It's awful when someone you love is in pain.

My mum has recently had a hip replacement and she's back to her old self, just a couple of months after the operation. But in the days and weeks and months leading up to her hospital date, she was in a prison of pain.

It came upon her suddenly - there was no gradual process indicating that her hip was failing and she'd be needing a new one imminently.

She had a bit of back pain, pain in her knee - aches she put down to getting older. But when her hip failed her, it collapsed completely.


And all of a sudden, her old life was over. She's a competitive 18-hole golfer; she walks for at least an hour every day; she loves the swim fitness classes at her local pool; she's an avid bridge player and she's a voracious reader.

Suddenly, almost overnight, she could do none of these things. She couldn't move and she couldn't sit. She couldn't sleep and being awake was intolerable because of the pain.

My mum is not a wuss - she has a high pain threshold - but this time, she was forced to concede defeat.

Despite the super industrial strength pain killers she had to sign for at the chemist, despite harnessing the power of positive thinking and repeating the mantra that there were plenty of people worse off then her, my vital, interested, interesting, active mother saw her world reduced to the four walls of her home and what energy she had was harnessed into trying to manage the pain.

We were lucky, because Mum and the family between us had the wherewithal to pay for a private operation and so she didn't have to endure this sort of half life for more than a couple of months.

Had she been on the public waiting list it would have been at least eight months, and although people just have to cope, I hate to think what their state of mind is like by the time they get rolled into theatre.

Had Mum had to wait any longer than she did, I would have procured cannabis in some form for her to try.

And had Mum had to wait any longer than she did, I am almost certain that my law-abiding, colour between the lines mother would have tried it.

Cannabis is not my thing. It's definitely not Mum's. And I'm still not sure I agree with decriminalising it as a recreational drug.

But introducing legislation to all medical cannabis to be used - hell, yes.

Already some New Zealand families are self-prescribing and self-administering cannabis because it's the only relief they can get and despite claims from some medical professionals that there's no need for cannabis because synthetic drugs available can do the job, that's simply not true.

Everybody is different and will respond to drugs in a different way. Of course, that means that cannabis won't be a panacea for all pain. But surely it's worth a try.

Australia has cleared the way for medical cannabis to be grown and distributed and it must only be a matter of time before New Zealand lawmakers do the same.