30-year-old Adam Poulter’s darkest moment was surviving a serious medical procedure to remove a tumor “the size of a tennis ball” from the base of his skull. Poulter knows that traditional medicine can only go so far, and the New Zealander might not be here today if he didn’t have the help from medical cannabis.
Poulter first knew something was wrong when he started having unexplainable seizures. Doctors found a high-grade oligodendroglioma glioma cancerous tumor lodged in his brain. After his diagnosis, Poulter began taking CBD-rich cannabis extract illegally in New Zealand. He’d just returned from Western Australia, where medical cannabis is beginning to bloom. At least four doctors and one surgeon saw improvement and urged Poulter to continue using medical cannabis. He says that the seizures ceased until he was forced to stop taking cannabis in preparation for the operating table. The surgery left him completely disabled on his left side. A metal plate with five screws now covers the back of his head. Poulter says he was rendered a “klutz” and that one of the reasons he takes cannabis is from the pain of physically falling down around the house.
“I am actively interacting with others to make a physical effort to be seen openly treating myself using cannabis since I have declined chemotherapy and radiation therapy against the advice of multiple oncologists who even tried using bully tactics to encourage me too.”
Compared to the alternatives which consist of radiation and chemotherapy, Poulter has seen magic from medical cannabis in areas where contemporary medicine fell short. Anti-convulsants didn’t help reduce the seizures. Poulter’s case is just one example in a sea of thousands that proves how medical cannabis can treat serious medical conditions without destroying the immune system, losing appetite and the other serious side effects from traditional treatment.
“Many others in New Zealand are living in pain without this alternative treatment being available,” Poulter told CULTURE, suggesting there’s more work to be done. “I am actively interacting with others to make a physical effort to be seen openly treating myself using cannabis since I have declined chemotherapy and radiation therapy against the advice of multiple oncologists who even tried using bully tactics to encourage me too.”
Poulter says above all reasons; cannabis helps him to think positively. “My anti-seizure meds caused me to have thoughts of aggression, suicidal thoughts and self-harm,” Poulter explains. Waking up with partial paralysis was a tough pill to swallow.
Both medical and recreational cannabis are currently illegal in New Zealand. A very small number of patients have been given authorization through New Zealand’s Ministry of Health. A legal loophole in the Misuse of Drug Act 1975 strangely allows anyone who is legally prescribed cannabis overseas to bring one month’s supply of the medicine into New Zealand—but that doesn’t help citizens like Poulter. Poulter believes that all New Zealanders have the right to live pain-free. “I encourage all to take a stand against this human right issue denying our right of choice to live pain free.”
Despite being a figurehead for serious medical cannabis reform, Poulter can see the benefits from recreational cannabis as well. “I also believe the right to use recreationally is another issue of prohibition in New Zealand which needs to be addressed in the form of re-legalising not decriminalization. I do not believe a non-toxic plant needs this form of restriction with penalty, neither regulation.”
“Quality control for medical use is needed,” Poulter stipulates.
“Things have changed for me and the country has changed. I have been going hard to get better, making great advances in health and nationwide awareness. I have been shaking the boat a bit, getting in people’s faces and being the self-acclaimed country Kiwi that I am.”
Poulter worries about the helicopters frequently circle overhead due to the media coverage he’s attracted. His page “COULD Cannabis CURE?” features posts of his highlights and setbacks. Regular videos log his ingestion methods and give his followers updates. Making “too much noise” has had its unintended consequences. “I have evidence of the New Zealand government and involvement in active undercover operations targeting growers to take over a market and control it.”
Supporting cannabis regulations has also drawn contention from other in New Zealand’s cannabis industry. “I am also the target of blackmarket groups who do not like my approach of calling out all the fake, lying rip off agents,” he says.
He considers the issue a serious one. “I encourage people to squash the stigma of cannabis by acts of civil disobedience,” Poulter concludes. “To make a stand, to get off Facebook and stand for something; to take on the war on drugs head on in New Zealand; to grow your own. Things have changed for me and the country has changed. I have been going hard to get better, making great advances in health and nationwide awareness. I have been shaking the boat a bit, getting in people’s faces and being the self-acclaimed country Kiwi that I am.”
The efficacy of medical cannabis for the treatment of variety of seizures has been reinforced by numerous studies. The punishment for the cultivation of cannabis in New Zealand is a seven-year stay in prison. Poulter will treat himself with medical cannabis whether it’s legal or not. The era of hiding, he believes, is over. “Use cannabis openly,” Poulter bids to all cannabis users.