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Medical cannabis could give paraplegic pain-free future

TRIAL HOPE: Dan Heinemann, who was injured in a workplace accident eight years ago, believes he could do away with much of his medication if he could take part in the medicinal cannabis trials announced by the Queensland Government.
TRIAL HOPE: Dan Heinemann, who was injured in a workplace accident eight years ago, believes he could do away with much of his medication if he could take part in the medicinal cannabis trials announced by the Queensland Government. Chris Ison Rokcpain

EIGHT years ago, an horrific workplace accident left Dan Heinemann a paraplegic.

Since then the Gracemere man has suffered almost constant pain and pins and needles in his legs.

But the possibility of joining a medicinal cannabis trial is something giving Dan and wife Debbie hope for 2016.

Dan's spinal cord was severed when a six-tonne pipe attached to a mobile shade cloth fell and hit his head during a routine mining equipment cleaning at a Rockhampton work site in 2007.

Doctors gave Dan just a 5% chance of surviving the injuries.

Debbie yesterday told The Morning Bulletin they were hopeful Dan could take part in a trial of medicinal cannabis which doctors believe would help relieve pain and improve his quality of life.

While no date has yet been set for the Queensland and New South Wales government trial, it is expected to start in 2016.

Debbie said they had tried many different treatments for Dan's pain, including acupuncture, hypnosis, massages and stem cell implants.

Yet nothing has been successful in helping reduce the pain, which Debbie said impacted Dan's life every day.

Debbie said when she heard the government would undertake a trial, she just hoped the process would be quick.

"All the research we've done says that it will help so much," she said.

"It will finally give him a quality of life to be pain free or pain less."

Dan deals with the pain by taking a variety of strong medications, something Debbie said they could look to change if they were able to take part in the trial.

Debbie said some of Dan's current medications also had the potential to shorten his life by up to a decade.

"He misses out on so much with family and friends because he's drugged up so much," Debbie said.

Debbie said the chance to take part in a trial would "mean the world" to Dan and the family.

"What everyone else takes for granted, we haven't got," she said.

"We miss so many events because of the pain, he just can't go anywhere."

Topics:  health medical cannabis workplace accident



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