Marijuana ‘saved my life’

Life saver: Wayne* has been using cannabis oil illegally to treat skin cancer. The Harrington Park resident praised the government's decision in making the first steps to legalise the drug for medical use. Picture: Simon Bennett
Life saver: Wayne* has been using cannabis oil illegally to treat skin cancer. The Harrington Park resident praised the government's decision in making the first steps to legalise the drug for medical use. Picture: Simon Bennett

A Harrington Park father of six says the use of illegal cannabis oil saved his life.

Wayne (surname withheld at request) is almost cancer free after using the oil for more than a year.

Earlier this year the federal government approved legislation making medical cannabis more accessible to people suffering from serious illnesses.

The first bulk shipments of medicinal cannabis arrived in Australia from Canada earlier this month.

The plant can now be prescribed to people suffering from terminal or serious medical conditions including cancer, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or stiff person syndrome.

The drug comes in three strengths to suit different illnesses.

Wayne said the legalisation of medicinal marijuana was a big step in the right direction.

“The strain that has been approved is used is for pain relief so it can help people in need,” he said. “The strain I take is still not legal but I wouldn’t be here without it. The legislation should also include the strain I take.”

Wayne was first diagnosed with skin cancer but after six weeks of radical radiation therapy he was told the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver and lymph nodes.

“The doctors said if I had chemotherapy I would have about 12 months to live instead of six,” he said.

“I decided to stop all treatments and just enjoy the time I had left but my wife wasn’t ready to let that happen so she looked into medicinal cannabis.”

Wayne’s wife Joanne said she was “shattered” when they received the heart-breaking diagnosis.

“It was devastating,” she said. “When someone suggested [cannabis oil] to us I called them an idiot.

“After doing some more research we decided to try it and within 12 weeks the cancer in his lungs, liver and one of his lymph nodes was gone.

“We have a scan this week to see if the other one is clear as well.”

Macarthur MP Dr Mike Freelander said marijuana was not thought to be a cure for cancer as there was no proper evidence, but he said the drug was effective for symptom control.

“I think medicinal marijuana is a helpful form of pain relief to help people have a better quality of life,” he said. “They are very safe medications as there is very little risk of overdose.

“I think we need to look at more research and studies into its effectiveness for people with neurological disorders.”

Dr Freelander said the legalisation of the drug was a “good thing”. He said there were strict orders in place to ensure doctors were prescribing the drug to patients most in need.