Synthetic cannabis for pain relief, court told

JONO GALUSZKA JONO.GALUSZKA@MSL.CO.NZ
Last updated 12:00 02/07/2014

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A Palmerston North man caught with synthetic cannabis after it was banned says the drug was a better pain reliever than morphine or tramadol.

In the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, Steven Paul Simpson pleaded guilty to possessing both synthetic and standard cannabis.

Police found four packets of synthetic cannabis, along with 6 grams of standard cannabis, at the 46-year-old's home on June 3.

Simpson, who represented himself in court, said he suffered from chronic pain in his back for 26 years and took the drugs as pain relief.

"I've been on some strong painkillers, like morphine and a tramadol, every day and I found synthetics one of the best things," he said.

"It is the best [pain relief] I've ever had."

He claimed the inventor of synthetic cannabis had made it to be used as a pain reliever.

But the inventor of synthetic cannabis, Emeritus Professor John Huffman of South Carolina, is quoted in various articles saying he developed it as an appetite stimulant.

He has since told people to not smoke it as it could cause psychological problems.

Simpson said it had taken him five months to get an appointment with a specialist for his back problems, which was another reason he needed the cannabis.

Judge Barbara Morris said a mitigating factor was that Simpson had been out of the court system for about 20 years.

She convicted Simpson and ordered him to come up for sentencing if called upon in 12 months.

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- Manawatu Standard

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