The real faces of medicinal cannabis in Aotearoa

Over the last 18 months, Kiwis suffering from chronic pain, and some other chronic conditions, have had a healthy alternative treatment in the form of medicinal cannabis.

These products are prescribed like any regular medicine, following a full assessment by a GP to understand what the underlying conditions are, what the patient’s diagnosis should be, and whether the treatment should be CBD or a THC/CBD combination.

It’s easy to get caught up in the industry jargon and legislative nitty gritty when talking about the budding medicinal cannabis sector in New Zealand. But we shouldn’t lose sight of why we’re in this business: alleviating the severity of patient conditions.

Since becoming legalised, we’ve spoken with patients from all walks of life who have taken Eqalis medicinal cannabis products for various conditions.

Here are three stories from patients of our products we’ve spoken to about their experiences with medicinal cannabis products since the law change. Their names have been changed for privacy.


Jason is a 10-year-old boy who suffers from severe autism, which often takes the form of very aggressive and antisocial behaviour. His condition has started to be treated with CBD, something his mother describes as lifechanging.

Before his prescription, Jason would throw objects, break windows, and smash furniture in the house. It made him extremely difficult to take him out of the house, with supermarket trips often ending in tantrums and damaged stock. This was significanly negatively impacting both Jason and his mother’s quality of life.

Since being prescribed a CBD product – taking 120mg twice daily – Jason has become much calmer, with improved concerntration and fewer destructive tendencies. While some behavioural issues remain, there has been remarkable improvement, allowing for increased quality of life for both Jason and his mother.


After suffering a serious e-scooter accident, Frank was left with 10 broken ribs, multiple broken bones in his back and neck, punctured lungs and a broken clavicle, which affected the surrounding nerves causing loss of movement and sensation in his right arm.

He was placed in an induced coma for more than a month and his prognosis was regarded as very poor. Despite this, he managed to recover and enter into brain rehabilitation to learn to function again.

Once discharged, the ongoing chronic pain required a daily cocktail of 12 different painkillers.

The pain was unbearable. The combination of all the medicines was so stupefying he just couldn’t do more than attend appointments and sleep.

He eventually decided to try a low dose of CBD 30mg twice daily to alleviate his pain. The response was rapid and within three months, Frank was no longer taking any painkillers. The ongoing use of natural CBD products has helped manage his pain, as well as keeping his mind clear for day-to-day living.


For 15 years, Susan experienced poorly controlled intractable focal impairment epiliptic seizures, which came on at random times. Unfortunately, all standard epilepsy treatments had limited or no success.

As time went on, Susan began to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress. Without being able to find a reliable way to manage the seizures, she was unable to pursue a normal life. Relationships and employment became daunting and fell to the wayside.

At the suggestion of her neurologist, Susan started using a CBD product to try alleviate the seizures, eventually increasing the dose up to 480mg twice a day.

After only eight weeks, Susan had experienced something previously thought impossible – a full week without a single seizure. Subsequent to that she’s gone 17 months with very few seizures.

She currently has considerably less seizures overall, with a vast improvement in her quality of life. The resulting confidence has led to more socialising and Susan is currently looking into part-time employment as well.

These are the stories of three Kiwis whose lives have been improved by the use of medicinal cannabis products – three of thousands. But there will be others like Susan, like Jason, like Frank who are suffering from ailments that could benefit from being prescribed medicinal cannabis products.

As our industry continues to develop and grow, we need to continue education medical practitioners and the public about the benefits of medicinal cannabis.

By Mitch Cuevas, Pharmaceutical Director, Eqalis. Hear more from Mitch about New Zealand’s 2 Billion Dollar Opportunity at MedCan 2022

Eqalis is the gold sponsor of MedCan 2022