In this weeks podcast we talk with Dr Joe Kosterich, GP & Medical Advisor of Little Green Pharma, about Multiple Sclerosis, Medical Benefits of Cannabis, Autism, PTSD and Tobacco Harm Reduction.
0:45 – Dr. Joe Kosterich was introduced to Little Green Pharma by a colleague in 2017. After validating the medical benefits of cannabis through detailed research Dr. Joe joined as medical advisor.
2:31 – Dr. Joe did not prescribe medicinal cannabis before he joined LGP due to the complexity of application process. The process has become gradually easier since then especially after 2019 when supporting letters from specialists were no longer required to prescribe medicinal cannabis.
4:13 – Dr. Joe highlights that just like other medicines, medicinal cannabis has a level of variability due to its natural and less refined origins. Dr. Kosterich explains that medical benefits of cannabis is generally beneficial for chronic pain, anxiety and sleep management. He does however balance the outlook by explaining that some patients may have dramatic responses to medicinal cannabis treatment, while others may get minimal results. That said, he is positive that majority of the patients do get relief through the use of medicinal cannabis such as medicinal CBD oil.
5:54 – In response to the question of the role of medicine brand in variable response, Dr. Joe explained that the formulation was dependent upon different circumstances. He asserted that it was all about finding a correct formula and dosage adjustments. He was of the view that although genetic tests were there to predict the overall response of medicine, however, no response available for medicinal cannabis till now.
8:21 – As far as the effect of medicinal cannabis on neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease or MS is concerned, Dr. Joe believed that there was no particular effect on MS but the patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease improve substantially. He spelled out that the medicinal cannabis not only improves neuromuscular functions, particularly in elder patients, but it also reduces tremors and rigidity.
12:22 – Dr. Joe agreed that currently, medicinal CBD is among second line of therapies which means that it could not be prescribed without trying other treatments and failing to find any viable solution. However, he was confident that it will soon be seen as a legitimate treatment in near future.
14:39 – If patients use medicinal cannabis illicitly and their situation improved, Dr. Joe justified that he encouraged its use. However, he was of the view that the unreliability of black market products only accentuates the significance of a legalised domain of medicinal cannabis.
16:49 – Dr. Joe accepted that the history of substance abuse could hinder the application process for medicinal cannabis. However, he clarified that the illegal use of medicinal cannabis could be registered as a clinical justification.
19:09 – Dr. Joe said that the prescription of medicinal cannabis depends upon the manageability of pain. Moreover, the prescription depends largely upon the repeated failed usage of first-line therapies. He iterated that improvements are required in the entire infrastructure so that the patients do not go to pharmacists directly for medicine formulation.
22:50 – Dr. Joe explained that a significant improvement was observed in Autism during the use of medicinal cannabis in Israel. He iterated that since there was an absence of absolute diagnostic test for autism, therefore, it was quite difficult to prescribe. However, its symptoms like depression, insomnia and anxiety can be managed well through recreational drugs. In this regard, he declared that CBD was absolutely preferred medication for adults as it could be used to improve moods, increase concentration/focus and improve the overall way of living.
26:46 – Dr. Joe agreed that the socialization skills of patients improved substantially due to medicinal cannabis.
27: 22 – In response to a question about PTSD, Dr. Joe explained that just like other neurological diseases, medicinal cannabis could not cure the source and the medications was solely for managing the symptoms like anxiety, stress and insomnia.
30:31 – Dr. Joe expressed enthusiasm regarding the allocation of 15 million dollars to continue research on psychedelics like NDMA. He described that although both medicinal cannabis and psychedelics phased out at the same time, however, it was picked up for medicinal uses in war time for recreational purposes. He claimed that just like psychedelics, medicinal cannabis was used for ages before being declared as an illegal substance.
33:00 – Dr. Joe stressed that the society was ready to acknowledge and revisit the illegal substance which could provide relief in situations where traditional medicine fails.
34:43 – In response to a story about Ioska taken during spiritual awakening, Dr. Joe apparently negated the idea of terming it as a medically relevant substance.
36:09 – When asked about two senators from medicinal cannabis WIA, Dr. Joe expressed that since the leadership of top statuary institutes is known to be against medicinal cannabis, no real change is expected.
37:39 – On the question of using medicinal cannabis for tobacco harm reduction therapy, Dr. Joe explained that he was supportive of tobacco reduction therapies through different methods since it causes a lot of health issues. He was zealous regarding the notion of legalizing vaping liquid nicotine as an alternative to smoking. He believed that the current prescription based mode nullified the efficacy of whole process.
42:09 – While discussing other strategies meant for reducing tobacco prevalence, Dr. Joe thought that a price increase was not a long term solution as it could lead people to black market. He also viewed that the restrictive packaging was another non-strategic move in this evasive war.
44:00 – Dr. Joe said that there was already the requirement of a prescription to import liquid nicotine. Now, with the new laws tightening the selling of nicotine, smoking will only increase as there was a lack of interest from government regarding education about replacement.
45:32 – Dr. Joe defended that the doctors are conservative due to Medicare and medical investigation board. Thus, they avoid prescribing medicines which are not legal. Also, the vast funding for anti-vaping campaign does not allow doctors to facilitate their patients in any way.
47:15 – Dr. Joe agreed that the government is not interested in reducing tobacco or replacing it due to excise tax interests.
48:25 – While speaking about his work on tobacco reduction, Dr. Joe explained that he played a major role in better delivery of medical services. He also wrote a book called “Do it yourself health” which was about exercise, eat, sleep and stress management. He clarified that the Covid death rate remains much smaller than tobacco-related health issues. He also demonstrated that diseases were not entirely preventable but surely manageable through health management, good diet and regular exercise.
51:40 – Dr. Joe illustrated that the idea of alternative medicine was all about helping people out. Therefore, he asserted strongly that the focus should not be entirely on pharmaceutical medicines, rather it should be on eating healthy and managing stress adequately.
52:59 – Dr. Joe delved into the details about Little Green Pharma, the first Australian company to produce many medical benefits of cannabis. He elucidated that although the production capacity of company increased during the last year, however, entire focus was still on quality consistency. He also claimed proudly that due to quarantine and agricultural restrictions, Australian medicinal cannabis is the best quality product.
Little Green Pharma: https://www.littlegreenpharma.com/