Ireland needs to have 'the adult conversation' about medical cannabis


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.53 20 Nov 2020


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A woman who smokes cannabis to deal with her back pain has said Ireland needs to have 'the adult conversation' about the drug.

There has been a lot of conversation surrounding legislation and access to medical cannabis.

In 2019, legislation was passed to allow for the operation of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme on a pilot basis for five years.

'Sally' - a pseudonym - said she takes the drug occasionally for back pain as a result of multiple sclerosis (MS).

She told Lunchtime Live she should be able to make her own choices.

"I find that every now and again I would smoke cannabis... because it really does help relieve the pain and inflammation that I feel in my back.

"My back is quite bad and I have MS for a few years.

"I'm an adult, I'm able to make my own decisions - I'm able to go down and buy alcohol if I want, if I want to buy 20 cigarettes I can.

"So I just think it's time that we had the adult conversation - that we say 'Look, people should be able to make their own choices' - like they do in the Netherlands and Denmark and places like that."

"I know there are downsides to cannabis, like for instance the paranoia and there's long-term effects like memory loss, but quite honestly I'm in my 50s now so I've enough memory loss going on anyway."

"Sometimes cannabis can cause schizophrenia in people, and I do know people that that has happened to.

"But from my own point of view, my own perspective when you're in pain all day the only thing you can think of is the pain that you're in.

"And in order for me to be able to function on a normal level - when my kids come in from school - and to be not in pain, to be able to get up and do stuff, to be able to go for a walk - do the normal things that normal people can do everyday - I do find that if sometimes you smoke a little bit of cannabis that it does help.

"I have tried the cannabis oil, but the cannabis oil takes so long to get into the system it just doesn't have the same effect".

"And I'm not going around stoned - I wouldn't even weigh on a weighing scales what I smoke.

"It's only a little tiny pot... Like I'm not going around high as a kite.

"If my husband comes in, I would say he wouldn't even notice that I've had any to be honest".

"It should be not for recreational use in the sense that I have young kids, so I wouldn't like to see my kids smoking it because it does have long-term effects.

"But I'm in my 50s now, I have a long-term illness, I'm trying to cope with pain everyday and trying to keep life as normal as possible for them".

'I cried every single day'

It comes after Cork woman Alicia Maher told Lunchtime Live she moved to Spain in order to access medical cannabis.

She has suffered long-term chronic pain as a result of complications from a series of surgeries and said medicinal cannabis has helped her come off all other medications.

Alicia explained: "I permanently had heat patches attached to my back, pain patches on my leg, heat applied to my leg, I couldn't do anything, I needed help to shower.

"But besides that, the side effects of the opioids were that they almost ruined my life.

"I was depressed, I cried every single day, if it wasn't from the pain it was from the opioids.

"My life was just lived in four-hour cycles, every four hours I had to take ten opioids and as soon as I took them, I would lie down and go to sleep.

"Then I would be woken up in four hours to eat so I could take the next ten tablets, it was so sad, I wasn't living at all, I was just existing on a couch."

Main image: A smoker rolling a joint of cannabis in Paris, France in 2019. Picture by: Lafargue Raphael/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

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Back Pain Cannabis Lunchtime Live Medical Cannabis Medical Cannabis Access Programme Multiple Sclerosis Sally

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