My Visit To A Hemp Expo
This past weekend I visited the Hemp Health & Innovation Expo at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney. I had no idea what to expect, but I ended up having a really great time and came away with a huge appreciation for all the benefits this amazing little plant has to offer.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species, however, unlike some strains of cannabis that contain a high concentration of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), hemp has low concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which eliminates its psychoactive effects. Hemp is a hugely versatile plant and can be used for building, medicine, fuel, food, skin care, clothing, fibre and so much more.
Hemp & Cannabis Law In Australia
Earlier this month, hemp was approved (FINALLY!!!) for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand, where the seeds and oil had previously only been legal to use in topical applications such as body scrubs and lotions.
Recent amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act means that for the first time, cannabis can legally be grown in Australia for medical and scientific purposes.
But before you get excited and head down to Flower Power to get started on your own little crop, it is still very much ILLEGAL for recreational use, and even despite these changes still very difficult to get for medicinal use.
Hemp Health & Innovation Expo
This expo is the biggest event of it’s kind in Australia and showcases exhibitors and innovators, as well as the world’s leading neuroscientists, doctors, vets, academics, farmers, and researchers all doing incredible things in the hemp and cannabis industries.
We headed over to the expo early on Sunday morning and had no doubts we had arrived in the right place when we turned into the car park and were greeted by a massive light up sign displaying a giant flashing ganja leaf.
A quick scan of the crowd revealed a hugely diverse group of people and not just the stereotypical “pot” enthusiasts you may have expected.
We made our way through the gates after being held up briefly by a painfully irritating woman who had somehow convinced herself that it was logical and reasonable to rudely demand that the staff grant her free entry on Sunday, even though she had clearly only purchased a ticket for Saturday. Seriously lady, if ever there were a time and place to find a little “chill”, this would be it!
Once inside there was live music and food to enjoy, a heap of exhibitor stands to visit and speaker presentations to listen to.
On display was also the largest ratified hemp crop in the Southern Hemisphere. It was tightly guarded and even underwent a spot inspection by government officials to ensure it complied with standards.
Hemp & Cannabis for Pets
I went along with a particular interest in how hemp and medicinal cannabis are being used in the field of veterinary medicine, so I went off in search of anything dog related. I thought I had struck gold immediately when I spotted a stand in the distance called Black Dog LED, but it turned out they specialize in LED grow lights for.. well.. growing. Not exactly what I was after, but great job on an eye-catching stand!
However, I did have my eureka moment when I realised that Dr. Gary Richter would be doing a presentation on “Treating Pets with Medicinal Cannabis”.
Known as ”America’s Favorite Vet”, Dr. Richter uses an integrative approach to veterinary medicine and effectively combines western medical care with holistic treatments such as herbal therapy, acupuncture, supplementation and the use of medicinal cannabis.
Dr. Richter and his two veterinary hospitals (Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care) in the USA have been awarded over twenty local and national awards including “Best Veterinary Hospital”, “Best Veterinarian”, “Best Canine Therapy Facility” and “Best Alternative Medicine Provider”.
He presented some amazing case studies (complete with cute pup and kittie photos), which illustrated the profound healing effects cannabis has had on a number of his animal patients. In many cases reversing the growth of tumors, alleviating pain and eradicating symptoms of chronic disease.
Dr. Richter advised that medicinal cannabis for pets can be used effectively for:
Alleviating symptoms of degenerative joint disease
Providing anti-neoplastic effects (anti tumor)
Spinal cord or brain injury
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
He did stress that dosing, and achieving the correct ratio of THC to CBD is critical to success and safety. Keep in mind that for those of us in Australia, and due to legislation being the way it is currently, THC-containing products are not available to us at this time.
Dr. Richter explained that hemp (which IS currently available to us) is still very beneficial in cases of pain, seizures, anxiety, and for tumorous growths.
Due to the danger of toxicity, particularly when using high THC-containing products, it is always advisable that you consult a veterinarian before commencing your pet on this type of therapy.
If you are interested and want to learn more about this topic he offers a comprehensive online masterclass on medical cannabis for pets via his website, and he also has a new book due for release in August called Integrative Health Care for Dogs & Cats.
In addition to seeing Dr Richter’s presentation, there were several other exhibitors with pet-specific products including:
Pet CBD Oil Australia – an Australian business producing premium quality, non-psychoactive medical grade cannabis oil for animals.
HEMPet Meaty Treats – a pet business that makes healthy dog treats made of real meat and hemp flour with no added preservatives or flavours. Poppy has been snacking on these for the last couple of days and loves them.
Visiting the hemp expo turned out to be a hugely informative day, and I am so glad I went along. My only disappointment was missing the opportunity to get a photo taken with the Nimbin Ganja Faeries, but I guess there is always next year to look forward to.
Would you consider adding hemp to your dog’s diet? Let me know your thoughts below.
P.S. The Hemp Health & Innovation Expo will be on again in Melbourne on the 2nd & 3rd of December 2017. For more details check out their website.