Lifelong epilepsy sufferer says medicinal cannabis would restore his independence
George Vass has suffered epilepsy since he was 7 and is now raising money and awareness for the condition through his bowls club. Photo: Brianne Makin GEORGE Vass was driving along the M5 when his first seizure in years took hold. He lost control, crashing into the car next to him, before being hit by two other cars, unable to avoid the accident. It was another step back in a life dogged by epilepsy. “When I hit that lady it nearly killed me ... and after that I had to stop driving again,” Mr Vass said. That was 18 years ago and the 73-year-old from Beverly Hills has struggled to maintain is diminishing independence ever since.
Health Minister Greg Hunt announced last week companies will now be permitted to apply to distribute cannabis oils and medications locally. So much so that he often considers taking medicinal cannabis, a solution he believes would allow him to get a driver’s licence again. “Obviously you’ve got to give it to people who need it first, the bad ones, and you go from there once they are better,” Mr Vass said. “For me it’ll get rid of the epilepsy and then I’d be independent and able to drive and do other things that would make me more independent. At the present moment because I still have mini seizures, I can’t get a licence.”
Many medicinal cannabis products remove THC, the chemical in cannabis that gives users a high. His comments come after federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced last week companies will now be permitted to apply to distribute cannabis oils and medications locally. Last year, federal Parliament passed laws to legalise medicinal cannabis use for patients with painful and chronic illnesses, including those with cancer, HIV, severe epilepsy, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis. Patients wanting access to the drug require a letter from their GP or an approved prescriber. Mr Vass, who developed epilepsy when he was 7, said awareness of the problems facing those with the condition was still low. On March 26, Purple Day, Mr Vass will raise money for Epilepsy Action Australia with a bowls day at the Lantern Club in Roselands from noon, followed by a barbecue. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/the-express/lifelong-epilepsy-sufferer-says-medicinal-cannabis-would-restore-his-independence/news-story/469cdc3a39d984888566d5d963ba4058