Hey there and happy 4/21 everybody, particularly those of you who celebrated 4/20 in the right spirit. I used to be a regular pot smoker when I was younger, but gave it up for most of the years after I became a mom, which is almost 40 years ago now. I took it up again, however, when I became a cancer patient. I am feeling too lazy today to research and post citations for those who don’t believe in the medical efficacy of marijuana, but I did post a blog awhile back about an American Cancer Society publication about marijuana killing cancer cells in Petri dishes if you are interested.
When I was younger, pot was just pot. It was cheap, but you went through a lot of it because it wasn’t that potent. Now there are hundreds of strains, and they all have very different profiles, differing amounts of THC, CBD, THCa, CBN, and on and on, not to mention terpenes, and it’s not simply about having fun anymore, but about its physical and mental effects on your very specific body and soul. So it’s not an easy thing to know really what is right for you. I did go to a medical marijuana clinic to get my card, and I did have a consultation with a doctor, and he did seem enthusiastic about the use of marijuana to treat and prevent reoccurrence of cancer, but he was not at all helpful about just exactly what to use, and how much. I have tried to educate myself. I have searched the internet and listened to podcasts, and have found a really, truly excellent book, Chronic Relief by Nishi Whitely. But I still end up having a lot of questions. It is very complex, and getting precise information can be challenging because of the federal prohibition against marijuana that prevents research in this country. So I have just a few things I determine to look for. Because I have a seizure disorder, I always look for CBD to balance the THC, since CBD is the component in cannabis that has been found to prevent seizures. But there are many other substances, many other questions, and then there is the other thing, which is that the stuff is darn expensive, which first of all makes experimentation difficult and second actually precludes the ability to follow some of the established protocols for treatment, because it costs too much money.
I have recently come across a couple of resources I’d like to share. I’m not sure they will help anybody outside California, but that’s where I am so that’s what I know. One is Constance Therapeutics. According to Nishi Whitely, you can have your oncologist send them a piece of your tumor (they keep these things indefinitely by the way), and they will test it to see which varieties of cannabis are effective against the particular monster that is trying to kill you. How easy it is to get your oncologist to do this remains to be seen, and it is impossible to enroll in the program at this very moment, because the regulations put in place in California when recreational marijuana became legal have shut down a lot of established medical marijuana venues while they try to jump through the hoops to meet the requirements of the new laws. Yeah, sensible I know. However, you can go to http://www.cbdfarm.org to get more info and to get on their list to be notified when they are up and operating again, which is supposed to happen this summer. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure it is only available to California residents. Not sure if doctors can still submit tumor samples in the meantime, but I do plan on asking my oncologist to look into it. I also have no idea what it would cost, although I do know that my medical insurance is not going to cover it.
There are also a few programs that can help cancer patients with the cost of cannabis. Shelter in the Storm, run by the Jetty Company, is one of these programs. Of course, it is also shut down until summer because of new California regulations, but hopefully it will resume. A friend of mine in the Bay Area told me today that she has been able to start on the Rick Simpson protocol only because a local dispensary provides her with the thousands of dollars worth of supplies for free. If you live in the Bay Area, you might want to support Phytologie in Oakland, in order to assist them with this compassionate care outreach. If you live anywhere, Jetty products is another deserving company. And if you know of any others, please post a comment and let me know.
You can use cannabis for medical purposes without experiencing any psychoactive effects at all. If you get an all CBD product, you are not going to get high. Now I’m not going to lie, I like some THC in my marijuana. Sometimes you just need to be taken out of the fray for a little while. Sometimes you might want to be able to giggle at stupid sit-coms, or just sit with your thoughts. I need my mind to be constantly engaged with stimulus when I’m not high. When I am, my thought circles can keep me entertained for hours. Cannabis can relieve stress, PTSD, anxiety, and pain as well. I just recommend you make sure to include CBD in whatever you are using if your goal is anxiety reduction, but the THC can be really relaxing as well. Nor is the high the only benefit of THC. Many of the medical benefits in marijuana are in the THC itself. As with many natural healing methods, the use of the whole is superior to the use of just a part.
If you suffer from cancer or any of the other conditions cannabis is known to help, I recommend looking into it. Google it, and if you choose to read just one book on the subject, I recommend Chronic Relief. I’m going to also suggest that you support legal reform at a federal level in order to allow more testing and more medical use and availability.
I am presumably “cancer free” at this point. But I still have my chemo port, even though my last treatment was in July last year, because my oncologist wanted me to keep it, and said, “Your cancer is very bad and I don’t know when it will return.” The cancer I had was invasive lobular carcinoma, sneak attack cancer, which grows in rows of cells rather than in clumps, so is difficult to visualize in standard tests. I had a normal mammogram, and then by the time I had my next regular mammogram, I had Stage 3C cancer. When I saw my neurologist about my recent more aggressive seizure activity, he said it could be due to a brain tumor. I recently had some other mysterious symptoms, and when I looked them up the websites said it can be due to this or this, or cancer. I’ve had CT scans on most of my body parts this year, for pre-op evaluations or because of my giant seizure, and so I have felt in the clear. But my neurologist said he would leave it up to my oncologist as to whether he would like to do an MRI with contrast, which is when I remembered that my cancer is sneaky and hides easily. The mammogram and the ultrasound had not been able to show the size of my tumor. I’d had to have an MRI for that.
So I’m still a bit scared. I don’t know if the day will ever come when I take it for granted that I don’t have cancer. I can’t guarantee that cannabis will help keep cancer from coming back, but it can’t hurt. And in the meantime, it gives me the occasional place to float away from the worry.
As a caveat, I do work as a Wellness Consultant with Octavia, a medical marijuana (and now also recreational marijuana) company in California, and if you want more information, please let me know. They deliver to California residents, but not as quickly as they did before marijuana was legalized, and I’m not trying to get you to buy through me because there are places where you can get it faster. You can go into a shop or get same day delivery locally, whereas right now Octavia/Viva is taking an average of a week to deliver. But if you want to talk about it, please feel free to send me a message on the contact form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not a doctor, and not the smartest, best informed person on the face of the planet, but I will be happy to tell you what I know and what I have used. You can order marijuana for either medical or recreational use if you are a California resident. You just need to snap a photo of your driver’s license to prove you are over 21 and submit it to the website to register. My shop is at https://joinviva.com/signup/4ww4wrk3.
Wishing you health. Be kind, make wise decisions, and remember you are loved.