Rod Hamelink was hopeful medical marijuana may one day help relieve his symptoms of fibromyalgia. He encouraged others with chronic pain to call 0412 734 050 for support.
Rod Hamelink was hopeful medical marijuana may one day help relieve his symptoms of fibromyalgia. He encouraged others with chronic pain to call 0412 734 050 for support. Emily Smith

Marijuana laws to change lives

MEDICAL marijuana may soon provide an alternative to some of the 27 pills Ron Hamelink relies on each day.

Federal Parliament passed new laws on Wednesday to legalise medical cannabis for people with painful and chronic illness.

Mr Hamelink has suffered from fibromyalgia for more than 30 years.

It's an illness that inflicts pain all over his body and often wakes him from sleep.

"At the moment I seem to take one pill for the pain and five others for the side effects of the first pill," he said.

"If (medical marijuana) was offered to me as part of a trial or something, I would definitely try it. At the moment, the pain really interrupts everything I do."

Concerns have been raised about medical marijuana being abused.

But Mr Hamelink said it should simply be administered the same regulated way as other high-end drugs.

Mackay-based consultant pharmacist Karalyn Huxhagen described the move as "a very positive step forward", in providing relief to patients and also opening up research avenues into other benefits of the plant.

"There are parts of health where we do struggle with finding treatments," Ms Huxhagen said.

"I've seen a paper where medical marijuana was even used to treat... (cases) where people can't stop hiccuping."

She said the part of the plant used in medicine did not contain the components which made people high.

For that reason she didn't believe the law change would encourage people to access the drug for recreational purposes, but she foresaw issues in keeping the growing of marijuana secure.

Nurse Yogita Awal also feared people would get greater access to cannabis for recreational use following the law change.

"I think there's other medication (instead of cannabis) that can be given," she said.

Medical marijuana

Illnesses it can be used to treat include:

  •  Children's epilepsy
  •  Nausea caused by cancer treatment
  •  Nerve pain relief
  •  Multiple sclerosis relief


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