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Morbus Crohn patient and hemp gardener

Published in DIE ZEIT, renowned German weekly paper Feb 12th 2004

For Michael Große cannabis is an essential-to-life medicine. Therefore he fights to grow his own.

(…)He inhales the illegal drug against the symptoms of his illness. He is suffering from Morbus Crohn, a chronic inflammation of his intestines that torments him with spasms, diarrhoea, and abscesses. There is no cure for Morbus Crohn; common medicines can soothe the pains only inadequately.

(…)In Germany cannabis as a medicine is discussed only in hemp activist circles. For Große this was an unknown world. But did he not have to look for some way out of his absolutely hopeless situation? His doctor, completely at a loss himself after a ten year’s orthodox treatment, recommended a self test. “One morning I smoked it in the bathroom”. (…) followed by relief: “For the first time I could sleep for more than four hours in a row! I hadn’t had that in years!” One gram is enough to him for five days without pains. He finally could get out of his house, to visit a restaurant, cinemas. He bought his stuff at the black market.

A legal alternative would have been the in-part synthesised Dronabinol, but this failed Große’s self test. “I felt like splattered in my head”, and Dronabinol would have cost about thirty times as much as his self-treatment with cannabis. Some time Große decided to cultivate his newly discovered healing plant himself. He enthusiastically explains cannabis is not all the like, only selected breeding brings optimum results.

Soon Große was aware that smoked cannabis is even more carcinogenic than normal cigarettes, about seven times as much. Inhaling without smoking is the better solution, he learnt. The Association Cannabis as a Medicine holds inhalers in store, developed by two affected patients. “Smoking was yesterday, today it is vaporizing”. A halogen bulb vaporizes cannabis at exactly controlled temperatures. “It’s like inhaling camomile”, laughs Große. In winter times he opened the door of his growing cabinet, reading books in the light of his 600-Watts light system and he inhaled his cannabis medicine. He felt as good as never since ages, weed gave him warmth and support.

Everything went well for four years. About his new therapeutic Große only talked with his doctor and some good friends. (…)But in May 2000 his home grower’s idyll got busted (…) police searched his apartment and found his bedroom plantation…

He found assistance from “Die Gruene Hilfe” (green aid) and got the address of a lawyer, Robert Wenzel (…) Nine months later the first trial. Together with five more plaintiffs he wants cannabis as a therapeutic is not only tolerated in scarce cases but becomes legal. If Große and the others are successful the decision of court opens a new chapter in dealing with cannabis – and will change the lives of hundred thousands of patients in Germany suffering from MS, cancers, pains, or AIDS.

The BfArM (German federal institute for medicines and medical products) can only imagine a political solution:” (…) it had to be decided, to move cannabis from committee enclosure 1 to enclosure 3 (…) but in Germany the minister of the Interior, Mr Schily, and drug tsar Mrs. Marion Caspers-Merk will refuse (…)”

So far excerpts from the article. research&experience wants to remind you: court trials are expensive, even if lawyer Robert Wenzel, Hamburg, is not overpaid and works with a lot of idealism. The IACM urgently needs your donation, see www.cannabis-med.org