Photo by Michael Craig /

Legalization | 04.28.2022

Grandmother Becomes The First Patient In New Zealand To Legally Use Medical Cannabis

Pearl Schomburg needed a healthier alternative to prescription drugs, marching over to a clinic and making it happen.

“Patients like me, we are not interested in getting high and feeling stoned. We are interested in getting better,” said New Zealand native Peal Schomburg, who recently became the first person in the country to legally use medical-grade cannabis flower.

Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and recurring nausea, Schomburg sought a healthier and less addictive alternative to help treat this condition and several others. In an interview with the Weekend Herald, Schomburg explained that she realized something needed to change when picking up her many prescriptions at an Auckland pharmacy. 

“I remember staring in the window of the chemist shop, and I couldn’t believe this was my life,” she told the outlet. After ten long years of waiting for some kind of hope for a future alternative to prescription drugs, Schomburg is now the first person in New Zealand to legally use medical cannabis flower for her conditions. 

Photo by Michael Craig /

The flower is grown and sourced from Australia, and according to reports, it only has 10% THC and a far more generous dose of CBD to combat anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and inflammation. 

Schomburg first started considering cannabis as an alternative medicine when her friend and 75-year old mother were both diagnosed with cancer and tried the plant to cope with anxiety, nausea, and pain. But, because this meant using cannabis illegally, that brought a sense of guilt and fear for both Schomburg’s mother and friend.

“If you’re like my mum whose grown up thinking it was the devil’s lettuce and no value what’s so ever, then that’s a dreadful burden for sick people to carry,” Schomburg told the Weekend Herald.

This led her to enlighten physicians at the Cannabis Clinic in Takapuna on why the plant should be offered through a prescription basis for those struggling with the many conditions cannabis can aid.

Photo by Lucas Fonseca

Thanks to help from Dr. Waseem Maan Alzaher and Australian Natural Therapeutics Group (ANTG) chief executive Matt Cantelo, Schomburg’s mission was a success. The flower is sourced from ANTG, and given to clinics like Alzaher’s, where he’s now permitted to prescribe the plant. 

What caught his attention was how your usual prescription drugs have the potential to create “a prescriptive cycle,” where a patient’s use results in side effects that could only be reduced with more drugs…thanks, big pharma. 

Noticing this, Alzaher concluded that he believes medical professionals need to “challenge the status quo,” and doing this by solving issues of “chronic pain in a better way and not just keep handing out more prescriptions for more side effects.”

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