A few years ago, a 68-year-old Bunbury woman (who wished to remain anonymous) would have been terrified at the thought of consuming cannabis.
Now, she can’t imagine life without it.
A 68-year-old Bunbury woman is calling for the Australian government to legalise cannabis.Credit:AP/ NOAH BERGER
The woman, who was diagnosed with epilepsy 20 years ago, started using cannabis on a regular basis in 2014, after watching a documentary on television about the positive effects of cannabis in children with epilepsy.
She had managed to keep seizures under control for most of her life, but after a four-year struggle with unsually severe seizures, depression and suicidal thoughts the documentary was the last push she needed to take the leap.
"For four years I didn’t live a life at all," she said.
"I lived in a black hole. At that time I would have tried anything."
Since embracing the plant-based drug, which she consumes between three and four times a month, the woman said she hadn't had any serious seizures, signs of depression or regrets.
Instead, she is living "a life of pure happiness".
"[Cannabis] completely turned my life around," she said.
"I had to learn all over again what happiness was."
Now, five years after trying it for the first time, the woman wants to spread the word about its life-changing benefits.
"All I want is to help people that are seriously ill," she said.
"People are crying for help.
"I want to help the world appreciate what they are being denied access to."
The woman, who obtains her cannabis from the black market, said she would like legislation to change to allow Australians to own a cannabis plant for both recreational and medicinal use.
"It should go to a referendum like the [same-sex marriage vote]," she said.
Under current federal and state legislation, patients suffering from severe health conditions, including epilepsy, can legally access prescription-based medicinal cannabis.
The drugs are not smoked, but rather come in oil and spray forms.
Gaining access to the medication, however, can take up to several months.
It requires patients to get a prescription issued by a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Western Australia Department of Health authorised doctor and, since the drugs are not included within the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) they can come with a significant pricetag.
Dr Joe Kosterich, a medical advisor for Little Green Pharma, said doctors had filed 4200 applications for medicinal cannabis prescriptions by February this year.
This represented a significant increase compared to September last year, when just 1500 applications had been lodged.
Dr Kosterich said consuming cannabis purchased on the black market was unpredictable, illegal, and not necessarily cheaper than accessing the drug through legal channels.
He admitted the process behind accessing medicinal cannabis through medical practitioners had room for improvement, but he said significant advances had been made to streamline the application process.
Originally published here: https://www.smh.com.au/national/western-australia/how-black-market-drugs-gave-this-68-year-old-bunbury-woman-pure-happiness-20190327-p5188b.html