A Rotorua mother says cost and reluctance to talk about medicinal cannabis are preventing people gaining huge relief and benefits from the drug.

Her daughter Zoe Jeffries has uncontrolled epilepsy, spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, microcephaly, cerebral visual impairment and has had severe seizures since birth.

The Ministry of Health last year approved an application for Zoe to use the cannabis product Sativex.

The drug is unfunded by Government support and costs more than $1000 a month for her conditions.


Mother Karen Jeffries said the cost of the product was a huge burden but a Givealittle campaign to fund it had been "amazing". Donors have given $7240 so far to the cause.

In addition to its cost, reluctance among health professionals to talk about medicinal cannabis could also be a barrier to its use, she said.

Her family had done their own research around the drug and there was a long road to getting access to it, she said.

The drug was initially approved for six months and that had recently been extended for another year.

Mrs Jeffries said Sativex had made Zoe more alert and the family would see what other effects it had throughout the coming year. Kim Fulton