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.

Dr Peter Silberberg, Chair NCPHN’s Northern Clinical Council

Dr Peter Silberberg, a GP at Jullums Aboriginal Medical Service in Lismore and Chair of NCPHN’s Northern Clinical Council, has signed up to trial the Orion Shared Care tool to enhance communication between teams of health care professionals. And he recommends other GPs take a look at it.

The Orion Shared Care Tool is a collaboration between the Northern NSW Local Health District, North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN) and NSW Health’s eHealth. It is a shared care planning tool for patients with complex and chronic needs. It allows the GP and other team members to create and update a living care plan.

It lets care team members add other information about the patient and makes it easier to securely share information between care team members. The tool integrates with Medical Director and Best Practice for GPs. Other clinicians access it via a web portal.

At an Aboriginal advisory committee meeting to the Lismore Regional Gallery some years ago advice was given on the Northern Coast Primary Health Network’s (NCPHN’s) project called Art on Bundjalung Country which was aimed at linking art, health and wellbeing. This project has now been commissioned by the NCPHN to Arts Northern Rivers.

At the meeting a comment was made by one of the Aboriginal arts advisors that if we really wanted to take art and health seriously we should consider the health and wellbeing of those who are incarcerated. Little thought is given to the plight of this significant group of people in our community.

Our jails are bursting at the seams and there is a significant disproportion of Aboriginal people spending long periods of their lives in corrective services. Recidivism rates are high.

Dr Nathan Kesteven

Dear Readers,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2019 to all.

This brief report is to inform members about an this issue the the Board has been discussing for some time; the next step for the development of the NRGPN.

On 13th December 2018 at 6.00 pm we are holding a meeting at the Goonellabah Tavern to discuss the proposal to dissolve the Northern Rivers General Practice Network and launch Nordocs in its place.

Although relatively short this memoir by Rick Morton comes across as a number of books in one, mostly very moving and something of a wake-up call for those who would discriminate against rural dwellers, people of differing sexualities and those with mental health conditions.

The author, who rose from dirt poor Queensland roots to become a senior journalist with The Australian, fits all three categories and harbours understandable anger for many of his life experiences.