Translation of article Haarlems Dagblad.
September 9, 2003.
Where is the medical manual?
Weed test by medical users.
Haarlem – It is available for a week now. On prescription of the doctor,
from the pharmacy: Mediweed, or : Cannabis flos simm 18. The distribution is
not yet going smoothly in everywhere. No medical manual or knowledge about
the product in the pharmacy, as it shows from experience of two users:
59-year-old Heleen Weber and 47-year-old David van Haard. There is no
clarity about an eventual refund of the gear as well.
Heleen and David have each tested 5 grams, especially for Haarlems Dagblad,
costs: 76,11 euros. For the time being, only David’s bill will be picked up.
Heleen Weber is 59 and is suffering from posttraumatic dystrophy, rheumatism
and osteoporosis. She shattered her lower leg in a fall with her bike in the
“After that, I developed posttraumatic dystrophy, a disease that has only
been acknowledged for a couple of years now. The disease makes your muscle
ends deteriorate. I am in constant pain, but I try to avoid painkillers as
much as possible, my stomach has been ruined already too.”
On request of this newspaper, she ordered ten grams of Mediweed for David
“I my self smoke weed from Willie Wortel’s for years already. I have a
special card that gives me a discount in the coffeeshop on the Koudehorn.
Ten grams of weed cost 35 euros there, for the normal customers the price is
double. In case you are a first time user, you get a very detailed
explanation. They tell you to start carefully, with 0.33 grams of weed at a
time to start with. But they also tell you how you can use it, do you want
to smoke it or make a herbal butter with it? At Willie Wortel’s, they have a
special device to grind your weed, which makes it easier to use it in foods.
You need to know all that before you start using it, without knowing this,
it might all go wrong. If you use too much, you will get sick, nauseous and
The experience with the pharmacy was peculiar, as Heleen told: “I went to
the Park Pharmacy last Wednesday, with a prescription issued by my doctor.
Consequently, I had to wait for two days for the weed to be in stock. When I
came to collect it, it was just given me. No explanation or manual. The
pharmacy assistants all wanted to know how to use it! They all wanted to see
it. One even snuffed at it; she even asked if it could not harm me.”
Incredible, in Heleen’s opinion. “They (the Dutch Government) have been
preparing this set up for so long, but in the pharmacies they do not know
nothing at all.”
The weed is fine, Heleen smoked it. “But I am an experienced user, so I know
how to roll a joint. I know how to make a filter and I know not to use
shag-tobacco, but a grinded cigarette, because they are drier. You also need
special rolling papers. You cannot get all that at the pharmacy. I can
understand that, for it is not a coffeeshop, but they could have prepared
things a bit better.””
“I use only a little weed in my joint. I only smoke the joint partially, and
only before I go to bed. That is ideal, it makes me sleep wonderfully. I
have so much pain I cannot even bare to feel a sheet on my leg. The pain
makes me hit the ceiling, with weed I do a lot better. I would really
recommend weed, but: Be careful and take your time, is my advice.”
Her Mediweed is not yet refunded, so she will not be going to the pharmacy
“I was shocked when the bill was presented! 76,11 euros for ten grams of
weed, I pay half of that at Willie Wortel’s with my special weed card, and I
get served better as well.”
Over twenty-five years ago, David van Haard,
now 47, was diagnosed to have an eye-nerve infection,
He also had a bad coordination. In spite of this, it took seven years before
he was diagnosed to suffer from multiple sclerosis.
“I ended up in hospital after an attack. Before that I could not walk
properly, I walked like a drunk. It felt as if my feet were loaded with
lead. My vision got vague, and that got worse and worse.”
In the hospital the diagnose was MS. “Multiple Sclerosis is a disease in
your nerve system, the isolation layer of your nerves are being damaged. The
bad thing about the disease is that they can diagnose it, but they do not
know the cause and so there are no medicines against it.”
For that reason, David hardly takes any medication. He does use a medicine
to control the muscles of his bladder. “I have a reasonably progressive form
of MS, which means I get worse rapidly.”
David is in his electrical wheelchair at home. On the street he moves around
with a scootmobile. He is having spasms all day. Cramps in his muscles,
which continue for hours sometimes, each muscle cramping independent of the
others. He already lost control of his lower body. He is being helped in and
out of bed, each morning and evening, by people from Thuiszorg (Care at
Home). He is in pain too, especially when he is stressed the cramps get
triggered. “I slowly feel a spasm coming up, and that can continue for
hours. It wears me out and it is very painful.”
He tested the weed on request of Haarlems Dagblad.
“The sad thing was that there was no manual of use included. It must be so
new that they do not have such thing yet. I have picked up a manual at
Willie Wortel’s coffeeshop to find out what you can do with the weed. You
can even make herb butter with it. The weed is a grey-brown substance, in
fact they are dried flower buds. I drank tea of it on Friday evening. I
boiled water that afternoon, and added a lump of butter to enable the weed
(David means THC. NvS.) to attach to it. I sifted the tea that evening, and
drank it after that. It tastes like an herbal tea, it has a very distinctive
taste. After that, I went to bed, I felt more relaxed almost directly. A bit
dazed. Not stoned, no, but that is impossible, because it hardly contains
any hallucinating ingredients. How do I know that? My 20-year-old son told
me that. He heard it from some friends.”
Unfortunately, David had a rude awakening from his daze by a telephone
ringing. “You must make sure you do not get disturbed. I did not feel like
using the tea another time, just for the effect of it.”
According to a Silver Cross (Health Insurance) spokesperson, their company
has a tolerant policy towards the weed. That means only MS patients get the
medicine refunded, with a note from the neurologist. For other cases, the
Silver Cross will wait for the advice of the Minister of Health first.
The Board for Hospital-resources is currently working on a report.
By: Annalaura Molducci.