'There is a cure': Cancer patient demands marijuana be legalised in Australia

Kamilia Palu

WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGES: A Wollongong cancer patient has accused the Australian Government of ‘ignoring’ a potential cure for cancer, saying marijuana is the answer and should no longer be illegal.

Before undergoing two operations totalling 43 hours, Paul Lawrence was told he was going to die.

Mr Lawrence had a series of titanium rods inserted into his spine during the gruelling operation. Photo: Supplied/Paul Lawrence
Mr Lawrence had a series of titanium rods inserted into his spine during the gruelling operation. Photo: Supplied/Paul Lawrence

The 53-year-old had a chordoma spinal tumour, a rare form of cancer that resulted in a football-sized mass being removed from his spine along with three vertebrae.

“They didn’t expect me to survive surgery,” he told Yahoo7.

While doctors weren’t able to remove all of the cancer from his body, they were able to buy him time.

Six years on, he is fighting hard to legalise a drug that he says is more effective than any medication given to him by doctors.

“I was taking up to 10 pills a day,” he said.

“I was getting what I was calling ‘toxic meltdowns’ - it was s***loads worse than a hangover. Sweating hot and sweating cold.

The Wollongong father said his prescribed medications (left) were 'killing him'. A number of titanium rods were inserted into his spine during the surgery (right). Photo: Supplied/Paul Lawrence
The Wollongong father said his prescribed medications (left) were 'killing him'. A number of titanium rods were inserted into his spine during the surgery (right). Photo: Supplied/Paul Lawrence

“It got to the point when I couldn’t take my son to school one day. I went cold turkey on everything.

“It took two months for the haze to clear. That was when the cloud started to lift off my mind.”

Mr Lawrence researched alternate medications and started taking marijuana in several different forms, from cannabis oil under his tongue to fresh leaves in his smoothies.

He said the only side effects of the controversial plant were feeling hungry and tired.

“The quality of life I have now compared to what I had two years ago is absolutely unbelievable,” he said.

The father-of-one believes without a doubt that this is the answer the world has been looking for.

“There is a cure for cancer. Why is the whole world not jumping up and down and embracing it? I can’t comprehend it.

“There is a cure and our government is ignoring it.”

The father of one said he believes marijuana to be effective and safe. Photo: Facebook/Paul Lawrence
The father of one said he believes marijuana to be effective and safe. Photo: Facebook/Paul Lawrence

In February, the Australian government passed laws legalising the growth of medical marijuana.

The New South Wales government also announced it is trialling the use of cannabis and cannabis-based products in adults with terminal illness, but despite these steps forward, Mr Lawrence is afraid it is all talk.

“That’s all that’s going at the moment – lip service,” he said.

Mr Lawrence's oncologist Dr Colin Chen agreed that some patients will find effective pain relief in medical marijuana, but also warned of potential side effects including lung and mental health problems.

"I like to be open minded about this," Dr Chen told ABC News last year.

"Certainly, I can see it seems to work really well for Paul.

Mr Lawrence has been left with scars covering his body. Photo: Supplied/Paul Lawrence
Mr Lawrence has been left with scars covering his body. Photo: Supplied/Paul Lawrence

"I think on a larger scale the best thing to do in this situation is to have a clinical trial."

Mr Lawrence plans to attend the ‘Free Cannabis NSW’ protest on Saturday, and will also make an appearance at the Hemp, Health & Innovation Expo at Rosehill Racecourse in mid-May.

Related:

Sydney man makes plea to parliament over illegal medication



How Australia is one step closer to legalising medicinal marijuana

News break – April 6