Cory Jane and Cassius
Cory Jane and Cassius NZH

Medical marijuana could help All Black Cory Jane's son

ALL Black star Cory Jane and his wife Amie would consider moving their family to the US if it would help with the treatment of their epileptic son.

Parents of epileptic children from around the world - including New Zealand - are flying to the US, where the state of Colorado has legalised the use of marijuana and cannabis oil for medicinal reasons.

Amie Jane said her family would also consider such a move if 8-year-old Cassius suffered a setback with his own battle with epilepsy and ADHD.

And the Epilepsy NZ ambassador said it was wrong for people to judge parents who sought the unconventional remedy.

"If there is a treatment that will help my son I will weigh up the pros and cons," she told the Herald on Sunday.

"I will see what the side effects are. You are always going to do that as a parent. It's diabolical the amount of people who judge other parents.

"I have people telling me all the time how to parent my son who has health issues, behavioural issues and learning difficulties.

"And I think, 'You know what, do you have kids'? Some of them don't and even they give you their 5 cents worth."

Cassius was born with a rare genetic disorder, Tuberous Sclerosis, which affects his organs, including his brain, and his skin.

Jane, a mother of four, said her eldest child suffered from a range of seizures. He was diagnosed when he was about 16 months old.

Jane is thankful that Cassius' seizures are relatively controlled and right now he is seizure free. But if they became severe, she said the medical marijuana treatment in the US would be an option.

She said it would be understandable if parents whose children were suffering epilepsy and who had exhausted other forms of medication would consider trying medical marijuana.

"A lot of kids have no other options. Medically they have tried drugs and it's got to the point where it's interfering with their development - where they can't walk or talk."

Jane is mindful of the potential side effects of medical marijuana, but added: "What people don't realise is a lot of drugs that people are prescribed for epilepsy or seizures are used for bi-polar and other disorders and they have severe side effects. You have to have blood tests, urine tests to make sure everything is okay."

She said New Zealanders, including health bosses, should have an "open mind" about some alternative therapies.

Medsafe group manager Dr Stewart Jessamine said the Ministry of Health was not aware of how many New Zealand families travelled overseas to obtain cannabis products for medicinal reasons.

Jessamine said there was no prohibition on the research and development of medicines containing cannabinoids and the Ministry of Health expected applications from medicine manufacturers to be submitted in the future.

Amie Jane spoke out about the issue of medicinal cannabis just a week after proposed cannabis reforms were raised by the Internet Mana Party in the lead-up to the general election.

The reforms the party has called for include cannabis products to be legalised for medicinal use.

When asked for his views on decriminalising cannabis, Prime Minister John Key told the New Zealand Herald last month: "Even though I know lots of people use cannabis, in my view encouraging drug use is a step in the wrong direction for New Zealand."

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