In Pot Pursuit – Part 1
My. Name is Tanya black and I. Live with pain every day I. Take. A cocktail, of powerful, opioids like, oxycodone. I've. Been. Taking them for about, two. Years now they. Work sort, of but, I'm worried about what they're doing to my body long term and if, I'll get addicted. I want. To potentially safer, alternative, what we do know about cannabis. Is the. Chances, of overdose, and death are very, remote. Whereas. With with opioids, morphine. Paracetamol. Alcohol. All three of those with overdose, you have death, I've. Sort of been told by some people this you, are able to get medicinal, cannabis in New Zealand you know it's it's not funded I feel. Like this could be a solution but just trying, to find out how. I even get to try something. So, mu my doctor support me or, is my pursuit, of pot as, out of reach for people like me as, it's always been. Every, time I get in my car they started, this. So. Get these spasms anytime, like when, I'm driving. Anytime, the day several, times a day and. It's. Just really, annoying because, I can't predict it and they don't know what happens. It. Gets painful if they. Go. On and on for a while I mean it gets quite sore in my lower back. It's. More exhausting, than anything and just. Irritating. Tonya's. Spasms, result. From injury that, left her in a wheelchair ten, years ago. Okay. So this is me back, in the 90s, livin it up in London. Traveling. Around Europe working. Really hard and. Probably. Partying. Just as hard. And this is the Auckland building the, converted warehouse where I used to live. I, was. Just rushing home from work one day I, ran. To the top step, slipped. Out of my shoe fell. Backwards, onto the landing, broke. My back I. Was. Paralyzed, from the waist down. Life. In a wheelchair I've, kind of gotten used to and things really aren't too bad but. It's just this one thing that really affects my quality of life. To. Cope Tonya, takes a sleeping tab most, nights as well as, strong, opioids. I've. Been. Taking them for about two. Years now and I think that's, probably. What it's doing to my body is not good and I. Rely. On them because the spasm, gives, makes, my, lower back hurt and. So. Sometimes, I also take sleeping, tablets. If. It's really bad some tramadol as well off the pain. And. I. Just don't want to be on these kind of chemicals, all the time but. This year, Tonya, decided, she, wanted, to try medicinal. Cannabis as, an, alternative, she. Had no, idea, just, what a mission, that would be it's really frustrating because, I, can't, find. What. Forms, I'm supposed to fill out and all I can sort of find here it looks like that this is actually for the people prescribing.
Not For the actual. Patients. I think. The biggest problem with, medical, cannabis, is, that, people, see it as can. What continues to be an illegal, drug dr.. Rick Ackland is a pain, specialist. Based in Christchurch. After. Years of research and, weighing up drug relief for chronic pain sufferers. He's, concluded. That medical, cannabis should be, readily, available. The. Euphoric, effects, seen. A very negative, manner. Cannabis. Is complex. A very complex pharmacology. And. Has an effect on a wide number of organ. Systems but, in particular the, central nervous system. Sadly. We are in our avoid, over, cannabis the. New government, has certainly signaled, its, intention. To allow. Better, use of this product, from, a health basis. But. It seems, to me that if. You have a terminal condition you. Are able to access certain, cannabis. Products but. In my area where people have chronic disability. And. Particularly, significant. Pain symptoms. It. Is it remains illegal. For. Tonya job, one is an, appointment with. A GP. Dr.. Hancock is not Tonya's, regular, GP she, said to shop around and, there's, no guarantee, of a, prescription. I've. Been on these like quite strong painkillers. For, quite. A while now yes, of, years and well. Obviously I mean the painkillers, do work but not on the spasm when a huge that. Medical. Cannabis might, be something, that, could work like, a lot of things it's, really a sort, of though, we. Don't know how well it's gonna work for you until, you try it. I've looked up a little bit because I, like probably most, GPS, haven't. Looked. A lot into the area because it sort of seemed like not a lots happening in New Zealand so, far a lack, of knowledge the, stigma, around cannabis, and concerns. Over limited. Clinical trials. Are all, reasons. Cited, by doctors, for, a reluctance, to prescribe, I get. The sense the politicians. Are more positive than, the medical, practitioners. Cannabis. Is a complex, product, a, good metaphor would be to say it's like the wheel that those, skeptics, would say they, just look at the spokes and say, look it's not working, whereas, you've got to look at the room and the tire and they everything. That goes with the wheel to, make the overall. Of, fit and and, that's what cannabis is it's, the overall effect, of this, unique, plant. The. Primary, ingredient. In cannabis is. Tetrahydrocannabinol. Or. THC. THC. Is the psychoactive that. Gets you stoned. CBD. Or cannabidiol. Is non. Psychoactive. Gp's. Are limited in what they can prescribe still. Tonya. Wants to give it a try. There. Is one, approved. Cannabis based product, that can be medically, prescribed, called, Sativex. The. One approved, use as a multiple, sclerosis, and it has to be prescribed, by a specialist, which is in your brother just but. You would actually come. Under, the off-label. Uses, for, that and we, could start, the. Ministry. Of Health application for. The set of X on your behalf it's, just a matter of, form. Felling ascending. To the specialist, getting, the specialist to then pass on to the Ministry of Health get, their approval do, you have any idea what the cost is of something like that if I'm in Tiffany on it for a period, of time like, ballpark. Nine. Hundred to a thousand, a month maybe, a little less depending on dose, so, it's quite a large. Yes. The. Costs are prohibitive from, a prescription, point of view we've had sativex, available, UK. Product and, it's not funded, or hasn't been funded and. You're. Talking about a thousand, dollars a month property, for these people, so, it's. Out of reach for, people who need it for therapeutic purposes I. Think. Obviously the cost is something that's just, astronomical. You, know it's hundreds of dollars a week and it's. Not sustainable, I do. Feel excited because they just feel like I said like someone. Has. It's. Kind of like on my side and thinks it's not a crazy idea like. Yeah. They have someone that's going to like take it in hand and make, the applications, and it you, know in a month, or a couple of months I'll actually be able to I'll. Actually be able to try something, different. Tania. Will lead her application to, the Ministry, of Health to be supported. By her neurologist, she's. Unsure how. They'll react. Cannabis. Has been. Needlessly. Vilified. Since. 1937. When it was prohibited in, America, dr..
Graham Gill Branson, is an Auckland GP. An advocate. For medicinal, cannabis and an, addiction. Specialist. Because, of prohibition it's, been very difficult for, researchers. To study any, benefits, or harms, from cannabis, if. You look in the right place we've got 750. Pages of medical references. In the, handbook of cannabis, and, over. Here we've got the National, Academy, of Sciences. Which is, loaded. With medical. References, that, talk about, the. Degree. Of success by using cannabis products. Their. Research, suggests. Cannabis. Products, could be valuable in treating, anything, from heart disease and depression. To pain, and even, Alzheimer's so, I'm taking a a view, which is sort of there and you've, got the. Others, over here so were polarized, it's. Very similar to the arguments, we have on climate, change at the moment and, it's. Difficult for either side to have. An. Ability, to interpret, the data in a meaningful way. I'm. Saying Bartels I have a PhD in computer science from the University, of Waikato and I work in the area of wireless communications. I'm, Brenda bartels and I have a master's, degree in biology and, I'm an ecologist, this. Is Naomi. Our. Newest, addition. And. This is Anja L middle, child and, we. Have a baby. And Haven. Yeah. Oldest daughter Leah. Anya. Has a rare form of epilepsy with. A very poor prognosis. She's, floppy and can't feed orally, she's, fed by stomach tube and she, suffers. Uncontrollable. Seizures. When. Annie has seizures she, stops breathing, so she'll turn quite blue and stop breathing for about 30, seconds, and, then she starts shaking I. Was. Devastating. When it first started unfortunately, you do get. Somewhat used to it. It's. It is always stressful. And. You. Just have to if. You, can pick. Her up and, give. Her a cuddle make sure she can dribble because she's can't. Control her secretions, and things incredibly. Both, Anya and her older sister Leah were born with the same condition, the odds were, 1 in, a million so, she was on this awful. Cocktail, of no.8, drugs, I mean, none of them we're doing anything and they, were like we could introduce another, one and yeah. Being an ecologist I like everything to be really natural so giving. My baby a cocktail, of drugs was, plea, awful, there's got some medications, in the fridge here we've. Got liver Teressa 10 which is an anticonvulsant, we've. Got I met Brazil in domperidone which are four on your stomach, for helping with stomach, function now. We've got Pedialyte, which is like. Powerade. Which is for we know Nia's having, trouble tolerating, her milk and, then we have some medications, pre drawn up.
We, Have some more, we. Have an arrangement of syringes, I've, got bigger veteran which is another anticonvulsant. I've got drainage, bags. We've. Got midazolam. Which, is our emergency medication, which puts on you to sleep if she's having seizures. Gabapentin. For. Stomach pain. Lorazepam. Which, is how we get only to sleep at night otherwise she just kidnapped and. The, name of the usual sort of him old. Cocks. Or. It's. Not a lot of drugs to go into a little bloody a lot, of drugs but. Yet nowhere near as many as what her big sister labels on Leah. Passed away at two and a half Anya. Is now, four years old and her parents are determined. That her little, body will not be treated, in the same way, as her, sister when. It first came on the radar, probably. Around 2013. There. Was children. In America, there. Had. Been started on medicinal cannabis. Oils. And just that the changes, that were seen them as children just. Gave us hope. We. Can get the. Oil which, is a hundred percent CBD, and I think it's about $600. For a bottle and, at the starting, dose by Anya that should last us maybe three months but. If we have to increase that dose then, we're, probably looking at more like a bottle of month, someone. Needs to be at iron it all the time one of us so, we can't both go back to work and, now it's quite difficult managing, both children so say I'm still and working part-time so, we don't even have one wage now, yeah. -. Cannabis, based pharmaceutical. Grade products, are available. In New Zealand for. The terminally, ill or those. With specific conditions, like, multiple sclerosis. What, we've got here is a tour a, 100. Milligrams, per mil it's an, extract, from the cannabis plants, it's made in Canada, and it's, imported, into New Zealand, it's an oil, so. It's an oral drop. And it's. Often taken 2 3 4 times a day. So. The sativex pray is from GW. Pharma, in the, UK, it comes. As a, pack for about a thousand, dollars. Well. In the last five months I've seen about a hundred and twenty people and written, them CBD, prescriptions. Most, of the people who, come to see me have pain. People. Like, Tonya remember. Her legs are paralyzed. She can't move them they shoot, out like this on their own and these. Spasms, caused. Her pain, so. These people have been tried on very. Strong medication. And in many cases the medication, has given them side effects, that have been intolerable. What. I've found since, putting them on the CBD, about. 45 percent of them are reporting, excellent. Or very good, effects, from the CBD. In. Auckland. Doctor, Who Hannah Hickey, has been readmitted. To, Middlemore, hospital with, acute pain of. Having a flare-up they think of my Emmys so I actually ended up with my, leg burning, and becoming. Paralyzed on the right side I. Have. Relapsing. Remitting multiple. Sclerosis. And what. That does is the brain, isn't quite connecting, the sign. Epps's within have, been de myelinated, so, it's like an electrical, cord and it. Exposes, the protection, has gone and it, exposes, the wires so, they all misfire, in the brain and causes a bit of a problem I was on over a hundred tablets, a day and so it was morphine, gave a paint and tramadol DSC. Continuum, codeine. Then. I also had paracetamol, on top of that I, also had with a net drugs. To counter the side effects of the drugs that I was taking, who, hunna pays. $1,000. A month for her, tilray oil. This. Turay I use as 10:10 THC. CBD, equal. Parts, and grapeseed, oil that's all it is and I. Use 3, to 4 mils a day so it, lasts just over, a month and. Works. I just take it every day and, I don't have any effects, I carry on like, a supplement, what about that, cost I. Can't. In fact I've spent over $28,000. On medicine, I can't. Afford it. In two, and a half weeks we'll say that's the last of my medicinal, and. Unless. They make some brave decisions, very soon it means, I go back on morphine, etc, and my life is not going to be the same quality again. Tania. Has, a way to go yet, first, she, needs a neurologist. To support, her application to, the Ministry, of Health, she, tries and a, week later she hears. Word. So. I've just got this email from, Julie. Hancock my doctor and, she's. Just told me that she's, had a response from the Auckland spinal unit saying. That they. Do not support or endorse the, use of medicinal, cannabis. We. Really needed the. Approval. Basically. For the next step to get the medicinal. Cannabis so. It's. Pretty annoying really, this is that these are the people that have prescribed, me fentanyl, which is ten times stronger than heroin, but, they won't support. Medicinal. Cannabis. Dates. Are just going. Couple, of times Jay. In a, few weeks time a government Select, Committee will report, back its findings, on whether more, people not just the terminally, ill should.
Have Access to cannabis there's. Big public interest some, 2,000. People made, submissions I think. The, government needs to get on board and support, this for, children. Like Leah, and Anya for. Adults that, need this but also just, from a. Economy. Point of view it's, a great opportunity for, New Zealand. Soon. Be are some of our premier flower rooms yeah along with our vegetative, state all of our genetics can be housed over there so timetable, wise I mean obviously we're about, a year deep into the project I'm just thinking you know in six, months time we should have the the outline of all of these rooms in place, Paul. Manning a former, advertising exec, and US, biotech. Entrepreneur, mater Odin, are speculating. On a change, in the law. They're. Part of a Kiwi US outfit, called Helius, which. Has already put together 15. Million, dollars, in start-up funding, they, are that, confident, that, regulations. Over manufacture. And, supply are. In, for, a radical, overhaul. Helius. I went through a capital raising process with our partners, Deloitte and. What we've done is raised 15, million dollars from New Zealand and vistors which, we're going to invest in its entirety actually, in the next 24 months here in New Zealand most. Of that investment is going to go into building the, Helius facility, and at the heart of that facility is going to be a cannabinoid, research. Hub which, we want to build into becoming a world leading Centre for cannabinoid research the facility, that we're gonna be building here is a state of their facility, this, facility, comes to some of the most stringent. GMP. Certified bio. Environment, clean rooms that you can possibly do from a food consumption grade when, it comes to medical cannabis so I think the workflow of the entire place here really would be the, mother in the genetic room into, the seedling stage yeah pre, vegetation. Stage and, then obviously the final flower rooms yeah Helius, anticipates. Enormous. Returns. This. Industry, could be a billion-dollar industry certainly, if you bring an export, into the equation, so that gives us an opportunity to add to the economy to create hundreds. Of jobs and. To. Actually help people. In New Zealand who are suffering. Ministry. Of Health ran a survey back in 2016. And that said there were two hundred and thirty-five thousand, New Zealanders, regularly, using cannabis for medicinal purposes. So, that's about one in 20 New, Zealanders. The. Reality, right now in New Zealand is that, there's a fundamental. Disconnect, between. The law and reality. When, it comes to people, self-medicating. With cannabis, well. Sadly when. Patients. Come to see me they, very, often report, that their doctors are unable. To help them or, in particular the specialists, are saying there's not enough medical, evidence any. Concern, about danger. Probably, comes from the. Risks from prohibition people. Are growing, their own or buying it on the black market they, don't know what, contamination. From sprays, or fertilizers. Or mold what. Can be in that bag of cannabis, that they're getting, with. Medical. Cannabis we're, talking about standardized. Products, that are organically, grown and certified. Safe, from contaminants. After. The spinal unit declined. To support her application. Tania's, trying, again this, time with, a private, neurologist.
Hi. There I'm, calling because I have a referral, from. A GP to see a specialist. It. Was sent on the 30th of May you. Should, have a copy of that. And. Then it seems to be able to find, the referral so it was hard. To find it. No. The winds to the 18th would be fine now, is there a charge with. That, how. Much would that be. $500. And. Never really thought about it, as I went through my medical career until, I started. Working in the area of disability, and people. With severe spasticity, in. Particular and, and pain but. Struggling, to cope with, immobility. In particular and then, I've got a I've got, a patient who's who's, used a wheelchair for, 30 years and, he, takes one capsule, of. Cannabis. Oil every. Night and I, said what other what about pain and spasticity. He, said it. Does me well. Weighing. Up all the costs involved Tania. Has a difficult, decision to make I. I. Really don't know what to do anymore like these spasms, I'll say I mean they're driving it crazy, so. I've been to the GP and now they say got. To pay a neurologist. It's like $500 and, then. I don't even know whether they will prescribe the medical marijuana and. If they do it's gonna cost up to $1,500, a month but. I just feel like completely. Out of options and, like. Kind. Of feel like I have to see if that works. Yeah that's, a lot of money you. Couldn't afford to pay that much for it okay not, not with our mortgage no. It's. It's quite. A dilemma really. By. Having. A conversation about, the use of cannabis, I have. More, and more come, to the conclusion. That there, is a place for, cannabis, products, in health care I don't understand, why, we. Are not accepting, this for health, well-being purposes. We. Need to talk to the, experts, about good. Ways to provide. Medicinal, cannabis in this country, next. Week if, we relax our laws about medicinal, cannabis, and, cannabis in. General, what, might that look like. Welcome. To California. Cannabis, production on an industrial, scale. Specialist. Oils, you, name it so it's gonna be 5 milligrams, per fall so. You can totally micro, dose yourself. The. Sick and the needy, are forgotten. Too much we, don't sell dope we, give back hope a, safe. Alternative for. People wanting off heavy-duty pharmaceuticals. That's. Next week, don't. Get in the way of a mom and dad who have a sick kid don't. Get in the way of a daughter of an elderly person who, is struggling because it's about their quality of life of their loved one. Attitude. Was made with funding from New Zealand on, air.