Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jan 2016 Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand) Copyright: 2016 New Zealand Herald Contact: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/300 Page: A20 PATIENT'S PLEA FOR CANNABIS Former union boss Helen Kelly, who has lung cancer, has written to Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne seeking permission to use medicinal cannabis. "He said it took him an hour once he got the last application, so I'm hoping to hear today," Ms Kelly said. She is already using cannabis oil to ease her pain, and said the drug had been "brilliant" for helping with nausea, lost appetite, and pain relief following chemotherapy. She now wants a legal, regular supply of the drug. "I want it in a form that is metered," she said. "The product that I've applied for has got a much weaker strength in the daytime and a stronger strength at night. I don't want to be stoned in the day. And if I take morphine or cannabis during the day, it stops you doing what you want to do." Patients can apply to the Ministry of Health to get access to one form of medical cannabis, Sativex, which has been cleared for use in New Zealand. Ms Kelly is seeking approval for a pharmaceutical-grade cannabis, which does not have approval in New Zealand. This has a stricter set of criteria for approval and requires the patient to be very ill or dying and in hospital when the treatment begins. Ms Kelly resigned from the Council of Trade Unions in October.