Users report relief from symptoms of illness: Minister opens door to legal cannabis use

EXTRACTS from letters sent to Clare Hodges following publicity:

A man with multiple sclerosis who uses cannabis: 'I was diagnosed with MS five years ago. I suffer violent muscle spasms from the waist down which lock my legs together like magnets, causing increasing pain and discomfort. I find the effects (of cannabis) not entirely euphoric but I can stretch my legs out straight. I can watch TV for a couple of hours without snapping myself into a knot.'

A woman with MS who is prescribed Cesamet (nabilone), a synthetic version of cannabis, licensed to treat nausea for cancer patients on chemotherapy. She has tried cannabis. 'While taking Cesamet I sleep a proper night's sleep, waking up refreshed. I am in charge of my body. Cannabis is good for me but I cannot get it. You can't go tramping the back streets at night for a dealer when you are in a wheelchair.'

A woman with MS describes her experience of cannabis: 'The sensation of 'tight bands and writhing rats' in my legs vanished for the first time in months. It did not stop the vertigo but it totally removed the nausea and 'sea-sickness'. I slept like a baby without having to get up and empty my bladder every two hours.'

A man who suffered head injury in a motorcycle accident: 'I am severely disabled and suffer from spasticity and spasm. I have been using it (cannabis) for 18 months and it really makes life much more bearable - sleep, spasm, bladder control and generally less stressed. Because of its illegality you have to deal with such unscrupulous people to get it. Twice in the last couple of months I have been conned. I resent being criminalised.'

An Australian woman with MS: 'I realised it helped to reduce muscle spasticity and seemed able to achieve this at a much lower dosage (than social use) - at a puff or two. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to grow your own here in Australia.'