Kiwi woman documents her struggle to obtain medicinal cannabis in TVNZ1 doco Pot Pursuit

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A new documentary In Pot Pursuit is exploring the use of medicinal cannabis and the complex system around obtaining it for those who claim to receive health benefits from it.

It follows paraplegic Tanya Black as she looks for a natural alternative for her pain.

The reporter behind the documentary Tanya Black spoke to TVNZ1’s Breakfast programme about her struggle to obtain the drug for her leg spasms - an issue she's had since she became paralysed just over 10 years ago.

"It's a very frustrating thing that happens daily," Ms Black says.

Trialling different medication with many unpleasant side effects such as drowsiness, the Attitude reporter says she's struggled to find anything that would help her.

"I just didn't want that quality of life where I was literally falling asleep in the afternoon."

She says some health care experts have told her medicinal cannabis could be an option for treating her spasms although there hasn't been a lot of research into whether it does.

Ms Black documented her pursuit to obtain approval to use medicinal cannabis as well as the road blocks which stop it from being funded for those who claim it helps them.

"For me even if I do get that opportunity to see if that works for me it's not a long term option for me. We’re looking at $1000 to $1500 a month.”

To obtain the drug for a condition in which it isn’t already approved for, a GP has to make an application on behalf of the patient which then has to be supported by a specialist.

"I’ve already had one group of specialists say they’re not going to support it because they don’t believe it’s going to work and there’s no evidence to support it.

"Which is a little bit frustrating for me because the same group have prescribed these quite heavy medicines for me before and they haven’t worked."

Ms Black says she’d like to see more research carried out on medicinal cannabis.

"Even before we start talking about making use of recreational marijuana available let’s talk about people who could get some real health benefits or at least improve their quality of life."

In Pot Pursuit airs this Sunday morning on TV1.

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