Carmarthen dad Brad Stephens fears how his children will see him because he takes cannabis to ease pain
A DAD has spoken of how he fears his children will see him as a shell of a man because he is taking cannabis to ease severe pain from a spinal condition.
Brad Stephens, of Coronation Road, Carmarthen, was speaking after pleading guilty to possessing 1.1 grammes of cannabis and 4.6 grammes of cannabis resin when he appeared before Llanelli magistrates.
His problems include spinal condition cervical spondylosis, the after-effects of TB, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and migraines.
Following the court case, Mr Stephens said he would love to stop taking the drug but felt he often had no choice but to keep using it.
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"Of course I would like to give it up," he said.
"There are so many pluses to not taking it, but when you're in severe pain, you've got £10, and you know it's going to get you five or six hours of pain relief, you are going to spend it.
"It seems like I'm never going to be able to come off it because I don't want to be that person sitting in a chair in pain when there's a medicine out there that can help me.
"I don't want my children to see a shell of a man.
"I don't know a way off it — I'm trapped."
Mr Stephens wants the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes to be made legal.
"A cannabis-based spray (Sativex) is used to treat MS sufferers and they suffer from the same symptoms.
"The nerve pain is similar, jumping, uncontrollable legs in spasms and moving on their own. Cannabis removes all that and it controls the pain to a level."
Mr Stephens said he had suffered with cervical spondylosis since 1982, and turned to cannabis in 1989.
"I was quite anti-drugs," he said. "I met this chap who was telling me about the benefits of marijuana.
"As time went by I got sicker and sicker and then I met somebody who was able to get me some cannabis.
"It was like a miracle drug.
"Without cannabis I have no quality of life whatsoever.
"If I take cannabis I feel normal.
"I don't believe it is addictive as a drug, but it is addictive to an ill person who has got no quality of life without it.
"I'm not saying it's for everybody and I'm not advocating for everybody to use it."
Mr Stephens said his family had been affected by his use of the drug.
"A stigma has been attached to me, they look at me as a drug baron or a dealer rather than an ill man. I have never dealt drugs myself.
"You watch your children being affected by it and it's heartbreaking."
In court the 55-year-old was ordered to pay £135 in fines and costs.