11 September 2019

"I take cannabis." - Amanda Dalziel

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Amanda Dalziel. Photo: supplied.

Amanda Dalziel. Photo: supplied.

Editors note: This week has seen renewed discussion about access to cannabis oil for the treatment of chronic health conditions. Two years ago the Therapeutic Goods Administration tried to bring security to the increasing trade, however, those who benefit from the therapy say those regulations make the oil hard to access, and that they still rely on the black market.

The Bega Valley’s Amanda Dalziel wants to add her experience to the discussion.

Remember, individuals and businesses in Australia importing hemp oils are breaking the law.

I take cannabis.

You’ve no doubt heard similar stories.

Seizures had made my life unbearable. I now use cannabis oil four times a day to reduce the likelihood and severity of my seizures.

What you may not know is that I don’t get “high”.

The name “cannabis oil” is a misnomer. It conjures images of people with a terminal illness trying to
make their last days a bit betterer.

What I take needs re-branding “Cannabis Oil 2.0”? Nah, it needs a better name than that.

There are two components of cannabis oil everyone should know. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and
Cannabidiol (CBD). Non-science-graduates like me with my lesser university degree, refer to them by
their acronyms, because it’s easier to remember and pronounce.

THC is what gets people high. When smoking pot, that’s the bit that brings on the munchies. It’s what the police check for when mobile drug testing.

CBD, on the other hand, is the good stuff.

After the hell I’ve been through in the medical system – a misdiagnosis, psychiatric wards and finally brain surgery. I shout loudly and proudly that I take cannabis oil! And I shout that I purchase it off the black market!

Which may be a slight exaggeration, because anyone can find my supplier using Google and it arrives through Australia Post. My doctor, however, thought that I must be high and had me drug tested.

I’d taken my second daily dose of oil an hour before the surprise test. The results – “No Cannabis Metabolites. Positive for Benzodiazepines.”

When the cannabis oil fails me, which it can under the worst circumstances, I resort to large doses of
Valium prescribed by my doctor. The whole drug family of benzos make me feel like I’m under a heavy
doona. Benzos make me high. Benzos make me sing “Everything is Awesome!” Benzos are addictive.

Each time I’m forced to resort to using benzos, I have to take higher and higher doses.

Cannabis oil has reduced my reliance on Valium and its risk of addiction. There are, however, rare moments when I need that safety net. Those “holy crap on a stick” moments when I swan dive towards the concrete. The ones that sneak up on me like a raging dumpster fire.

By taking oil every day, I can read again without needing the assistance of an accompanying audiobook. The oil wakes me up. It makes me more alert.

I have never withheld anything from my doctor. I even shared the results from the independent testing I had performed on random bottles of oil by a lab in Melbourne at my own expensive expense.

Those results – “No measurable THC found”. The concentration of CBD was within the range I expected for the strength advertised online by my “dealer”.

Oooh, I just checked their website! There’s a sale this week. I’ll have to copy/paste the promo code into their Shopify website later.

I have the best supplier. They’re kind, helpful and offer discounts even after being charged with trafficking a
controlled substance in commercial quantities.

Why is it illegal? It wasn’t. When I took my first dose two years ago. A large American supplier Elixinol sold CBD oil to the general public. Then they left the Australian market because the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) changed the rating of all medicinal cannabis products to Schedule 5.

This upgrade required patients to access CBD oil through an Authorised Prescriber and the Special Access
Scheme (SAS). There’s one problem with that, doctors can’t advertise and it’s expensive and impractical for country doctors to maintain SAS accreditation.

Since then, suppliers have become creative. I now purchase a dietary supplement that has no testimonials and is not for internal use – which I ignore.

I prefer to follow the verbal, off the record, advice from my “dealer” regarding correct dosage. My Cannabis Oil 2.0, no psychoactive components, just good ole’ CBD.

Words by Amanda Dalziel

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Mind if I ask who your supplier is?

I have multiple sclorosis and I think it should of already happened just big pharmacy tacking advantage because they are not making enough money if we can get our medicine from something we can get cheaper off the black market or grow ourselves

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