CANNABIS oil ‚ÄĒ or CBD ‚ÄĒ should be legal in Ireland these people have told the Irish Sun, as it has transformed their lives.
Using the oil for medicinal ¬≠reasons is no longer a taboo or unreported subject in Ireland. However, many users still feel stigmatised and shamed.
A new documentary entitled Patients of Cannabis will reveal how sick people are made to feel like criminals for using the oil in this country.
Cannabis oil can reportedly aid people with certain illnesses in a variety of ways, from helping promote sleep to boosting appetite and reducing stress, anxiety and ¬≠depression.
From high-profile campaigns like Vera Twomey‚Äôs to numerous other personal stories, the push for greater access to cannabis-based medical products has never been more ¬≠visible.
Despite its many benefits, the drug is still out of reach for Irish people, who are often left with no other option than to source it from back alley vendors.
Here, three Irish people tell Sarah Curran¬†how they are fighting for cannabis oil to be made legal and readily available in this country.
DUBLINER Lorraine witnessed the effects of cannabis oil first hand after her husband was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.
She and her partner Mark were holidaying in Spain in 2016 when she was unable to wake him.
He was rushed to a nearby ¬≠hospital and tests revealed he was suffering from lymphatic cancer and a highly aggressive 8cm brain tumour. Mark fell into a coma and doctors said he had just 48 hours to live, however Lorraine refused to give up hope.
She said: ‚ÄúI decided I didn‚Äôt want him to die there. I put ‚ā¨22,000 on my credit card and chartered a private plane. Doctors said he‚Äôd die on the jet but I told them I‚Äôd prefer him to die on the jet than to die there.‚ÄĚ
An emergency six-seater air ambulance jet left Rius Airport and was forced to fly below the clouds for the whole journey home because of the danger of compression. On arrival in Dublin, Mark was rushed to Beaumont Hospital where he underwent emergency treatment.
Lorraine added: ‚ÄúThe next day he was smiling and looking for his guitar. It was unbelievable. They operated and managed to remove 60 per cent of the tumour.‚ÄĚ
She made the decision to treat her partner with cannabis oil despite its status as an illegal drug in Ireland.
According to Lorraine, the cannabis oil helped to keep Mark out of pain, helped him sleep and gave him an appetite during his illness.
Sadly, six months after the operation to reduce the tumour, a scan revealed it had grown back to its original size.
Doctors said there was nothing that could be done but Lorraine continued to treat Mark with cannabis oil.
She added: ‚ÄúDoctors told me they had never seen a patient in that situation doing as well as he was, both physically and mentally. It didn‚Äôt cure him but it certainly helps to alleviate symptoms of nausea, sleeplessness, anxiety, tiredness and all sorts of things.
‚ÄúI was so happy to be able to obtain the oil because it gave me another year with him. We had holidays, we had a brilliant Christmas. I‚Äôd do it all again.‚ÄĚ
Mark passed away peacefully and without pain, despite the fact he was suffering from an agonising condition. He lived for almost a year after doctors gave him 48 hours to live.
Now Lorraine is making a documentary highlighting the plight of Irish cannabis oil users. Patients of Cannabis will feature Irish people whose lives have been transformed by the treatment.
She added: ‚ÄúI‚Äôve met people with motor neurone disease, chronic pain. I‚Äôve sat and cried with these people because they have to spend the little money they have on sourcing this when most of them are out of work.
‚ÄúThey also have to act like criminals. They have this stigma attached to them that what they do is totally ¬≠unlawful.
‚ÄúThat puts added pressure on them when dealing with a serious illness. Only seven licences have been issued in the state so far.‚ÄĚ
Lorraine is hoping the film will have an impact on our legislation on cannabis oil.
She added: ‚ÄúThe Government have to relax on this and have less obstacles in people‚Äôs way. I‚Äôm only interested in the medical side of things. We need to drop the classification of cannabis oil like Britain, where it doesn‚Äôt have the same stigma attached to it as regards to the law.‚ÄĚ
TWO-year-old Zoe was told she would never walk due to her cerebral palsy but has taken her first steps after being treated with CBD oil. Her condition has improved since her parents started treating her with the oil three months ago.
Eamon Murphy and Lynda Bannon from Dundalk are parents to Katie, 12 Brooke, 11, Teagan, nine, and little Zoe.
Zoe was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia, which effects all four limbs. Lynda said: ‚ÄúAlthough I knew in my heart there was something wrong, I still hoped for the best. My girls are all dancers so knowing she would never be able to do the things they do was very ¬≠difficult.
‚ÄúWe worried if she would ever get ¬≠married, go to a normal school, if she would be bullied. Your whole world is just turned upside down.‚ÄĚ
Eamon and Lynda came across internet forums for parents of children with cerebral palsy where many American parents were talking about using CBD oil.
Lynda said: ‚ÄúNo one ever mentioned it to us. We found a Facebook page called CBD Network Ireland and we got in touch. We bought the oil but were too afraid to give it to her. I think it was just the word cannabis that we were afraid of.‚ÄĚ
After Zoe was diagnosed, Lynda‚Äôs mental health deteriorated and she was prescribed antidepressants by her doctor.
She decided she would try to treat her anxiety with cannabis oil and it made such a huge difference to how Lynda was feeling she decided it was time to start treating Zoe with it.
She said: ‚ÄúIt was just a drop underneath her tongue in the morning and in the night time. Within two weeks of her starting the oil, you could see the life-changing differences. She‚Äôs now taking steps with a walker, she can say most things, call her sisters, count to ten!
‚ÄúShe‚Äôs still slightly behind on her age bracket, but only slightly. Beforehand we were going to speech and language therapists. Last week they were able to discharge us from that service because she had come on so much.
‚ÄúShe can hold a pen, she can draw and she can feed herself with a spoon.‚ÄĚ
Zoe is no longer classed as quadriplegic and now considered diplegic as she has full reach of her arms.
Lynda believes the use of cannabis oil should be destigmatised so that Irish people can use the medicine without being ashamed.
She added: ‚ÄúIn the space of two months the difference in her has just been phenomenal. We‚Äôve had so many parents contact us about it and say that they‚Äôre apprehensive. If it was less stigmatised and regularly available I think so many people would be helped.‚ÄĚ
COPD sufferer Gerri cycles 50km per week despite suffering from a debilitating breathing condition.
The Dubliner credits cannabis oil with his fitness levels. COPD, is a group of lung conditions including bronchitis and emphysema. They make it difficult to empty air out of the lungs because your airways have been narrowed.
The father-of-one will be featured in the Patients of Cannabis documentary. Gerri has always had an interest in the healing power of herbs and plants and has been a vegetarian for more than 50 years.
After Gerri was diagnosed with stage four COPD, emphysema and asthma in 2011, doctors prescribed him medications and said he would no longer be able to live the same active lifestyle.
He said: ‚ÄúI knew I couldn‚Äôt live like that. I live for the outdoors.‚ÄĚ
Gerri decided to defy doctors orders and source cannabis oil, which he now takes every day. He came off all of his prescribed medication and now only uses an oxygen machine throughout the day.
Gerri said: ‚ÄúThey had me on ten tablets every day before I stopped taking them.‚ÄĚ
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The nature lover is able to cycle, walk and enjoy life, despite his initial prognosis. Gerri is currently homeless, and the cost of buying cannabis oil is crippling on his low income.
He believes the oil is crucial for his health, so he will continue to source it any way he can.
He added: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs time the Governement stepped up and realised something needs to be done to help people who need this medicine!‚ÄĚ