Hey guys! I’ve got a complicated, controversial and important topic to talk about today — one that’s become very close to my heart and that I’m becoming more and more involved with.
Just the words cannabis, marijuana, pot, weed, etc can conjure up a lot of different stigmas – I know it did for me, too.
If you’ve been following my instagram story or you’re subscribed to my weekly Friday newsletter, you’ve seen that I’ve been talking a lot about medical marijuana (and medicinal mushrooms, but that will be another post).
As I mentioned in my newsletter today, I am sensitive to the fact that the topic of cannabis brings up resistance for many people. I get it. Personally, I spent the second half of my 20’s sitting in 12-step meetings, where there’s a zero tolerance attitude towards all drugs, so becoming a cannabis activist is the last thing I ever anticipated. I am very sensitive to the topic of drugs and addiction in general. But this is information that I’ve found myself caring about immensely – and it may help someone – so I can’t keep to myself, even if it may be controversial and ruffle some feathers.
And as Steve DeAngelo says in The Cannabis Manifesto:
“As I learned more about cannabis, my understanding of it evolved. Before encountering the plant, I had viewed cannabis as an intoxicant, because that’s the only way it had been described to me.
And then I discovered the preventative and curative properties of cannabis. It’s ability to control seizures, lift depression and anxiety, shrink cancer tumors, and prevent alzheimer’s. I fell in love with the plant. I couldn’t stand the idea of its value being overlooked or people being persecuted because they recognize that value.
Choose cannabis for wellness, not intoxication.
Cannabis should have never been made illegal. Cannabis has ALWAYS been a medicine. It prevents, cures and relieves some of the most grave medical conditions plaguing humankind. The real criminals are those who deny patients the treatment they need.”
I haven’t shared about this on the blog yet, because I wanted to gather enough information before I did – and I also wanted to be far enough away from the “inciting incident” that propelled me into cannabis research to be able to speak about this from a relatively calm place.
The inciting incident that propelled me onto a cannabis journey:
The day before Thanksgiving, my dad (arguably the best guy in the whole world) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. If you don’t know anything about pancreatic cancer, well, it’s not an exciting diagnosis to get. Not that any cancer is. But let’s just say pancreatic cancer is considered one of the more challenging ones.
The “finding out” phase was the most difficult for me and my family. We spent most of Thanksgiving with tears brimming in our eyes, eating our tasteless food and not knowing what to say.
Shortly after, though, we got into solution mode. We started to do some research. My wonderful sister helped to get him transferred to one of the best cancer hospitals in the world (Dana Farber). He is undergoing traditional chemotherapy treatments with the hospital, so I got to work on my research for how I could best support him nutritionally through the process.
The more we researched and the more healing stories we discovered, the more hopeful – and even joyful – we became.
One of the first things I heard about in the cannabis field was recommended to me by one of my closest friends, Nicole — she said, “you should do some research on CBD oil.”
I immediately stayed up all night researching, and found a ton of information that seemed promising about CBD oil and cancer. I found a place in NYC (The Alchemist’s Kitchen) that sold bottles of CBD oil, and I bought a tincture and some capsules to take to my dad.
But I wanted to understand why I could purchase these CBD oils in stores without a problem, but other CBD oils had to be purchased at a dispensary. What was the difference? What’s the deal with CBD vs. THC? What are the laws?
Nicole gave me the contact info for Meg Worden, who does “Cannabis Consultation” phone calls – and I got in touch immediately. I knew that if I was going to dive into the world of cannabis products, I needed some specifics on where to start. Meg was amazing and pointed me in the right direction regarding the laws in Massachusetts (where my dad lives), and what our next steps should be.
I found out that CBD is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant, and THC is the part that makes you feel high. It’s also the THC part that dictates legality.
CBD (cannabidiol) from the hemp part of the cannabis plant doesn’t contain THC (or, contains .3 percent or less) and is legal in all 50 US states, which is why I could purchase that hemp-derived CBD oil at a store.
CBD on its own (the legal kind I could purchase at a store) has been known to be effective in treating anxiety, PTSD, sleep issues, pain, inflammation and more, without the psychoactive effects of THC.
Here’s a good overview on CBD and Hemp from WikiLeaf.
CBD oil that contains higher levels of THC than .3 percent, from the marijuana (leaf) part of the cannabis plant, is only legal in medical or recreational marijuana states.
Here’s a map of the marijuana laws by state as of 2017 (although this is rapidly changing, so keep checking).
In researching the different kinds of medicinal properties of cannabis, my dad and I found that many people were using full extract oil to (allegedly) kill cancer cells.
When I say full extract, I mean it contains both CBD and THC, a 1:1 ratio, and is super concentrated. So it’s not the kind you can just purchase at any store – you need to get it from a dispensary.
This is what it looks like (from Healthy Pharms, a local dispensary).
THC is considered to be particularly medicinal when it comes to cancer. The higher level of THC in the product you’re consuming, the more medicinal it can be, but the more psychoactive effects you may feel.
Some of the resources we looked at to find this inormation:
Part 1: watch here
Part 2: watch here
(There’s a part 3 and I can’t find it online — but it was on the AWE network).
The National Cancer Institute (Cancer.gov) says that cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells.
The Cannabis Manifesto book – I’m reading this now
…..and many, many searches on CBD oil, cannabis and cancer.
After seeing all of this, we knew we had to at least give it a try. I mean, if people are saying it kills cancer cells!? How could we not?!
To be clear, we did run it by my dad’s oncologist at the beginning of the process. While he didn’t say it could officially treat cancer, he also didn’t tell him not to try it.
In Massachusetts, even though technically it’s been approved recreationally, those laws aren’t put into place logistically yet. So we found out that my dad would need to get a medical marijuana card in order obtain this full extract oil.
This was our process:
He met with a cannabis doctor (we found one at CannaCareDocs.com) to get approved and added into the system as a medical marijuana patient. The doctor spent a long time talking to us and looked at his medical records from the cancer hospital before giving the approval.
After he got approved by the cannabis doctor, he was able to register in the system and elect me as his caregiver so I could accompany him to the dispensary to help him figure out what to get.
Once his registration officially went through (about a week later) we were able to go to the dispensary and get the full extract oil.
What’s been happening since he started using CBD oil and full extract CBD:THC oil:
Before he got approved for his medical card, he was the taking CBD capsules (the fully legal, non-THC ones — these ones). He said after taking these for a few days, his joint pain went away, which he’s had for years — he started noticing when he walked up the stairs.
I personally started taking CBD oil too (also the fully legal, non-THC kind — I have no interest in feeling high) — and it’s been amazing for me for sleep. Here’s the CBD oil I’ve been taking before bed, which you can order online: Supherbals CBD oil.
Since starting my dad on the full extract 1:1 THC:CBD oil from the dispensary:
He’s been taking about the size of 1/2 a grain of rice to 1 grain of rice 3x per day since he got his medical card. He just squeezes it out of the syringe onto a cracker and eats it.
As far as dosing goes, I can’t officially recommend medicinal dosing, but I can tell you that most people say START LOW AND GO SLOW. So the goal is to take a small amount and increase it slowly, as much as you can handle of THC without experiencing any unwanted psychoactive side effects. If you do feel something and you don’t want to, the recommendation we’ve heard is from the cannabis doctors is to cut back and increase it more slowly.
When you go to a cannabis doctor or dispensary, they can make recommendations for you based on your condition.
So far, after about a week of taking it:
The nausea that he’s had for months from the pancreatic tumor and more recently, worse nausea from the chemo, is completely gone.
His appetite is back up after losing interest in food during chemo. He’s gained 3 lbs back after losing about 40! Other digestive symptoms he’s had for months seem to be improving as well.
He’s feeling GREAT.
We have no idea yet if this cannabis oil is having any effect on his cancer cells, but he feels really good, and his doctor didn’t say it could hurt – so we’re going with it — not to replace any traditional treatment, but to compliment the cancer treatment from the hospital.
With all of this incredible information about cannabis out there and how people are using it as medicine, I’m becoming more and more aware that so many people could benefit from cannabis for very serious illnesses, but they aren’t able to legally get access to it.
According to this article, Cannabis As A Tool To Fight Opioid Epidemic:
“The biggest players in the anti-marijuana legalization movement are pharmaceutical companies, alcohol and beer companies, private prison corporations, and police unions, all of whom help fund lobby groups that challenge marijuana law reform. Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest for-profit prison companies in the United States, has spent nearly $1 million a year on lobbying efforts. The company even stated in a report that “changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances . . . could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”
According to a report in The Nation magazine, among the largest donors to organizations fighting marijuana liberalization are Purdue Pharma, makers of the painkiller OxyContin; Abbott Laboratories, which produces the opioid Vicodin; and Janssen Pharmaceutical, a J&J subsidiary that manufactures the painkiller Nucynta.
“There is big money in marijuana prohibition,” notes the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-profit research group based in Washington, DC, that investigated this link to anti-legalization lobbying efforts. The organizations that received money from these companies lobby Congress to maintain marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug, in spite of the fact that more than twenty-two thousand people die every year in the United States from overdoses of pharmaceutical drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three out of every four pharmaceutical overdose deaths involve prescription painkillers—more than heroin and cocaine combined.
It appears that drug companies want to downplay the medical benefits of marijuana in order to maintain or increase the sale of their drugs; alcohol manufacturers do not want competition for their customers from legal cannabis; and private prisons need to fill their beds with convicted drug offenders.”
Well, this lights a fire behind my eyes and makes me even more passionate about helping to remove the negative stigma from cannabis so it can take its rightful place where it deserves to be — as a potent and powerful medicine.
So much more to say, but I wanted to give you guys somewhere to start since I’ve been psycho-posting about cannabis on my insta stories and a lot of you have asked me for details.
More to come….
A few more organizations to check out:
If you want to learn more about cancer, and you like reading big big books…check out The Emporer of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Because understanding the jabberwockey is the key to slaying it. I’ve been slowly making my way through it and learning SO MUCH.
Regardless of the medicine, attitude is everything. And this is my dad’s attitude:
Thanks for reading and for the support you guys have been giving me — I love you!