medical researcher who has been conducting research on cannabis since 1990. He has risked everything and lost it, in order to grow cannabis and convert it into CBD rich oil in order to save the lives of adults and children with epilepsy in Victoria, Brisbane and NSW in Australia. However, if you ask him, Dr. Katelaris doesn't see it that way at all. Despite being deregistered by the Australian medical community since 2005 for his cannabis research, losing his job and income, and subsisting on unemployment benefits, he continues with his work. He has been arrested dozens of times and charged for a range of drug offenses, although the authorities seem to be leaving him alone, lately. Most people would say he sacrificed his career. He says that THIS IS HIS CAREER. Advancing the cause of medical cannabis. Saving lives. Helping families. He is a revolutionary, civilly disobedient; he felt that there was too much at stake to wait for the draconian drugs laws to change in Australia...too many children would die that could be saved if he stopped growing cannabis plants and making his oil.
In 2013, he obtained some CBD rich cannabis seeds from some colleagues in Spain and he started experimenting with the oil which successfully controlled epileptic seizures in children. He grows it in a secret location, behind a wardrobe, and he processes the oil in an ultra sonic cleaner. It takes 100 mg of plant material to produce 4mg of oil. He is a hero to dozens of families with children with epilepsy who had tried every other medical option before they tried cannabis oil. Because Dr. Kateralis was operating outside of the law, families were discovering this life saving treatment through word of mouth.
Here's is a video of Dr. Katelaris talking about his life's passion
He has set up a Gofundme account in the hopes of collecting donations to set up a huge grow room with cannabis plants so that he can help many more families. Here is the link, if you would like to donate.
As always, I would love to read your thoughts and comments regarding this post. Do you think Dr. Katelaris is a criminal or a hero for breaking the law?
Sources: news.com.au September 30, 2015
I've written a series of posts about medical marijuana. If you want to read more you can click on the "Medical Marijuana" tag at the top of my page.
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