The use of marijuana as medicine is a tough subject to broach. With proponents both for and against the use of cannabis as a medicine, the community is firmly divided.
People are so passionate about this topic. But why?
It makes complete sense for family and friends of the terminally ill to utilise marijuana in order to ease the pain of their loved ones.
In the case of the average Joe though, it’s a lot more complex. Are many of us genuinely willing to fight for the lives of strangers? Are we truly becoming a utopian society, putting our necks on the line for strangers? Or is there something a little darker at work?
It appears there is only one group who is genuinely halting the use of medicinal marijuana, and it’s not our politicians. It’s the abusers, the so-called “pot heads” who are spoiling it for everyone.
In the wrong hands, medical treatments are open to abuse. But when legalising marijuana, the authorities were attempting to help the abusers, in order to stop them from wreaking havoc on their own lives.
For the terminally ill, and their families, the rules should change. If there is even a shot at hope for a future, shouldn’t this population have a shot at accessing medicinal marijuana?
Dan Haslam, 24, from Tamworth has recently championed the cause for legalising marijuana for the terminally ill.
Following his marriage, Dan was diagnosed with bowel cancer and began intensive treatment, including surgery, to remove parts of his bowel.
A year into his treatment, Dan was advised there were more than 40 tumours in his liver and that his cancer was inoperable.
Continuing with chemotherapy, Dan is using marijuana to manage his nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, and has also started using cannabis oil in an attempt to halt his disease progression.
Ironically, Dan’s father, Lou is a former drug squad detective responsible for busting many growers and suppliers of cannabis throughout NSW’s northwest to the QLD border.
Now championing the cause for his son, Lou spoke with Sunday Night reporter, Helen Kapolos, earlier this month, stating, “I have never felt like I am breaking the law… If I am trying to save my son from the hell he goes through every fortnight, then it’s completely the right thing to do.”
Like Dan, there are many other terminally ill Australians and their families crying out for help, for which medical marijuana may be a potential solution.
NSW Health Minister, the Hon. Jillian Skinner MP, has been particularly vocal in her opposition to the controversial treatment. Although, recently, she has changed her tune, citing her support for a trial of home-grown pot.
“I am advised there is a proposal seeking approval to extract the non-hallucinogenic component from cannabis grown in Tasmania with a view of clinical trials to prove its safety and effectiveness.
“I support this approach,” she said.
Ms Skinner isn’t the only politician or expert who has voiced their support for the potential inclusion of marijuana as a treatment for the terminally ill, with
NSW Premier, the Hon. Mike Baird MP has also lent his voice to the debate, recently stating he may consider supporting a Private Member’s Bill to decriminalise the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
University of Sydney Emeritus Professor of Anaesthesia, Laurence Mather, has cited overwhelming evidence of the benefits of using medicinal cannabis from an analgesic perspective as well as morphine, with one treatment available to patients, while the other is not.
For now, the debate continues.