Australian Patients’ Medicinal Cannabis Plight Continues

Accessing medicinal cannabis in Australia
Cannabis image: BigStock

The struggles of patients in Australia depending on medical cannabis to improve their quality of life has hit the headlines again.

We’ve mentioned Ben Oakley a few times over the past couple of years. Ben suffers from a rare, extremely painful condition call Stiff Person Syndrome and has become one of the nation’s best known campaigners for medical cannabis.

Since he started using cannabis oil, the crippling seizures Ben experiences dropped from 600 over a two year period to just three brief episodes over a similar duration.

His father, former nurse Michael Oakley, has again lashed out against the current system in Australia for accessing legal medical cannabis, which he says is too complicated and expensive. To source Ben’s medication legally would cost $30,000 each year.

“The government are still making it harder to get medicinal cannabis than to get a gun in this country,” said Mr. Oakley, who has vowed to continue sourcing cannabis medicines illegally in order to provide treatment for his son.

Another high profile case is that of Steve Peek, who states he has been unable gain access to legal cannabis oil, which reduces his young daughter’s seizures by up to 95%.

“I’ve lost faith in the political system. I’ve lost faith in the Government. I’ve lost faith in the medical system and it’s devastating, honestly,” said Mr. Peek.

Both Mr. Peek and Ben relied on supplies from a kind-hearted soul in South Australia – Jenny Hallam – whose premises were raided in January this year; cutting off their source of medication. Ms. Hallam, from Hillier in Adelaide’s north, was eventually charged with possessing and manufacturing a controlled drug and is awaiting outcome of the case.

Commenting on an ABC Lateline story that went to air on Wednesday night concerning issues connected to accessing medical cannabis, Ms. Hallam said:

“The law may have changed but in reality, what has actually changed for patients and Dr’s wanting to prescribe medical cannabis? It seems it’s all just gotten a whole lot harder than it ever was.”

In May, we reported just 130 people in Australia at that point in time had ever been given approved access to medicinal cannabis products; and as for authorised prescribers, there were just 25 across the nation.