Hope’s desperate measure to relieve pain amid medicinal cannabis supply crunchPosted by On


Hope is a 41-year old, single mother of four. She’s also a diabetic with failing kidneys, chronic vomiting and pain, and last month, for the first time in her life, she smoked cannabis.

She bought two foils from a friend for $40 and now she follows a new evening ritual. After her youngest kids – aged 8 and 9 – are in bed, she takes her rolling papers and carefully closes the garage door. Then she sits outside and smokes.

It helps the pain, she says, which comes on strong in the evening hours. It helps suppress the nausea that otherwise haunts her, and if she’s lucky, it sometimes helps to stir her appetite.

The loose cannabis flower isn’t Hope’s first choice (she asked to have her surname withheld because it’s still an illegal drug). She’d prefer to take the cannabidiol drops, which are not psychoactive, and which her GP prescribed for her over three weeks ago. But no medicinal cannabis products are subsidised by Pharmac, and there’s no way her Supported Living Payment from Work and Income will stretch to cover the $464 that prescription will cost to fill.

Hope's desperate measure would end once a legal and broadened medicinal cannabis regime comes into effect. Photo / 123RF
Hope’s desperate measure would end once a legal and broadened medicinal cannabis regime comes into effect. Photo / 123RF

Hope applied to Work and Income to cover the cost separately. But she said that application was recently declined, despite supporting letters from her GP, dietician, and the social worker on the dialysis…

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Hope is a 41-year old, single mother of four. She’s also a diabetic with failing kidneys, chronic vomiting and pain, and last month, for the first time in her life, she smoked cannabis.

She bought two foils from a friend for $40 and now she follows a new evening ritual. After her youngest kids – aged 8 and 9 – are in bed, she takes her rolling papers and carefully closes the garage door. Then she sits outside and smokes.

It helps the pain, she says, which comes on strong in the evening hours. It helps suppress the nausea that otherwise haunts her, and if she’s lucky, it sometimes helps to stir her appetite.

The loose cannabis flower isn’t Hope’s first choice (she asked to have her surname withheld because it’s still an illegal drug). She’d prefer to take the cannabidiol drops, which are not psychoactive, and which her GP prescribed for her over three weeks ago. But no medicinal cannabis products are subsidised by Pharmac, and there’s no way her Supported Living Payment from Work and Income will stretch to cover the $464 that prescription will cost to fill.

Hope's desperate measure would end once a legal and broadened medicinal cannabis regime comes into effect. Photo / 123RF
Hope’s desperate measure would end once a legal and broadened medicinal cannabis regime comes into effect. Photo / 123RF

Hope applied to Work and Income to cover the cost separately. But she said that application was recently declined, despite supporting letters from her GP, dietician, and the social worker on the dialysis…



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