Essentials of Medicinal Cannabis | Speakers

Dr Jeffrey Hergenrather (USA) – KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Jeffrey Hergenrather is a general practitioner specialising in cannabis/cannabinoid medicine since 1999. His medical experience includes 26 years in emergency medicine and private general practice that includes the medical use of cannabis since 1977. He continues in a consultation practice in northern California with face-to-face, telephone, and on-line consultations for the use of cannabis as medicine.

Dr Hergenrather’s practice, research, and teaching focus on the medicinal use of cannabis through a wide range of conditions and age groups – from infants to elder care. He is teaching a Biology course in the Medical Use of Cannabis at Sonoma State University. He is a founding member and current president of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, a non-profit corporation dedicated to quality patient care, education, and clinical studies. He is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) and the International Association for Cannabinoids in Medicine (IACM). He also serves as an expert witness and consultant to local government and industry in supporting safe access to measured cannabis medicines.

Leah Bisiani MHlthSc/DipBus/RN1/Dementia Consultant/Learning & Advisory/Uplifting Dementia

Leah Bisiani has 35 years’ experience within aged /dementia care, establishing a highly skilled knowledge basis, establishing her as a global leader in this field.  Her primary vision has focused on changing the culture and philosophy of care associated with people living with dementia, providing a voice that confronts current practice and advocates their rights. Leah has successfully demonstrated how creating environments in which persons with dementia continue to thrive, enables continuation of life based on recognition of the person, valuing individual preference and choices. Her pioneering revelations enable people living with dementia to attain enriched lifestyles and empower caregivers to embrace her dreams of change. A writer and researcher, she has since become a popular and prominent speaker at foremost Australian and Global medicinal cannabis conferences, symposiums and summits, discussing the promising therapeutic benefits of medicinal cannabis for the treatment of chronic intractable pain in the older population.

Dr Sinclair Bode

Dr Bode graduated from medicine at Adelaide University in 1986 and has continuously undertaken further education including hypnotherapy, acupuncture, Chinese medicine and prolotherapy. He was introduced to Nutritional and Environmental Medicine in 1997 and this change in direction enabled him to further increase his repertoire of tools, to aid in the treatment of a variety of complex conditions. Dr Bode has lectured for ACNEM, Mindd, Cancer Care Centre, Chronic fatigue association and Autism SA. He has worked as a Director, an Integrative General Practitioner in the Adelaide Hills location of Stirling for many years. More recently Dr Bode has focused his practice on Integrative Medicine allowing him to again take new patients and to help more families confronted with complex medical problems. His areas of particular interests include, but are not limited to: Autism, Cancer, Chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Heavy Metal Toxicity, neurological conditions, mental health and complex medical problems.

Professor Ian Brighthope

Ian Brighthope has qualifications and experience in medicine, surgery, anaesthetics, agricultural science, nutritional and environmental medicine and herbal medicine and education. He is a strong advocate for professional freedoms for health care professionals and has been following the medicinal cannabis story for many years.

“Amazon John” Easterling

Since 1976 John Easterling has been an explorer and treasure hunter in the Amazon Rainforest. It was there, after a personal health crisis, he was introduced to the traditional use of medicinal plants by the Indigenous People in Peru. Since then his passion for plant medicine has only accelerated. Easterling’s original degree is in Environmental Studies, he founded the Amazon Herb Company in 1990 and serves on the board of the Amazon Center of Environmental Education and Research. As a formulator and educator John has met with researchers and cultivators in many states in America as well as Canada, Israel and Australia and is convinced that cannabis and plant medicine can eliminate or alleviate most of the degenerative health issues people are facing. Easterling believes the dramatic growth and interest in cannabis is still in its early stages and  Australia has a unique window of opportunity to become a global leader in this space.

Dr Tony Gill

Dr Tony Gill is a public health physician who is a principal medical adviser to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and heads up the Medicine Shortages Section in the Pharmacovigilance and Special Access Branch which also administers access to unapproved medicinal cannabis products. He commenced work at the TGA in February 2010 and has filled various roles including acting Chief Medical Adviser of the TGA and Senior Medical Adviser roles until before moving to his current position in September 2016. In the TGA he has been involved in the regulation of unapproved therapeutic goods, the clinical evaluation of biologicals and medical devices, and the scheduling of medicines.

Carol Ireland

CEO and Managing Director of Epilepsy Action Australia (EAA), Carol has an extensive background spanning 35 years in the not-for-profit human services sector, holding a variety of executive positions. She has been at the forefront of the medical cannabis movement. In her role at Epilepsy Action Australia she has had significant contact with many individuals and families faced with managing very challenging forms of medication resistant epilepsy, with few or no options left in the conventional treatment bucket. Carol has heard and seen the changes in people’s lives, including reduction in the severity and frequency of seizures, resulting from use of medicinal cannabis. Carol serves on the Australian Advisory Council for the Use of Medicinal Cannabis, Advisory Board of The Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, Steering Committee for the NSW government’s Paediatric Epilepsy Trials (MC Research), and is a founding Director of the Medicinal Cannabis Council.

Senior Clinical Lecturer, School Of Medicine, University of Sydney
Supportive Care and Palliative Medicine Consultant Physician, Southern oncology Specialists, St. George Private Hospital

Dr Judith Lacey is the Head of Supportive Care and director of Supportive Care and Integrative Oncology at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Her primary interest is in the development and integration of supportive care interventions to keep people living well with cancer independent of prognosis or stage of disease. Her area of interest is in whole person care and works with other practitioners to maximise patient wellbeing. Her research interests and activities are in the field of integrative oncology, medicinal cannabis, and supportive care service development.

Professor Nick Lintzeris

Professor Nicholas Lintzeris is a specialist in Addiction Medicine, and has worked with cannabis users for over 25 years. He is an investigator in several clinical trials of medical cannabis in the areas of chemotherapy, chronic pain, palliative care, driving and addiction medicine.

Associate Professor Kylie O’Brien Bsc (Optom), B AppSci (Chinese medicine), MPH, PhD (Chinese Medicine), Grad Cert Tert Ed

Kylie is the Director of Education and Director of Integrative Chinese Medicine at the National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM) in Hawthorn. Kylie is an experienced educator, researcher and practitioner in the field of Chinese medicine, and more recently integrative medicine. She has previously worked for the Department of Human Services, and has held senior academic and administrative roles in universities and the private sector. Her book, co-authored with Avni Sali, O’Brien and Sali, A Clinician’s Guide to Integrative Medicine: What You Should Be Talking About With Cancer Patients and Why (US: Springer 2017(, was published in the US last year.

Justin Sinclair

Justin is a Research Fellow and Coordinator of the Australian Medicinal Cannabis Research and Education Collaboration at NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University. He has a background in pharmacognosy and research interests include botany, ethnopharmacology, analytical phytochemistry, ethnobotany, psychopharmacology and medicinal cannabis. Justin has lectured and published extensively on medicinal cannabis. He is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and International Cannabinoid Research Society.

Dr Sue Sisley

Dr Sue Sisley MD is an Arizona-based physician practicing Internal Medicine & Psychiatry. She works as Independent Medical Director for medical cannabis license holders in 17 different states from Hawaii to Florida to New Jersey. Sue serves as President of Scottsdale Research Institute & Site Principal Investigator for the only FDA-approved randomised controlled trial in the world examining safety/efficacy of whole plant marijuana in combat veterans with treatment-resistant Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD. Dr Sisley is on faculty at Colorado State University & Humboldt State University, and Senior Fellow at Thomas Jefferson University Lambert Center, assisting their Institutes of Cannabis Research. Dr Sisley has been a Member of Nevada ILAC Medical Cannabis Commission for the past 3 years, outlining regulations for laboratory testing including limits on pesticides, residual solvents and other guidelines that are currently being used as a model for other states medical cannabis laws. Her other areas of current IRB-approved research include supervising studies evaluating cannabis for pain management, cannabis as substitution therapy for opioids, and also a safety study looking at cannabis edibles. Dr Sisley is also the Principal Investigator on a CSU project to build a robust nationwide medical cannabis patient registry.

Adjunct Prof John Skerritt FTSE FIPAA (Vic)

Adjunct Professor John Skerritt joined the Commonwealth Department of Health 2012 as a Deputy Secretary. Apart from being part of the executive team of the department he has specific responsibility for the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Office of Drug Control. He was formerly a Deputy Secretary in the Victorian Government, Deputy CEO of a Commonwealth Statutory Authority, Senior research manager at CSIRO and in industry and Chair of the Board of an international technical organisation. Prof Skerritt has extensive experience in medical, agricultural and environmental policy, as well as regulation, research management, technology application and commercialisation. In 2012 he was the world-wide winner of the Rotary International “Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award”. John is an Adjunct Full Professor at the Universities of Sydney, Queensland and Canberra, has a PhD from the University of Sydney, and is a graduate of the Senior Executive Programs of London Business School and of the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.

Dr Christabelle Yeoh

Dr Yeoh graduated from medicine at the University of London in 1999 and has obtained her membership with the Royal College of Physicians (UK). She has a Masters degree in Nutrition from King’s College London. After practicing hospital medicine, she worked as a physician in the field of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. She moved to Australia in 2012 and is now working as a medical practitioner at Invitation to Health, where nutritional medicine is integrated with preventive health care and general practice. She has a strong clinical interest in neurological, gastrointestinal and metabolic health. She is passionate about teaching on the interconnectedness of human metabolism, biology and behaviour.

Contributing Writers

A/Prof CG Li

A/Prof CG Li is a senior researcher at NICM, with a PhD from University of Melbourne and over 25 years’ experience in pharmacology and natural product research. His current research interests are in the areas of traditional and natural medicines with a particular focus on chemistry and the bioactivity of natural products and medicines, including health food supplements and safety of herbal medicines. His research has been supported by various grants from ARC, NHMRC, industry and charitable foundations. He published over 160 articles in peer reviewed journals.

Dr Teresa Nicoletti

Dr Teresa Nicoletti is a partner in, and head of, Mills Oakley’s Intellectual Property, Health and Life Sciences group. She is both a lawyer and PhD-qualified scientist with 25 years’ experience in the Health and Life Sciences sector in Australia. She has gained particular prominence in Australia as the leading lawyer in the regulation of medicinal cannabis (Federal and State), and has strongly advocated for better patient access to medicinal cannabis therapies. Teresa is a recognised leader in her field, winning the inaugural Lawyers Weekly 2016 award for Partner of the Year in Health and taking out the same award in 2017. She also holds a Band 1 ranking in the Life Sciences Category in Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018 and is featured in Best Lawyers 2019 for Life Sciences.

Dr James Siow MBBS, BCALM & BCAM(USA), BCCMT & FCMT(Netherlands), Ph.D (France)

Dr James Siow is an integrative general practitioner and clinical metal toxicologist. James is the Director of Clinical Toxicology and Parenteral Nutrition at the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne, Victoria. He is currently active in specific clinical, teaching and research areas as an academic board member of NIIM in his areas of special interest include clinical metal toxicology, preventative epigenetic and bionomic rejuvenation programs and pre-conception preparation for a healthy foundation for our next generation.