A NSW government survey of more than 65,600 public health employees has reported a “toxic culture of bullying and harassment” that has seen more than one-in-three staff witnessing bullying in the past year, one-in-five (over 13,700 health workers) experiencing bullying behaviour, and one-in-20 being subjected to physical harm and/or sexual harassment or abuse at work.
These alarming statistics were reported in the health cluster focus of the NSW Public Service Commission’s “People Matter Employee Survey 2018”. However, according to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard the results were “better than ever” [dropping four percentage points since 2016] but showed “more needs to be done’’.

They tried to make me go to rehab
I said, no, no, no…
- Amy Winehouse, Rehab


From just one page of today’s paper I learn that two young Queenslanders were busted carrying 18 MDMA tablets to the ‘Rabbits Eat Lettuce’ bush-doof near Casino, while police were investigating the discovery of a 20kg package of cocaine found floating off the coast near South West Rocks.
And that’s just locally.

‘Heart and Soul’, a spectacular photographic portrait exhibition, was a highlight of 2018 at Lismore Regional Gallery. Between them, locals Peter Derrett OAM and Jacklyn Wagner have documented life in the Northern Rivers for almost 80 years.
Always an aficionado of theatre, Peter Derrett kicked off his photographic career by documenting the legendary 1973 Aquarius Festival in Nimbin. In his ‘day job’ he was a highly regarded drama and English teacher at Trinity Catholic College for 36 years, establishing the Theatre North company with his wife Dr Ros Derrett OAM in 1981.

Bundjalung artist Digby Moran with Lismore Flood, one of the highlights of his ‘Growing up on the Island’ exhibition at Lismore Regional Gallery.

Bundjalung artist Digby Moran with Lismore Flood, one of the highlights of his ‘Growing up on the Island’ exhibition at Lismore Regional Gallery.

One of the region’s best known artists, Bundjalung man Digby Moran recently held a true blockbuster of an exhibition at Lismore Regional Gallery. The hangings featured a selection of mostly large works – many of them nearly two metres wide – inspired largely by his early life on Cabbage Tree Island in the Richmond River.

For such an important body system and one that, in evolutionary terms, has been around for so long, why is it that we know so little about the endocannabinoid system (ECS)? And, why do we so rarely utilise the potential benefits of agonists and antagonists of the ECS? The answers are complex but interference by (misinformed) politicians and the influence of societal cultural beliefs are likely culprits rather than lack of inquisitiveness/failure of scientists and medical researchers.

This article will provide an introduction to cannabinoids in general and to ECS specifically and will touch on our current understanding of cannabinoids in neurological disease. There will be no attempt to discuss the importance of ECS in other fields (e.g. metabolic medicine, psychiatry or oncology) nor to discuss medicolegal issues such as medical prescribing in Australia or cannabinoids and driving. Recreational use of cannabinoids is also outside scope of article.