Pain prompts medical marijuana plea

23:25, Aug 12 2014
ra timms
FIGHTING FOR HER SON: Timaru woman Ra Timms thinks medical marijuana should be made available in New Zealand.

In the wake of medical marijuana being highlighted in the media, a Timaru mother has come out in support of it being made available. Audrey Malone reports.

Watching both of your children fighting a disease that starts in the brain and slowly shuts down their bodies would be gruelling for any mother.

Timaru woman Ra Timms has had to do just that.

Her daughter Jordyn Rose and son Brad were diagnosed with the rare neurological condition, Batten disease.

Batten disease is a fatal disorder which starts in the brain and then goes on to stop the normal functioning of cells, organs and the nervous system.

Waste materials from these cells are usually recycled; however, in those that have Batten disease it stops and the waste matter builds-up.


For Timms it is not just the affects of the disease that is tearing her apart.

"At the end Jordyn was having several fits a day. She was taking a cocktail of anti-convulsant's and anti-psychotics. We didn't know which was working and which wasn't. Which was reacting badly with the other and which wasn't," she said.

Timms did her research to see what she could do to help.

She discovered medical marijuana and in particular a drug developed in the United States called Charlotte's Web - a strain that has been modified, removing all THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.

"Its proven to work. It might not work for everyone, but I think we should be given the opportunity to see."

Jordyn died two years ago aged 19, and Brad who is in his 20s is deteriorating.

"I haven't gone out and sourced my own (marijuana), but if they don't sort it out I might have too. It's pretty hard to watch your children struggle when you know there is something out there that might help them," she said.

Timms felt the Government should allow it to be administered.

"There is one family in New Zealand who is allowed to take that synthetic stuff and look at the lack of testing surrounding that."

She does not want to go through the back door to get the drugs but has considered it.

"I don't know how hard it would be to get my hands on it but if there is nothing else I can do I will try."

Timms has spoken out about this subject before and was surprised with the positive reactions she has gotten.

"So many people have come up to me to tell me they support me. I had someone come up to me who was a Jehovah's Witness and I thought they would be against my views but they were extremely supportive," she said.

Timms believes this is a case of the drug companies and the Government holding out until they can figure out a way to make money off it.

"If there are so many studies out there saying it works and the THC has been removed then what is the issue."

The Timaru Herald