In 1980, I found I was constantly fatigued and kept stumbling about as if I was drunk, falling over for no apparent reason. I broke my ribs twice. I continued to stumble about, refusing to give in, until my wife Margaret insisted that I went to visit our family Doctor.
After some tests he told me that he wanted me to go into hospital. I told him, angrily, that no way was I going into any ruddy hospital as I was far too busy working on my farm to indulge in the 'luxury' of spending time idle in bed.
My GP told me bluntly that he suspected that I could have a tumour on my spine, which if not seen to could develop into something serious. So I reluctantly agreed to go into hospital, but only after I had completed our spring work. Once in hospital I was told that they had some good news, and some not so good news. The good news was that I didn't have a spinal tumour, but they were 99% sure that I had Multiple Sclerosis. Further tests, such as a lumbar puncture, proved this was true.
Unfortunately my condition deteriorated. And a few years later, they also diagnosed that I had prostate cancer and diabetes.
Of course, I fought hard not to let these stupid ailments stop me working and tried all sorts of remedial treatments, including HBO (Hyberaric Oxygen).
After I was diagnosed with cancer, the neurologist prescribed morphine sulphate, which did helped more than the usual pain relievers like paracetamol. But then I read an article in the press about Jeff Ditchfield, who wanted to open an Amsterdam-type 'coffee shop' in Rhyl from where, on receipt of a Doctor's letter confirming that one does have MS, pure cannabis could be obtained, free of charge.
I have been lobbying MPs for a number of years to have cannabis legalised for people with MS who experience great pain. I used to be a local councillor, and appeared on the front page of our Daily Post with my photograph and a headline in block capitals that read 'Ex-councillor wants cannabis legalised'!
I think it's most unfair that people with MS who want to use cannabis for pain relief have to go to some backstreet drug supplier to obtain it. I have been taking cannabis four times a day for a few months now and the effects have been excellent, improving my quality of life tremendously. I have no hesitation in recommending cannabis to others with MS or cancer.
I read a statement which was issued by the House of Lords two years ago which stated: 'We now have sufficient evidence to convince us that a doctor should be able to prescribe cannabis (taken orally, not smoked) legitimately to an MS patient without fear of prosecution'. Yet still it remains unavailable to many of us who could benefit from it.
More information about the medicinal use of cannabis is available at www.helpcannabisresearch.org.