Introducing a new Author – Shane Le Brun

Hello everyone, I’d like to formally introduce myself to the Blog, as I will be writing on an issue that effects me personally, Medicinal Cannabis, over the next few months.

For a little background on me,  I joined the Army fresh out of high school and spent just over 8 years “In Green” most of which was spent as an Ammunition Technician, blowing stuff up as a perk, between more mundane parts of the role. After things went to custard for the wife  I studied IT in Christchurch, and moved to Nelson for a Job opportunity.

In the past year I have been gradually becoming more vocal on the Medical Marijuana (MMJ) scene in NZ, following a string of near misses my wife has had with Opiates (Morphine class of Drugs) in a hospital setting. Then the astounding level of pain relief obtained on the first attempt with MMJ.  I have been selected as a board member for Green Cross, mainly due to my knowledge and first hand experience as an “Amateur Aneasthetist” with regards to the pros, cons, and side effects of various pain medications, the experience derived from caring for my wife and being over involved in her ACC process.   I have also been working closely with Karen Jeffries and a few others who have been advocating for longer from the more recent development in MMJ, the treatment of Pediatric or intractable epilepsy.

Much of the MMJ community, (or at least the most vocal parts) in NZ is very left wing, having been on the receiving end of what they see as an unjust govt policy from both the Labour and National Governments that have knowingly ignored their plight.  Any right wing or moderate professionals in favor are generally of the silent type, further skewing the perception.  Anecdotally , the amount of people suffering who mention their cannabis use and receive a smile and a wink from the medical fraternity, who then stay silent on the issue is also incredibly frustrating to the patient, further pushing people politically left against “the system”.

It is also important to note that United Future, a minnow in parliament,  polled less than ALCP during the last election on the party vote, and has been a steadfast opponent of Medical Marijuana since inception, and due to a faux pas dating back a decade, has been the target of some fairly harsh and unconstructive  criticism and derision from within the MMJ community.

There is also a strong movement internationally to tout Medicinal Cannabis as a panacea for all sort of ailments, including people who genuinely believe that it is a cure for ALL types of cancer. There is promising research in vitro, (the lab dish) but that has yet to be followed up by useful human trials. I see those making such boastful claims publicly as hindering the entry of MMJ  into the mainstream in NZ.  – More on that another time.

What I hope to contribute, is from a slightly  right wing, (or at least less radical left wing) background, rational argument and debate from a politically neutral standpoint, about applying Medicinal Cannabis to treatments where there is well established evidence in NZ. This includes for HIV or Cancer related Nausea and weight loss, MS related spasticity and pain and  long term Chronic Pain management where the Morphine and Valium families of drugs, with all their risks, side effects and required dose escalations are undesirable. I feel it should also be at least a last resort for the very promising new fields of research as they crop up. Pediatric Epilepsy is all the rage at the moment, with an NZ child Jade Guest having a 90% seizure reduction after moving to Colorado but research is suggesting Arthritis, Osteoporosis and Crohns disease may be breakthrough areas in the near future, so it shouldn’t be pigeon holed to individual conditions as is the case in Many US States,

My personal vision of implementation is that a Prescription for Cannabis goes through  2 medical professionals before approval, effectively a specialist only medicine,  such as your GP recommending use, then the relevant specialist, such as an Oncologist, or Anaesthetist etc giving the final approval.

Seeing as Pete posted an index of his political orientation I will share mine….

8x22  Social moderate………