Make cannabis oil ‘easier to get’

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
Baldivis MLA Reece Whitby with Wellard mother Jodie Gardner who is battling stage four cancer and uses medicinal cannabis oil to help reduce her pain.
Camera IconBaldivis MLA Reece Whitby with Wellard mother Jodie Gardner who is battling stage four cancer and uses medicinal cannabis oil to help reduce her pain.

A Wellard mother who is fighting stage four cancer and uses cannabis oil to take the edge off her pain has welcomed changes to medicinal cannabis laws, but says more steps need to be taken to make the drug more affordable and easily accessible for the severely ill.

Her comments come after Health Minister Roger Cook last week announced changes to State laws, allowing GPs to prescribe the drug without a specialist sign off.

Jodie Gardner suffers frequent intolerable pain as a result of her cancer and uses medicinal cannabis oil to take the edge off the sharpness of her pain.

“It also allows me to sleep better and means I can do the dishes and hang the washing out, and spend time with my daughter, which I wouldn’t normally be able to do,” she said.

While medicinal cannabis has made a considerable difference to Ms Gardner's life, she said getting her hands on the oil — which came with a hefty $390 price-tag every two-three weeks — was difficult.

“It was between $400-600 to just get through the process of the Government approval in the first place,” she said.

Discouraged by the high cost and wait times associated with gaining the specialist approval required under the old system, Ms Gardner said she was forced interstate.

“I was referred to a Queensland-based clinic and approved there, but WA pharmacists can’t fill Queensland scripts,” she said. “So my bottle of oil (which is produced in WA) had to ordered from the Queensland clinic, dispensed from a pharmacy in New South Wales because it was cheaper postage from there, and then sent back to WA.”

She said removing specialist approval was a “great step in the right direction”, but other steps were needed to reduce the complexities and make it more affordable.

“Anyone who is suffering can be helped with medicinal cannabis ... they need access and it needs to be easy,” she said.

Baldivis MLA Reece Whitby also welcomed the changes saying: “If medicinal cannabis brings relief to people like Jodie, why on earth would we keep barriers in their way?”

"This change will benefit patients suffering from cancer and other conditions as well as patients in palliative care."

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