The decision to include Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie Base Hospital in a trial of medicinal cannabis has met with a strongly favourable response.
The trial will include some 80 people and will focus on patients who are suffering from chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting.
The year-long trial will get underway shortly.
While there is mainly positive reaction to the decision to broaden the trial from two hospitals to a total of nine hospitals around the state, some sections of the community are concerned the trial is too little too late.
Crescent Head resident Tony Bower is an advocate for the use of medicinal cannabis. He operates Mullaways Medical Cannabis Pty Ltd.
One of his patients is 12 year old Jai Whitelaw from Queensland who was diagnosed with three rare forms of epilepsy as a five year old in 2010.
Jai’s mum Michelle says the government and medical argument that too little is known about the ramifications of using medicinal cannabis are wrong.
“My frustration is that Tony is providing medicine for some 200 sick kids. So, why aren’t they listening to him as the medicine maker,” she questioned.
“We have the very clear medical evidence that Jai is now seizure free.
“Change the laws.
“I just don’t get it. I don’t smoke cannabis. The medicine that comes from Tony’s company is harmless. We are not hurting anyone.
“We are saving our son. He had an expiry date and now he’s exceeded that.”
After exhausting all traditional medical treatments and pharmaceutical products, Jai was ‘essentially discharged from hospital and we were told to take him and just love him’.
In 2012 Jai was in hospital for all but five weeks while the following year was slightly better with him spending a total of 12 weeks at home.
He suffered numerous broken bones as the result of his falls associated with the seizures and his father and siblings have performed CPR on the youngster on numerous occasions.
In 2014 Jai was taking 35 tablets a day and was having up to 500 seizures a day.
“We were told by the medical fraternity that there was nothing more to do,” Michelle said.
Their life changed dramatically when Michelle eventually go in contact with Tony.
She says Tony told her that he made the medicine, did not take any payment and only asked that they document the amount and frequency of the tinctures.
After just the second day of administering her medicine, Michelle says there was a dramatic change in Jai.
“The seizures stopped. He is now, basically, seizure free and is counting up to nearly 700 days free.”
With such remarkable results, Michelle took Jai back to their medical specialists and went through further testing. They came back clear.
“Specialists need the science. So, let’s give them the science. Let’s give them more trials,” Michelle said.
With no hospital admissions for ‘a very long time’ Michelle said her family now has what every normal family has: normality.