Martin Crowe 'self-medicating with liquid marijuana', friend Mike Selvey claims
A close friend of Martin Crowe says the cricket star was self-medicating with liquid marijuana to ease his pain.
Crowe died at the age of 53 on Thursday after a long battle with cancer.
Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne said on Friday he wasn't aware Crowe had been using medicinal cannabis.
He said he hadn't been told about it and if the Ministry of Health had received an application from Crowe to use medicinal cannabis, he would have been alerted.
* Jeff Crowe works on in wake of Martin's death
* Lord's flag at half mast as tribute
* Crowe's legacy: Black Caps' 'spirit of cricket'
* Russell Crowe: 'My champion, hero, friend'
* Out for 299 - the run that got away
* Interactive: Martin Crowe 1962-2016
* Quiz - Martin Crowe cricket trivia
The only approved medicinal cannabis in New Zealand is Sativex, which can be signed off by the ministry.
Any other product has to be approved by Dunne.
Former England cricketer Mike Selvey produce a moving tribute piece for Britain's Guardian newspaper, where he says Crowe opened up to him about his medical struggles in New Zealand during the World Cup last year.
Selvey says Crowe told him he was sleeping 15 hours a day and using cannabis oil rather than undergoing more chemotherapy for his second bout of lymphoma.
"He had been diagnosed with follicular lymphoma a couple of years previously but appeared to be in remission, cleared, until the cancer returned, in the virulent terminal form of double-hit lymphoma," Selvey wrote.
"The apparently hale nature of his condition was a camouflage. When he was awake, he said, he did indeed feel good, but rather than undergoing yet more chemotherapy he was by then self-medicating with liquid marijuana and sleeping 15 hours a day. Happy hours though," he said.
"That day, he had told me that he had been given a 5 per cent chance of living for a further year. The odds were correct: he was 13 days shy of that 12 months when he passed away peacefully."
Selvey also used an email exchange between Crowe and Indian cricket writer Dileep Premachandran to highlight how Crowe was dealing with his plight as the reality of his terminal condition hit home.
"It was late last September, the occasion of his 53rd birthday, and Crowe was making sense of his condition, about how he felt of facing the imminent prospect of death. 'It's a fine line mentally,' Crowe writes, ' do I judge my life as a joy or as sitting in death row?'
"It is both philosophical and rhetorical: I don't think I have ever come across someone who has faced their demise with more rational fortitude and acceptance," concluded Selvey.
Crowe did use natural remedies to help cope with the pain of cancer. Toward the end he was on doses of the painkiller morphine.
In June last year, Nelson teenager Alex Renton was the first Kiwi to receive a cannabidiol (CBD) product signed off by the minister.
The one-of use of Elixinol, a CBD product from the United States was approved by Dunne after Renton's Wellington doctors applied to the Ministry of Health.
Renton, 19, had been in hospital since early April suffering "status epilepticus", a kind of prolonged seizure, and died from his condition in July.
The spotlight went back on medicinal cannabis earlier this year when former president of the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) Helen Kelly sought access to the drug.
As of January 27, the ministry had received 120 applications for medicinal cannabis, of which 105 have been approved.
Another five are in progress and 10 have not been granted for various reasons, including the application being withdrawn, cancelled, declined or incomplete.
Kelly was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer just over a year ago and at the time was given six-and-a-half weeks to live.
She continues to source cannabis illegally, which she takes at night to help her sleep and control pain.
Previously Kelly has said it was a "huge relief" for her when she discovered cannabis oil.
"I think sometimes the law is an ass...here we are going around imprisoning and convicting and carrying on about this drug while the codgerati drink their chardonnay," she said in October.
Last month Kelly applied to the Ministry of Health for access to Bloom Farmers Highlighter Sativa and Indica cannabis oil inhalers.
Dunne said he was told by the ministry a day after the application was received that it had "insufficient information for (the ministry) to be able to assess the product and make a recommendation".
Rather than decline the application, Dunne asked the ministry to go back to Kelly's oncologist and get the information that was needed.
"The application has therefore been deferred, not declined, by the ministry, until it receives the information it had requested.
"The delay in resolving this case, rests, for whatever reason, with the oncologist's ongoing lack of response."
Kelly is continuing to source more information on the products she's seeking access to in order to get sign off from Dunne.