Seven News Australia reports another story that illustrates how far govt and authorities now are when it come to societal attitudes towards cannabis in Australia
After her husband was killed in a truck accident in 2021, grieving mother of three Caroline found herself spiraling out of control.
Prompted by the fatal crash, and the pervasiveness of COVID-19, she began to suffer from PTSD, anxiety and depression.
Every time her children stepped foot outside the safety of her four walls, she was unsure if they would return.
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Desperate for help, Caroline tried a natural ‘remedy’ – which she believes has brought her back from the brink.
“I’m not a hippy, I am just your average corporate mum,” Caroline tells 7Life.
Since she was a child, alternative health options have always been Caroline’s go-to.
Aged four, she was prescribed Ritalin, a stimulant medication used to treat ADHD.
But after just a week on the drug, her mother threw the prescription away.
“My whole personality changed, I was a completely different person,” Caroline explains.
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From that moment, she embraced alternative treatments, a belief system she has carried into adulthood and which she has instilled in her children.
“I have always sought alternative routes,” the Queensland mum explains.
“We have always been on a low-sugar diet, for example.”
Caroline took nutrition to the next level and even started a ketogenic diet – a low-carb, high-fat food plan.
“I lost 28kg,” she proudly says.
“Apart from the weight loss, I was just feeling better all round.”
But she continued to battle health issues.
They included premenstrual dysphoric disorder – a severe form of PMS that can cause deliberating mood changes like extreme sadness, hopelessness, irritability or anger.
In 2021, stress prompted by COVID-19 led to Caroline being diagnosed with depression.
Her mental health was deteriorating and she was on the cusp of losing her job.
“I needed to do something,” she says.
She signed up online for a 180-day selfcare challenge, aiming to post a daily affirmation to help change her mindset.
But in the midst of the challenge, Caroline’s husband was killed in a truck accident – and in the blink of an eye, she became a widowed mother of three.
Thrown into a world of darkness, she tried to continue posting positive thoughts online.
But she was suffering from PTSD.
A concerned colleague suggested cannabis oil may provide some help.
Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD or Cannabidiol, is gaining popularity in the treatment of anxiety, stress and depression.
In 2016, some forms of the oil were made legal in Australia – under strict regulations and with the requirement for medical prescription.
Caroline sought advice from her GP who thought the oil was a good avenue to explore.
Taking a small drop every afternoon, the mum says she was finally able to calm her mind and enjoy better sleep.
Life is ‘manageable’
“It doesn’t eradicate the pain, but it makes everything feel manageable,” she says.
Almost a year after her husband’s death, Caroline is still grieving.
But she believes cannabis oil is helping her come to terms with her grief.
“CBD oil should be mainstream,” she says.
“Black market cannabis shouldn’t be your first option, it should always be commercial grade.”
Australia and medical cannabis: what you need to know
According to new TGA studies, medical cannabis has been prescribed to more than 217,000 Australians.
Of those, 42,000 were suffering from anxiety.
Second to chronic pain, anxiety is the most prescribed condition for medical cannabis, with one in five scripts written for those suffering the condition.
However, the TGA firmly believes education on the cannabis plant is limited.
It says more in-depth studies and education are needed to truly understand its potential benefits and possible side effects.
“There is a significant need for larger, high-quality studies to better explore the potential benefits, limitations and safety issues associated with medicinal cannabis treatment across a range of health conditions and symptoms,” the TGA states.
Matt Cantelo is CEO of Australian Natural Therapeutics Group, one of the largest growers and producers of medicinal cannabis in Australia.
He says there has been a huge shift in the past year, with a growing number of people asking for the medication.
“We are seeing record demand and interest is soaring,” Matt says.
“There’s been a shift from doctors during the pandemic, which means Australians are able to access regulated cannabis over black market products.”