Monday, May 3, 2010

A Medical Marijuana Success Story

I wanted to share this story in hopes that it will encourage some people who might benefit from the use of medical cannabis but currently hold biases against cannabis as a legitimate medicine.

A close relative of mine, who shall remain nameless out of respect for patient privacy, is suffering from metastasized prostate cancer. He is currently undergoing Chemo to treat it--though they have had success treating this very slow developing cancer so far, they are positive that they will not be able to fully cure it--they can however, take steps to lengthen his life significantly. The problem is, that same treatment is taking it's tole on him.

Suffice to say, this family member is on A LOT of medications right now. From blood thinners, to morphine, hydrocodon, and a whole host of other drugs that I cannot even pronounce and have never heard of before, he's practically a walking pharmacy.

He's also a 73 year old man. An old fashioned oil man, a chemical engineer, as it were. A man who once designed a very prolific piece of oil refining equipment for J. Paul Getty on a cocktail napkin over dinner. A highly intelligent man. He's also a man with a lifetime of pre-conceived notions about marijuana. He's never smoked anything in his life, and has long considered marijuana to be one of society's many evils. The thought of him smoking pot is so far beyond my conception that I can only say it would be impossible.

Throughout the first part of his cancer, I had a very hard time talking with him about the possibility of using cannabis as a medicine to treat pain, sleeplessness, and nausea--he was completely closed to the idea, not even willing to consider it. He practically scoffed at it in fact.

But as time has passed, the cancer has begun to aggravate a nerve in his back. The pain from this nerve is the reason he's on morphine and other pain killers. The pain became so much that he absolutely could not sleep some nights because of the throbbing nerve. Both he and his wife sat through some tearful, heartbreaking nights while he writhed in pain. The very idea of it nearly brought me to tears when they told me. He lost weight, his health seemed to be coming unglued. Their doctor decided to put him on Elavil, an antidepressant and sleep aid, so he could sleep. I want to point out here that he was in no way depressed, in fact despite the cancer he's probably happier than you are--he's just that kind of man, kind, giving, and selfless.

But at this point he was becoming nervous about adding one more drug into the coctail that his body was quickly becoming. The Elavil also had the side effect of making him a zombie the next day, which he and his wife hated. It also put him at risk to a number of odd side effects such as panic attacks and heart irregularities. Dangerous side effects in light of the morphine and other drugs he was on.

When his wife told me about the Elavil, I approached them again about cannabis, explaining that he wouldn't have to smoke, that we have glycerine-based tinctures that work amazingly well. To my surprise, his exhausted wife said they were ready to try just about anything now. My wife and I convinced them to get off the Elavil after only a week of it, and that night they tried out the bottle of cannabis tincture I supplied them instead.

They were a little nervous at first about dosage, since it didn't list an exact dosage on the bottle. I explained to them that unlike other drugs, the Cannabis had no known toxicity level for overdose, and that it would not interfere with heart rhythm or negatively interact with any of the other drugs. They were skeptical, but decided to trust me in the end.

And guess what? That night, after taking about two eye dropper's full of tincture, they slept. A full 9 hours of sleep, to be exact. The sound of relief in my relative's voice on the phone the next morning truly filled me with a joy I cannot describe. The tincture had worked where everything else they had tried had failed. His wife said he looked the most rested she'd seen him in over a year. It was the best phone call I've received in quite some time.

I will keep you posted on how all this works out for them in the longer term. I'm not sitting here as I write this thinking that cannabis has solved my relative's problem for good. I'm not trying to make it out to be a wonder drug or the greatest thing since sliced bread (though personally I think it is among the greatest gifts God has given to humans). But I do believe it has unquestionably helped build my relative's quality of life, as well as my own. I have been using it as medication since my teenage years and have never experienced any negative side effects in my life.

For my relative, more sleep means a better healing body, means a calmer mind, a sense of well being, and a happier life. If this man who truly believed cannabis was a negative influence on the world and society can come to understand both it's mild nature and its amazing effect as medicine, I truly believe that anyone can.

If you have health problems but are tired of medications with extreme side effects, and want to see if cannabis is a good option for you, contact us at and we will help you through the process of finding a doctor you can trust to explore all options with.

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