Patrick Gower and dad break down in tears over mum's cancer death

In 2006, Newshub national correspondent Patrick Gower's mother Joan was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

One year later, she died after a slow and painful battle. She was just 57 years old.

"She was in incredible pain. She had to be pumped full of morphine to get to the end over many months," Patrick says.

"She had nightmares and she had insomnia and she was in pain. She was bedridden."

Patrick's dad Gordon cared for her after she fell ill. He says it was a "tough" year.

"You're helpless. There was nothing you could do when the real pain set in. There was just nothing," Gordon says, breaking down. "There was f**k all you could do."

Patrick now blames himself for not doing more to ease his mother's pain.

"What I've learned is that I feel that I let her down by not learning more about cannabis and being able to provide something to her," Patrick says. "I didn't know there were drops, but I didn't try to find out and I do feel I could have helped her."

Patrick says he's sure his mother would have taken it, and asks Gordon if he would have offered Joan medicinal cannabis.

"When you get to the stage that your mum was, anything's an option for pain relief," Gordon replies.

Joan Gower following her cancer diagnosis.
Joan Gower following her cancer diagnosis. Photo credit: Supplied

Gower then went to meet one of those who have used it legally as a medicine. Scarlet was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia aged 14 and has been in and out of the hospital and the symptoms have been truly severe. At its worst, she says her blood "feels like it's on fire" and she "prays to be gone".

"It's like having the flu, all the time," she told Newshub. "When I would flare, I would be in bed for weeks. I couldn't do anything, I couldn't play with my wee boy - nothing."

But when she began using CBD oil made by a Canadian company last year, she says her life was changed beyond recognition.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm cured," she says. "100 percent, I don't have any of the symptoms I had before. I haven't spent one day in bed since I started CBD. I think it's just magical. It's just amazing. I've got a life - my little boy has mum."

But there was a problem. Her bottle of medicine cost $700 and would only last three weeks.

"I went 'I can't not be on this, but I can't afford $700 every three weeks for the rest of my life'," she told Newshub. "It wasn't doable for me. I don't think that's doable [for hardly anyone]."

As a result she's turned to Rose Renton, a green fairy - one of those supplying cannabis medicine on the black market.

You can watch the full documentary on ThreeNow.