By Zoe Keenan
Growers and manufacturers of cannabis products in WA can officially apply for licences to grow and sell the drug for medicinal purposes from today.
Doctors in WA can also prescribe medicinal cannabis to people suffering medical conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis or those suffering side effects of chemotherapy to potentially help improve their quality of life.
Shontelle Hiron is a cancer survivor from Northam but, 20 years on, she suffers from epilepsy due to treatment in her past.
“At the moment I’m taking three anticonvulsants and no it hasn’t fixed the problem I have less seizures than I used to but I’m dealing with side effects,” Shontelle said.
“I don’t like taking anticonvulsants at all because there are just numerous side effects… I’ve tried multiple ones through the years and none of them have actually fixed me at all in fact they made seizures worse,” she said.
Side effects of anticonvulsants according to WebMD include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and extreme side effects include depression and suicidal thoughts.
Shontelle said she went to Professor Bryant Stokes, a Perth neurosurgeon, who put her onto muscle relaxants to help with her seizures.
“I think well dope does that doesn’t it?” she said.
Shontelle has always been for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis and has been waiting for it.
“A lot of people who have got my condition if they’re capable will pull the pin, they commit suicide,” she said.
Doctor Andrew Miller, President of the Australian Medical Association, does not completely agree and said only one or two chemicals from the plant are used medicinally.
“These derivatives are not the all-curing wonder drug that some advocates claim and are only effective in a very limited scope of medicine,” Dr. Miller said.
“There needs to be more robust studies on the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis,” he said.
Doctor Ian Mullaney, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology at Murdoch University, shares his views on the issue below.
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