Kevin Hague – Greens on cannabis

Duncan Garner looked at the cannabis issue and interviewed Green spokesperson Kevin Hague and Labour leader Andrew Little about their views on cannabis on RadioLive.

Kevin Hague: “What we’re trying to achieve is that to ensure that drug use causes as little harm as it possibly can.”

“One is around medicinal cannabis, and it’s very clear that a very large majority of New Zealanders support better access to medicinal cannabis ”

“Our policy says that there should be no penalty for personal use or cultivation up to a certain point.”

SHOULD WE LEGALISE CANNABIS? GREENS AND LABOUR SAY LET’S THINK ABOUT IT

Another US state has legalised cannabis so Duncan Garner asked his listeners if it’s time we did the same in New Zealand and got a resounding “yes”.

More than 1000 people voted in his poll, with, at the time of writing, 86% of people saying New Zealand should follow the likes of Colorado, Uruguay, the Netherlands and North Korea and legalise cannabis.

Transcript of the Kevin Hague interview.

Garner: So where do the Greens stand on this? And will we see some kind of public debate? Or is it simply too hard for our politicians given what America’s doing. Is it time we caught with this or do we just watch and follow, Who knows.

Kevin Hague is the Green drugs policy spokesperson. What are your views in what’s happening in America?

Hague: Oh look I think it’s a very interesting thing, because what we are seeing I guess particularly from Colorado where we’ve probably got the best information so far and probably the longest history so far…

…is that the kinda dire predictions about increased use and increased harm haven’t come about. That actually evidence is pretty strong that there’s actually if anything been reduced harm, and as you mentioned in your intro actually there’s a bit of a dilemma for Colorado legislators, what are they going to do with all the money that’s come in.

Garner: Well the answer to that question could be that it goes into the health system, or it goes into the education system.

Hague: Yes precisely.   What we’ve been calling for is a rational approach to drugs in general and I guess cannabis in particular, where we look at what is it that we’re trying to achieve.

What we’re trying to achieve is that to ensure that drug use causes as little harm as it possibly can.

Garner: So do you think Kevin, if I can take you right back to the start. Do you think we need to change the law here?

Hague: Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve been standing for this for a long time because it’s very clear that the current law is not achieving that goal.

The current law is I mean if you just take the simple fact that most New Zealanders have used cannabis. Well clearly the law as it stands is not reducing demand, and in fact is putting a lot of people in harms way because if New Zealanders are needing to go to you know gangs for example to get their supply well those gangs aren’t concerned with quality or ensuring that under age people don’t get access.

Or ensuring that people who need treatment for example are actually referred. Those are all things that we could do if we changed the law. As well as the medicinal aspects.

Garner: Right, so what would you do with the law? if you were able to draft something and start lobbying around Parliament and get 61 votes, what would a law look like for you?

Hague: Well I guess there’s two different arenas.

One is around medicinal cannabis, and it’s very clear that a very large majority of New Zealanders support better access to medicinal cannabis and you’ll know that we put a bill to Parliament in 2009 and got 34 votes out of 120.

Things have changed over the last five or six years. Apart from the Government.

But the step forward we need to make in that area, more generally our policy says that there should be no penalty for personal use or cultivation up to a certain point.

Garner: Would you decriminalise rather than legalise?

Hague: Our policy is kind of doesn’t use either of those words, and we’re currently actually in light of the experience in the United States and Portugal and other jurisdictions we are looking at overhauling our own policy.

To be completed later.

Andrew Little – cautious on cannabis

Duncan Garner looked at the cannabis issue and interviewed Green spokesperson Kevin Hague and Labour leader Andrew Little about their views on cannabis on RadioLive.

Andrew Little – “So my approach is proceed with caution”.

There’s likely to be as much political caution as caution over cannabis. But if encouraged Little should at least join the debate and not sweep it under the carpet as most parties and politicians have kept doing up until now.

SHOULD WE LEGALISE CANNABIS? GREENS AND LABOUR SAY LET’S THINK ABOUT IT

Another US state has legalised cannabis so Duncan Garner asked his listeners if it’s time we did the same in New Zealand and got a resounding “yes”.

More than 1000 people voted in his poll, with, at the time of writing, 86% of people saying New Zealand should follow the likes of Colorado, Uruguay, the Netherlands and North Korea and legalise cannabis.

Transcript of the Andrew Little interview.

Garner: We’ve had this debate this afternoon around the legalisation of cannabis, we’ve got a poll up and man it’s been phenomenal, 86% replied (saying cannabis should be legalised), 2000 votes. We’ve had Kevin Hague on, he says it is actually time for this debate to actually occur given what’s happening in America, around four different states either decriminalise or legalised.

What’s your position on decriminalising cannabis?

Little: Yeah up to now I think we’ve, my personal view is I’ve approached it very cautiously. I mean I, when I was a union lawyer I did a lot of cases of the drug and testing in workplaces and all that sort of stuff.

The studies I did of it, the thing that came out of it for me was that a lot of the cannabis in New Zealand, that’s grown in New Zealand has such a high THC level it’s actually different to cannabis sold in other countries, so that’s an area of danger.

But having said that I’d be keen to have a look and see what the experience has been of States like you know Washington and the other states that have adopted decriminalisation more recently and just see what the experience has been and see whether there is something we can learn from it.

I’d never say no to it but I’d say we’ve got to approach this with considerable caution.

It sounds like Little wants to approach it with considerable caution. A lot has already been learnt from overseas experience going back many years.

Garner: Right, considerable caution because it could be politically not viable, it might make you unpopular? Or because you believe in it’s worth having a debate?

Little: Oh no given that my honeymoon’s over, I’m used to the unpopularity…

Garner: Yes it is over, you don’t want a long honeymoon mate, you don’t want a long honeymoon…

Little: I’m more concerned about the public health and safety aspects of it and given the conditions here. That’s the issue for me.

There are already health and safety aspects as things are. And legal and social issues. But how we currently deal with it isn’t working very well.

I think since i was up at the Auckland University quad yesterday, part of the ? week, I talked to some of the young folks there and that issue came up.

Unprompted just raised that issue with me. So there’s clearly a discussion going on out there though and you know we need to be part of it.

The discussion has been going on for a long time.

Garner: When you discuss these things obviously you get those headlines out, ‘Little supports decriminalisation’, I mean is that a fair headline or not?

Little: (pause) no that would be an unfair headline at the moment because I, I’m not, I don’t, I know there is an issue there. I’d like to look more closely at it. I’d like to  look at the experience of the American states that have decriminalised.

But I draw on my own personal experience and the research I’ve done when I was a union lawyer, to say there is an issue here that is not as easy just to say let’s decriminalise, let’s open it up.

So my approach is proceed with caution.

Garner: Proceed with caution but at least start to look at what’s happening in America.

Little: Have a look, and lets have the debate. Ah and lets get some facts, lets shine some facts on the issue. Lets not just react emotionally but lets have the debate, get the facts and proceed with caution.

There’s a lot of facts known already. It’s the debate that’s been lacking, assiduously avoided by politicians.

Little is being ultra cautious here.

To be fair to him it’s early in his time as leader and he will need to work through it within Labour. At least that’s what he should be doing.

I know there’s a will in (part of) Labour caucus to address the cannabis issue. And there’s likely to be strong support in the Labour constituency to address the issue. And in the wider population.

Little needs to be encouraged and if necessary pressured to pick up the cannabis ball and run with it. Serious political debate on it is long overdue.

Duncan Garner on cannabis

Duncan Garner looked at the cannabis issue and interviewed Green spokesperson Kevin Hague and Labour leader Andrew Little about their views on cannabis on RadioLive.

SHOULD WE LEGALISE CANNABIS? GREENS AND LABOUR SAY LET’S THINK ABOUT IT

Another US state has legalised cannabis so Duncan Garner asked his listeners if it’s time we did the same in New Zealand and got a resounding “yes”.

More than 1000 people voted in his poll, with, at the time of writing, 86% of people saying New Zealand should follow the likes of Colorado, Uruguay, the Netherlands and North Korea and legalise cannabis.

Green Party drugs policy spokesperson Kevin Hague said evidence shows legalisation leads to reduced harm from cannabis.

“We need to go to legalisation with regulation, which is pretty much the approach we take with alcohol, which is New Zealand’s most popular drug,” Hague said

Labour Party leader Andrew Little said New Zealand should see what the experience is in US states where cannabis has been legalised but “proceed with caution”.

Intro transcript:

Garner: Talking of reaction we put this poll up yesterday around should we legalise decriminalise cannabis or do nothing about it, leave it as it is?

The reason, the reason why we asked the question is simple, because four  American states, and Washington DC, have made all these moves around legalising cannabis to a point to me in some areas where it looks like they’re trying to create a market for it so they can tax it.

The reason should be that things are unfair and not working in New Zealand regarding cannabis laws, especially on the restrictions on medical use.

Columbia I think is a market that will see about sixty million dollars of tax revenue come in over the next twelve months.

I thought DC had first legalised medical marijuana, and then just made personal possession and growing legal and weren’t establishing a market, but I could be wrong.

So is there any political will here for change? I know politicians here get very nervous about this debate because it could lead to electoral oblivion.

I remember Don Brash put his head up didn’t he when he was the new Act leader, he said ‘oh we should decriminalise cannabis’. I’m not really sure that Don Brash was thinking that, although if he’s a classic liberal perhaps that is how classic liberals think.

Brash (and ACT) had far bigger hurdles than his views on cannabis to overcome, which he failed to overcome.

So where do the Greens stand on this? And will we see some kind of public debate, or is it simply too hard for our politicians, given what America’s doing is it time we caught up with this or do we just watch and follow?

But there’s been no sign of our politicians following. Most just duck for cover and try to ignore it, but cannabis won’t go away, and neither will the problems associated with it’s prohibition.

I’ll transcribe the Hague and Little interviews as I get tome (hopefully by tonight)

Cannabis considerations

Commenter Paul468 posted this, it’s worth it’s own post.

We should definitely consider it. Some bullet points (excuse the pun)

1 Great opportunity for selecting Northland and East Coast as “certified” growing areas bringing employment and economic growth to two needy areas

2 Revenue for the government while reducing benefit costs in two of our very needy areas as they will have more work and economic activity. thats a win-win

3 Benefits around medical uses. I would enjoy help with control of my arthritis but would not want the high – so i could still work etc

4 It’s gotta be better than party pills and synthetic cannabis. In fact I doubt synthetic cannabis or alcohol or tobacco would pass the synthetic cannabis test easier than real cannabis would. I can see legal challenges looming on that onne.

5 It would free up police resources as well as courts etc

6 This will be an election winner. There will be staunch national supporters, myself included that would vote for another major party like labour on a single policy item such as this. That party would get the missing million, the youtth vote, the student vote and a lot of others wanting a one time vote to help make a change. It’s an election winner.

7 We need to push for this now so 2017 is the year for change.

Anyone else think point number 6 is right. Would you change for a single policy for just one election

Public, Greens and Labour favour action on cannabis law

Duncan Garner has been asking his listeners and Kevin Hague and Andrew Little about addressing cannabis law.

Should we legalise cannabis? Greens and Labour say let’s think about it

We should do more than think about it, we should be doing something about it.

More than 1000 people voted in his poll, with, at the time of writing, 86% of people saying New Zealand should follow the likes of Colorado, Uruguay, the Netherlands and North Korea and legalise cannabis.

Majority public support (albeit an self selecting online poll).

Green Party drugs policy spokesperson Kevin Hague said evidence shows legalisation leads to reduced harm from cannabis.

“We need to go to legalisation with regulation, which is pretty much the approach we take with alcohol, which is New Zealand’s most popular drug,” Hague said.

And…

Labour Party leader Andrew Little said New Zealand should see what the experience is in US states where cannabis has been legalised but “proceed with caution”.

There’s increasing change to loosening cannabis laws around the world, it’s past time we should look at similar here.

RadioLive interviews with Hague and Little at the link, Should we legalise cannabis? Greens and Labour say let’s think about it.

Follow https://twitter.com/nzdrug

Cannabis agnostic

I’m a cannabis agnostic (thanks for the term Abe).

Fortunately I have no need for medical marijuana products.

I’ve never been inclined to use cannabis recreationally. It simply hasn’t attracted me despite being readily available (friends including a flatmate have been users).

So I have no interest in cannabis for my own use. But two things concern me.

First and foremost, it seems unconscionable that there are such severe restrictions on the use of medical marijuana in New Zealand. I don’t think there’s any doubt that people would benefit, some significantly, from being able to utilise a fairly natural and apparently effective remedy through pain relief and other specific uses.

Second, prohibition isn’t working. New Zealand has one of the highest per capita rates of cannabis use in the world.

But while getting pissed out of your brain is allowed (and promoted by many), and the effects of alcohol abuse are insidious and enormous in our society, being caught having a puff of pot could result in a conviction. That seems awfully out of whack.

And keeping cannabis underground nurtures and normalises an extensive criminal network.

I don’t care about cannabis as a plant or a product for myself.

But I care about the significant adverse affects on health treatment and on our society with our current legal stance on cannabis.

And the lack of a will to address any of this in Parliament concerns me greatly. I’m very disappointed with our politicians who refuse to even seriously consider doing something about it. They are failing society.

This must change.

I may be cannabis agnostic on a user level but am an activist on a society level.

Marijuana now legal in Washington DC

The spreading legalisation of marijuana in the US continues with Washington DC now included.

Stuff reports Marijuana legalised in Washington DC.

Marijuana is now effectively legal in the nation’s capital even though Congress tried to stop it.

District of Columbia residents who are at least 21 years old are free to grow as many as six plants and possess as much as 2 ounces, as a measure approved by voters in November took effect on Thursday. It’s still illegal to sell the drug or smoke it in public.

Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, allowed legalisation to begin over the opposition of federal lawmakers, who have constitutional sway over the city.

In December, Congress attached a provision to the US budget that blocked the city from spending money to implement the measure. District officials said it doesn’t apply because the initiative was enacted before the budget. The police chief and head prosecutor agree.

“The residents of the District of Columbia spoke loud and clear,” Bowser told reporters on Wednesday. “We believe that we’re acting lawfully.”

Approved by voters, enabled by local government despite opposition at Federal level.

There’s no such options in New Zealand where addressing cannabis is stifled by the National led Government.

The decision thrust the city into the expanding nationwide push against marijuana prohibition. Alaska on Tuesday became the third state to legalise marijuana after Colorado and Washington. Oregon is to follow in July, when a ballot measure takes effect.

New Zealand looks like being a very slow follower of a world wide trend to allow some legal use of cannabis. New Zealand is already one of the highest per capita users via illegal growing and selling.

National’s Stance, another Rebuttal on Medicinal Cannabis

Below is the templated response that my friendly local National Party MP  sends to the constituents with regards to Medical Cannabis in NZ, the first mistake of the National Party is to not separate Medical Cannabis from  more broad issue of Cannabis Law reform, which doesn’t seem a hard concept to understand considering Australia  has made that breakthrough with the Greens, Labor, Liberal, Nationals and Democratic Liberal parties, as well as their Prime Minister all being in support of a bill going before parliament..

So anyway here is the MPs response letter

Thank you for contacting me regarding cannabis legislation in New Zealand.
This Government has no plans to change the legal status of cannabis.
We do not think that there are any benefits for decriminalising or legalising cannabis, for medicinal purposes or otherwise,
which outweigh the harm it causes to society.
I have seen too much harm caused by this drug to have any tolerance for its broad decriminalisation.
Government policy over successive governments has been to not support the decriminalisation of cannabis for medicinal use.
In terms of medical use, such as for pain relief, there are already pharmaceutical forms of cannabis that provide measured doses and quality control.

Since 2008, a mouth spray called Sativex, which contains extracts from cannabis,
has been able to be prescribed by medical professionals.
It is used by multiple sclerosis patients and those with chronic pain, and it use requires ministerial approval (delegated to the Ministry of Health).

The Government’s position has always been, and will always be; NOT using any psychoactive substances is
the safest and best option for any individual, whether they are synthetic or natural. This Government has passed
legislation removing from sale all remaining so-called ‘legal highs’ until they can be reasonably proven to be low-risk.

Yours sincerely

 

I would like to post a public Rebuttal to this templated response from my Local MP on the case for Medical Cannabis,
The first point Minister, in what capacity have seen “too much harm” caused by cannabis? In poverty stricken families? people on benefits? in the mental health system?  what is your professional area of expertise again?

Causation is not correlation Minister, I have first hand experience of substance abuse, My biological Father had problems with Cannabis and Alcohol, I can assure you it was not Cannabis that provoked the domestic violence in my childhood home, including an assault on my Mother while pregnant with my younger brother.

“In terms of medical use, such as for pain relief, there are already pharmaceutical forms of cannabis that provide measured doses and quality control”

Sativex is simply not good enough, it is neither ideal nor cost effective. For Pain relief it is off label and nigh on impossible to get due to the lack of doctors familiar with it, and it is also apparent that there is a disproportionate amount of Specialists from overseas who prescribe Sativex, using it  as a place holder for Raw Cannabis that they do have experience of but can not prescribe in NZ, suggesting a lack of education in the NZ Medical community on the subject of Cannabinoid “receptors” or therapeutic targets.

It also less than optimal in costs, Methadone, a Class B opiate costs less than 19 cents for a 5mg tablet, for one patient with Complex Regional pain syndrome the cost of Sativex was estimated at 30 dollars PER DAY. Also you point out the virtues of measured doses, Unfortunately, we are stuck with one ratio of 1:1 THC:CBD  for the 2 primary ingredients of Cannabis that are contained in Sativex.

Paige Gallien, a child with intractable and disabling epilepsy, and also the only child in NZ to try Sativex has had good results so far in significantly reducing the occurrence and severity of her seizures.  She has, on the balance of probabilities, the ability to be “functionally cured” or virtually seizure free, if she was able to ingest more Cannabidiol (CBD).
Unfortunately, to escalate her dose of CBD, the main drug attributed to relief from epilepsy, would go hand in hand with an escalated dose of THC, which is the drug that causes the high, and is much more likely to have detrimental effects.

Epidiolex is on the horizon and is a high CBD extract from the makers of Sativex, but it is likely to have a similar cost to Sativex, of 10-30k per year.  This young girl has room for improvement, if not total remission with a more concentrated CBD product. The most cost effective method of doing this, is to grow it, specifically a “clone” or cutting from a plant with a known CBD:THC ratio, such as the headline grabbing strain Hippies Disappointment” AKA “charlottes web” although there are other varieties too.

I would also point out that for chronic pain. a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio is not ideal either, A journal reference Hyperalgesia: New Insights for the Healthcare Professional: 2013 Edition, states that the ideal ratio is 24:1 CBD to THC. Which is in the realm of such Medical Cannabis strains as “Hippies Disappointment” AKA “Charlottes web”

Because of the huge differences in effect for high CBD strains, none of which are available in NZ, we could also suggest your witnessing of “harm”  caused by this drug is invalid, the name “hippies disappointment” should be a clue to its value for abuse.

I would also counter your governments position of not using Psychoactive substances is the safest option. I by no means regard Cannabis as a first line treatment for nausea or pain in lieu of Ondansetron or Codeine etc, although there are those on the far left fringe who do, but I would like to demonstrate the problems with your broad statement in the field chronic pain.
This is a list of the Psychoactive substances prescribed for a close family member so far following a back injury with unreasonable delays to treatment imposed by ACC.

  • Codeine
  • Tramadol
  • Morhpine
  • Oxynorm
  • Oxycontin
  • Pethidiene
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Temazapam
  • Diazepam, including suppository….
  • Clonozapam
  • Lorazepam
  • Quetiapine
  • Gabapentin
  • Ketamine
  • Baclofen
  • Amytryptelene
  • Nortryptylene
  • Venlafaxine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Citalopram
  • Escitalopram
  • Pregabalin, – To be tried in the new year.

Minister, do you really believe that raw Cannabis,  a Class C drug is too harmful or dangerous to be used in a medical setting?   on what grounds is Fentanyl, or Clonozapam  safer?  Do I have to count the Class B drugs administered so far?  Are you aware of the cognitive deficits caused by regular medications for chronic pain?

I urge you to reconsider your stance.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, another case for Medicinal Cannabis

This week’s story is from someone I know personally, who has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, widely regarded as the worst pain disorder in existence,  the only thing worse is when the disease progresses, and the R for regional no longer applies,  in advanced stages even the senses are rewired to pain, so loud noises bright lights etc also trigger this cascade effect.  It can also trigger bowel and other organ issues etc in advanced stages which can come across as chemical sensitivities.

Below is a chart of comparison pain levels, the pain vs child birth can be confirmed by those who develop the condition later in life, just as my wife can confirm that Flare ups of her back pain easily surpass the pain of her child birth. CRPS if picked up early can be reversed with intensive management, however once it has progressed to a certain point, there is no cure, and it normally it will gradually deteriorate.  This condition is a poster child for both compassionate use of Medicinal Cannabis, but also Euthanasia, as there are many with advanced CRPS who seriously consider suicide, if not act upon it.

painscale

What is Medical Marijuana to me. Its being able to have a better quality of life – to function – to laugh – to enjoy the small things in life & medical marijuana helps me achieve that. I have lived (survived) 15yrs with CRPS Complex Regional Pain Syndrome the highest rated pain condition above unmedicated labour even amputation of a digit. An accident / injury / surgery caused a switch in my nervous system causing inflammation.

What does that mean. Everything that my nervous system controls touch, sound, vibration, sight, hormones, stress, any normal stimuli that is harmless has now become so sensitive its harmful. It also controls, hair growth, skin colouration, blood flow, heart rate, swelling. The pain of course also affects sleep which then affects mood control & coping skills.

I have been on every mediation thrown at me, making me feel like a lab rat as I suffer side effect after side effect. I also tried every alternative help that I could find, but the only thing Iv found to help is medical marijuana. Before I became chronically ill I did not approve of marijuana & looked down on those that used, until I was in so much pain begging for death, as I felt I tried everything else to help end the pain. The relief was instant, their was light at the end of the tunnel. One should not be made to feel a criminal for seeking a better quality of life.

Yes it is still a drug & will not be for all but its made a world of difference for me, it helps by blocking, distracting the pain receptors in the spinal cord helping reduce, distract from the pain, but thats not all, it can also be used as a sleep aid, an anti depressant, help stop reduce muscle spasm & tension, & most of all that horrid nausea, your’ll be able to eat again, though that is also a side effect so watch what you eat & how much.

For me this medical plant has helped me so much I no longer need any prescription drugs which crps has made me chemically sensitive too causing horrid side effects on top of the many evil things crps does. More education is needed & give help to those suffering, included in the education is that New Zealand can still be smoke free, New Yorks Medical Marijuana laws have shown us the way.  The education should include different applications of the medicine to get the best help from symptoms, vape, butter, oil,  and creams, all still help without the need to smoke, this is why we need education.

We are not pot heads, we are people where there is no cure. and the medical system is failing us, and will continue to fail us for the forseeable future.

We demand the right for a better quality of life, and a mere class C Drug helps in so many ways.

Medicinal Cannabis and the return to work.

Of a particular frustration to the chronic pain community, is those that are able to return to part time work, but have so many flare ups and days off sick that they are not able to work to a schedule, and unreliable workers in that sense.  This is a personal issue I have with the ACC system, as most employers balk at the idea of an employee who can’t reliably manage a few short shifts per week, as there is no guarantee when the flare ups of the pain will occur. Below is a story by another sufferer of a chronic pain syndrome, that evolved from an excruciating event with a kidney stone. In this patients case  moderated Cannabis use has saved the Govt thousands in hospital admissions, another few hundred in prescriptions, and with the patient actively trying to return to the workforce thanks to the relief obtained with Cannabis, one would anticipate a 5 figures  per year or so saving  in sickness benefits would be paid out in future.

The night before my 20th birthday I was watching TV and I started getting what I thought were period pains. They kept on getting worse and worse until I rang Healthline and told them what was happening. They told me to go into A&E and there I was told I had a kidney stone.

That passed on its own no problems, then a few months later I had the pain again, went in and they said the same thing it’s a stone, don’t stress you’ll be sweet as, here have some more morphine.

The pain started coming more and more often until I was going into A&E a couple of times a month with pain that was out of control in my lower left abdomen.

Eventually I was diagnosed with a Chronic Pain Syndrome, a neurological condition where my wiring in my nerves send out pain signals for no reason. My GP referred me to Burwood Pain Clinic and there I saw Dr Alchin and the pain team. There I was put on gabapentin in combination with an anti-depressant called Venlafaxine. Apparently these 2 drugs work well together when it comes to relieving chronic pain. I also was referred to a psychiatrist and physiotherapist.

Nothing worked and the side effects of the venlafaxine were making me SO unwell. I was also prescribed Morphine, Tramadol, Codiene, pretty much every painkiller they have which all help the pain slightly for a little bit of time but cause horrible side effects like nausea, vomiting, BAD temper, bad dreams, bad memory, dizziness, stopping in the middle of a conversation and forgetting what we were talking about, leaving stuff behind ALL the time and a whole lot of other crap.

Then after awhile they said there wasn’t any more they could do and that I was just going to have to do my best to live with it.

Before all this started I was working as a nanny in Auckland and I had to quit as I was so unreliable, I had no idea when the pain would hit and when it did all I could do is ring 111 and ask for an ambulance. I tried working part time in a supermarket deli, was fired from that too because I was 2 unreliable and took 2 much time off sick.

For 3 years since my 20th I had been going to A&E about 2-3 times a month with very strong 10/10 uncontrollable pain. More than a few times I was told GO HOME YOU’RE NOTHING BUT A DRUG SEEKER. This is one of the worst things I think, as the pain was neurological, there was no other symptoms other than pain and raised pulse/BP, so they couldn’t find a source for the pain so obviously I was faking it for attention/to get opiates. When you are in that much pain and you get told you’re faking it, you do not usually react very well, your reaction is noted in your records and the next time you go to A&E in pain the exact same thing will happen.

I started reading up on a support group for people with chronic pain which is mostly based in the US and Canada. The people on the page had such amazing stories about how MMJ helped them with their chronic pain and I had to try it.

I researched methods of using it, as I was in this for the long haul, I didn’t want to smoke it and ruin my lungs.  I discovered many people were using vaporizers, the good ones have been tested and found to remove 90-95% of the extra crap that ends up in the lungs. Basically they work just be applying heat without flame to the material, and the active ingredients boil off and are inhaled, without burning the material. I have a portable one that allows me to discreetly get pain relief while out and about, allowing me to get more active without fear of being disabled by my pain while in the middle of town.

I started as soon as I could find some and I noticed my whole body relaxing as I was “vaping” it. My pain which was sitting at about 6/10 at the time went away almost completely.  I thought “nah surely it wouldn’t work that fast” but it really did.

After around 2 months, one day I realized OMG I haven’t been in a&e this month!! And I didn’t go back in for about 6 months. I was amazed and I’ve never looked back.

I’m turning 26 in March and I’ve been vaping regularly for 2 years, I am about to start looking for part time work!  I haven’t been into A&E for (around about) the last 6 months with the pain and the gaps between flares are getting bigger and bigger.

I personally don’t think it’s fair that someone who doesn’t even know me, has the authority to tell me “you can’t smoke that its illegal/bad for you” when it’s the only thing keeping me going!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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