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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Woman defends cannabis use
Biz Ivol
Mrs Ivol said the drug was a last resort
A multiple sclerosis sufferer has said she does not believe using cannabis to relieve her pain is wrong.

Appearing at Kirkwall Sheriff Court Elizabeth Ivol, 55, denies three charges in relation to the handling of cannabis.

Mrs Ivol, also known as Biz, of South Ronaldsay, said cannabis was the only drug which eased her pain.

Mrs Ivol, who uses a wheelchair, said the pain she felt was like having "barbed wire going through my spine".

It got to the point where I felt that nobody was doing anything for MS and when you find something that does alleviate the symptoms you go for it
Elizabeth Ivol

The case is being held at the town's leisure complex to allow disabled access for Mrs Ivol's wheelchair.

She told the court that her former island GP had recommended using cannabis, but she only used the drug after two years of toying with the idea.

Mrs Ivol said she had tried a long list of legal medication - some of which resulted in "horrific" side effects.

She came up with the idea of developing cannabis chocolates after agreeing to help a non-smoking MS sufferer.

'Muscle spasms'

Mrs Ivol said: "We had to figure out a way of getting cannabis into his system, he did not smoke, and that's how the cannabis chocolate came about."

Questioned by advocate David Moggach, Mrs Ivol said she "never actually encouraged anybody to use cannabis".

The court heard that her life had become almost unbearable due to her deteriorating condition.

She said: "At the moment I feel like somebody's pulling barbed wire through my spine.

"I have muscle spasms and my eyesight's failing but it has not gone yet. It is very, very painful.

'Like a zombie'

"I'm completely and utterly paralysed from the neck down, more or less. I can make myself a cup of tea, if my hands are alive, and answer the phone.

"Usually by one o'clock my fingers are paralysed - I can't even hold a pen."

Mrs Ivol told the court she had tried prescription medication as well as special diets but nothing seemed to work.

Describing the effects of one type of tranquilliser she said: "I just sat in a chair, looking like a zombie and gazing out of the window."

The court heard that, although apprehensive at first, Mrs Ivol eventually began smoking one cannabis joint each evening.

Trial adjourned

She said: "It got to the point where I felt that nobody was doing anything for MS and when you find something that does alleviate the symptoms you go for it."

Mr Moggach asked her: "And you found something that helped?"

"Cannabis," she replied.

She added: "It is not like a nasty chemical drug, it is a natural God-given plant.

"It was either cannabis or nothing. I tried everything else and nothing worked."

Mrs Ivol denies a charge of possession of cannabis, a charge of supplying cannabis and a charge of the cultivation of cannabis.

The trial, before Sheriff Colin Scott Mackenzie, was adjourned until 2 July.

Jackie O'Brien reports
"Elizabeth Ivol insists she's done nothing wrong"

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17 Aug 01  |  UK News

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