27 August 2013

Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party Policies

Reasons to VOTE 1 HEMP

  1. To alleviate the suffering of the chronically or terminally ill.
  2. To enhance the environment by replacing environmentally unsound products.
  3. To reduce avenues of fast cash for terrorists, insurgents, arms traders and security organisations.
  4. To reduce the flow of Cannabis money to criminal gangs.
  5. To limit corrupting temptations available to Police, Customs Officials and Prison Guards
  6. Decriminalisation of Hemp would drastically reduce Police workload and free officers to tackle genuine crimes where it is not as easy to gain high arrest rates.
  7. To remove an avenue for scaremongering by opportunistic politicians and journalists.
  8. To hopefully lower the price of Hemp or Cannabis.
  9. To put an end to using dogs as a tool of discrimination against a harmless sector of the community.
  10. To put an end to the marginalisation of Cannabis users, indeed to try to put such petty behaviours to rest in many areas of politics.
  11. The HEMP Party would undertake to try to ‘keep the bastards honest’.
  12. To allow people to enjoy a spiritual, relaxing experience – legally!

HEMP Party: Policy Brief

Our sole purpose is to agitate for the re-legalisation of 
Cannabis for personal, medical and industrial use.
The Cannabis market grows larger,
Police expenditures grow and,
More Cannabis arrests are made.

Marijuana Prohibition in Australia has failed!

breeds disrespect for the law,
engenders corruption,
endangers our youth,
costs us money,
enriches criminals,
hurts the sick and,
doesn’t work!

1) The re-legalisation of Cannabis will protect young Australians.
The black market is of special concern to parents. Many children find it hard to come to terms with discovering that their parents purchase and smoke Cannabis illegally. Many parents find it impossible to understand why their children use Cannabis. Our current laws constitute a hypocrisy that often poisons the relationship of our youth with parents and authority figures and always makes instilling a sense of respect for our laws a more difficult enterprise than it should be. Regulating the Cannabis marketplace by re-legalising Cannabis use will assist in preventing children gaining easy access to Cannabis, assist parents in building better citizens, and help us all to restore the waning bond of trust between citizenry and police force.
2) The only way to control the currently unregulated marketplace is to re-legalise Cannabis.
Prohibition laws do not work. Every year there are ever more users of Cannabis despite ever greater numbers of arrests. Despite huge and ever increasing expenditures of taxpayer funds the marketplace grows ever larger and more sophisticated. Helicopters packed with ever better trained paratroopers buzz over more Australian valleys. And to what end? Every year ‘the war on drugs’ entirely fails to impact the use or supply of Cannabis in any meaningful way. Someone once remarked that the definition of madness is to undertake the same act over and over again in expectation of a different outcome!
3) Australians don’t like other people dictating what they can do with our own bodies.
Aussies are a pretty sensible breed. Despite dire official warnings regarding the effects of Cannabis being produced and disseminated by the Australian Government for more than fifty years, most Australians know from personal experience that alcohol and tobacco (both legal drugs) pose a far greater risk to individual and societal health. Most Aussies understand that Cannabis is illegal because of an accident of history, not because it is dangerous.
  • to allow for health education, home growing and regulated sales through registered outlets which will separate Cannabis from the criminality of the black-market and end consequent associated corruption.
  • to allow medical use, utilising Cannabis’ painkilling, relaxing, anti nausea and healing properties.
  • to establish a commercial Hemp industry producing fuel, fibre, paper, textiles, food, oil and other environmentally sound products.
  • to release all those imprisoned for Cannabis alone and the removal of all records of previous criminal Cannabis convictions.
THE HEMP PARTY will advocate for the re-legalisation of Cannabis!

20 August 2013

The Endocannabinoid System: An Overview

The Endocannabinoid System: An Overview

The Endocannabinoid system is a central regulatory system that affects a wide range of biological processes. It consists of a group of molecules known as Cannabinoids as well as the Cannabinoid receptors that they bind to. Although Cannabis is a source of over sixty Cannabinoids (including THC and CBD [see below]) the human body produces a number of Cannabinoids as well. These endogenous Cannabinoids include Anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and are present in all human beings. 

Decades of scientific research on the Endocannabinoid system has resulted in the discovery of two types of Cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. These receptors are found in various parts of the body, but are most prominent in the brain and immune system. Cannabinoid receptors act as binding sites for endogenous Cannabinoids as well as Cannabinoids found in Cannabis. When Cannabinoids bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors, they act to change the way the body functions. While Cannabinoid receptors are primarily expressed in the brain and immune system, researchers have identified Cannabinoid receptors in a variety of other places as well, including the peripheral nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system and gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. Cannabinoid receptors continue to be identified in unique parts of the body as research on the Endocannabinoid system progresses.

Interestingly, the Endocannabinoid system is not unique to the human species. Research has shown that this system is common to all humans and vertebrate animals – and even some invertebrate animals – suggesting its significance in the process of evolution. Experts believe that natural selection has conserved the Endocannabinoid system in living organisms for 500 million years. Although the Endocannabinoid system affects a wide variety of biological processes (such as appetite and sleep), experts believe that its overall function is to regulate homeostasis. Homeostasis is a key element in the biology of all living things and is best described as the ability to maintain stable internal conditions that are necessary for survival. Disease is simply a result of some aspect of failure in achieving homeostasis, making the Endocannabinoid system a unique target for medical applications.
A primary example of the Endocannabinoid system’s role in homeostasis comes from research that has identified an over-expression of Cannabinoid receptors in the tumour cells of various cancer diseases, including lung cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Research has also shown that tumour growth can be inhibited and even reversed when Cannabinoids such as THC are administered. Experts believe that the over-expression of Cannabinoid receptors is an indicator of the Endocannabinoid system’s role as a biological defence system, providing strong support for the use of medical Cannabis.
Interestingly, research suggests that this defence system is not only useful in treating cancer, but may also be beneficial in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions. Current evidence points to the Endocannabinoid system as being a potential therapeutic target for the following list of disorders:
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • And many, many more…

  • While the Endocannabinoid system has been thoroughly investigated in the medical field, many still question its role in the recreational use of Cannabis. Although its long-term effects continue to be debated, evidence shows that Cannabis is a surprisingly benign substance that poses no risk of overdose and minimal risk of addiction. Experts also believe that the psychoactive properties of Cannabis are most likely to be temporary and pose no risk of brain damage in the long run. Granted the use of Cannabis should still be approached with caution, evidence points to Cannabis as ultimately being safer than most commonly available substances, including caffeine, tobacco and alcohol!
    What is THC?

    Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of over 60 chemicals called cannabinoids found in Cannabis
    THC acts on the Endocannabinoid system of the human body to elicit its effects
    THC is produced by the female Cannabis plant
    THC acts mostly on the brain and is responsible for the 'high' that users experience
    THC is medically beneficial in a long list of disorders
    THC is non-toxic
    To date, there is little conclusive evidence of any long-term side effects of THC

    What is CBD?

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 60 chemicals called cannabinoids found in Cannabis
    CBD levels vary by strain
    CBD doesn’t get you 'high' – it is not a psychoactive substance
    CBD counteracts some of the psychoactive effects of THC
    CBD is non-toxic
    Studies show that CBD has medical potential in a long list of disorders

    Granny Storm Crow's List - an inspiration to all in 2013!

    Cannabinoid studies are coming out at an ever increasing rate ... The List has to change with the times! And the times are changing! Two US states have legalised cannabis and others are considering it! At no time, since before the 1930's, have so many people supported medical use of cannabis! CNN’s Dr Sanjay Gupta has publicly changed his stance on cannabis and admitted to having tried it! And that same week, CNN ran a story about a child finding relief from severe epilepsy with a 'high CBD' cannabis extract. The facts about cannabis being a safe and effective medicine for many conditions are slowly trickling into the mainstream media! We can speed up that trickle of information to make it into a flood! The medical facts about cannabis speak for themselves, but it is up to us to get those facts to the public! Each one of you knows someone who could benefit from the information in The List - a relative, friend or coworker. It takes only a moment to forward The List to them and it may change their life! Your doctor, unless he is an exception, has not educated himself about cannabis. Send him a few abstracts to get his interest (the Post Office delivers mail without a return address - you can even stay anonymous)! And our politicians are worst of all! One activist described talking with our politicians as like “talking to teenagers who had never heard of cannabis”! That they are so profoundly ignorant about even the most basic facts about cannabis and yet are in charge of making our laws on it, is mind-boggling! We have the facts on our side. All we need to do is speak the truth clearly, and repeatedly, until cannabis is fully legalised! The prohibitionists have spread their lies for the last three quarters of a century, but their lies cannot stand up to the truth that we possess. And as my Grandfather said, “If the truth won’t do, then something is wrong!” (Granny's List is all over the internet, just Google Granny Storm Crows List and you'll find this most useful resource!)

    In Australia we have a huge chance to educate ... knowledge is power and with the upcoming Federal Election we can send a message to the 'powers-that-be' by electing HEMP candidates in as many states as possible!

    The politicians in Australia show little or no interest in helping the sick, suffering, persecuted and prosecuted! And don't think our public education system is informing YOUR children of the truth about drugs, legal or otherwise ... they are not! And as for the medical profession and ancillary health-workers, they're almost as ignorant. Head in the sand like ostriches seems to be the way for them all, Down Under! We need to do the work for them. We need to spread the truth, the good word, and free the leaf! Cannabis can no longer be demonized, the lies no longer hold any weight as science and medicine have consistently proven just how wrong public policy on this issue has been for decades! Now is the time for change!

    Speaking with a small group of 15 and 16 year-old girls the other day, I was surprised to find that they were firmly under the impression, from their parents (who themselves use cannabis recreationally), that smoking cannabis killed brain cells (and their school had given them no education on 'drugs' at all [any wonder HIV levels have risen in the past decade or so in some parts of Australia] we surely have a responsibility to educate with facts, the truth, the whole truth)! I find this totally unacceptable. 

    We need to tell our children the truth about cannabis (and educate their parents and teachers), give them the facts! Cannabis is a herb and used medicinally it can relieve so many ailments without being toxic in any way! Alcohol, tobacco and 'pharma-chemicals' destroy; cannabis treats and cures, the proof is irrefutable and we need this proffered in a public forum to remove the persecution and prosecution of those doing no harm and to allow the sick and suffering to be treated with cannabis and hemp in whatever form suits them best. Cannabis use for best results is a very individual thing as we all differ so much. I await the day when I can grow my own medicine, designed to treat my particular ailments; throw away the toxic 'pharma-chemicals' the medico's have me on and live a long and much healthier and happier life! 

    Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party


    • to re-legalise and regulate Cannabis for personal, medical and industrial use.
    • to allow for health education, home growing and regulated sales through registered outlets which will separate Cannabis from the criminality of the black-market and end consequent associated corruption.
    • to allow medical use, utilising Cannabis’ painkilling, relaxing, anti nausea and healing properties.
    • to establish a commercial Hemp industry producing fuel, fibre, paper, textiles, food, oil and other environmentally sound products.
    • to release all those imprisoned for Cannabis alone and the removal of all records of previous criminal Cannabis convictions.

    Below are some of the latest studies, medical information etc for your perusal. If you don't know about the healing properties of Cannabis, please afford yourself the chance to enhance your knowledge of this most wondrous gift from nature!

    Cannabinoids Slow Brain Degradation and Aging, Reverse Dementia

    Top Doctors Association Says Yes

    Most Americans Now Live In States That Have Rejected Marijuana Prohibition

    Cannabis May Protect From Side Effects of Cancer Drugs According To Study

    Dr Sanjay Gupta - Whole Cannabis Is Better Than Just CBD or THC

    Marijuana Can Improve Rigidity In Parkinsons

    Marijuana Disrupts Cancer Pathway of Cigarettes, Study

    08 April 2013

    Long-term Cannabis Use Is Associated With Better Health Than Long-Term Tobacco Use

    People who only use cannabis show better health than people, who smoke tobacco. This is the result of a study by researchers of the University of New South Wales in Randwick, Australia. Researchers included 350 adults aged 40 or over and divided them into four groups: those who smoked cannabis but not tobacco (n=59), smoked both cannabis and tobacco (n=88), smoked tobacco but not cannabis (n=80), or used neither substance (n=123, control group). Participants completed a survey addressing substance use, diagnosed medical conditions, health concerns relating to smoking cannabis/tobacco and general health.

    Several significant differences were found among the four groups. With regard to diagnosed medical conditions, the three smoking groups reported significantly higher rates of emphysema than did the control group. However, all members of the cannabis-only group diagnosed with emphysema were former regular tobacco smokers. Total general health scores, general health subscales, and items addressing smoking-related health concerns tended to show worse outcomes for the two tobacco smoking groups. Authors concluded that “general health measures demonstrated a pattern in which the control and cannabis-only groups tended to report the best health, with the two tobacco-smoking groups faring worse.” They also noted that “mixing cannabis with tobacco may synergistically compromise health.”

    Rooke SE, Norberg MM, Copeland J, Swift W. Health outcomes associated with long-term regular cannabis and tobacco smoking. Addict Behav 2013;38(6):2207-2213.

    International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines

    22 March 2013

    Cannabis Helped Heal My Cancer

    Cannabis is a healing plant and can even heal cancer if we let it.  

    21 March, 2013 Editor’s note: Michelle Aldrich, 66, has been working for marijuana legalization —which she defines as “the right to grow it for free in your backyard”— for most of her life. She and her husband Michael live in a comfortable old apartment near the San Francisco Marina which they moved into 40 years ago. The following is adapted from a talk Michelle gave in July 2012 to the Women’s Visionary Congress. 

    I had smoked cannabis since 1967 but early in 2011 I kept saying I could not get high. I was smoking a lot. I now believe that THC was going to the tumor and lymph nodes, which is why the cancer did not spread more than it had. 

    On November 15, 2011, I was supposed to have lunch with Diane Fornbacher from the NORML Women’s Alliance. I was too sick to go. I felt like I had the flu. 

    That week I got a call from Linda Ward, who is now my therapist. I had been looking for a new therapist since 2009, when I got off all the meds that I had been taking for 20 years for depression —Prozac, Lamictal, and Trazadone. Rick Doblin [director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies] found Linda for me just when I really needed to talk to someone. The start of synchronicity. 

    I felt well enough to go see the doctor on November 22. It was my first visit with a physician’s assistant named Sally Holland. The first thing I told her was that I smoked marijuana. She asked if I vaporized? I told her I didn’t. Then I said my husband and I got the lifetime achievement award from High Times Magazine last June. Her response was that her brother was the general counsel for High Times. I knew at that point that Sally and I would get along and I could trust her and didn’t have to educate her about cannabis. Lovely... 

    Sally said that I had bronchitis, which I usually get at least once a year. She asked when was the last time I had a chest x-ray. I said a long time. She sent me for a chest x-ray and gave me antibiotics. The next day Sally called to tell me I had pneumonia. 

    I saw Sally again on November 30 for a follow-up. I was still sick and was given more antibiotics. Sally informed me that the x-ray showed a growth on my right lung, which would need to be checked out. My first response was “cut it out” if it was so small. I wanted to be aggressive. I saw Sally again on December 9. She sent me for lab work and said the doctor wanted to see me. 

    On December 21, I saw Gary Feldman, MD, my primary care physician, who gave me a thorough workup. I told Gary about the heat I had felt in the middle of my chest for almost a year. The tumor and lymph nodes were right on my heart chakra. He sent me for a CT scan on December 23. 

    The CT scan showed that the tumor on my lung measured 23 x 28 millimeters. [25.4 millimeters = one inch.] There was also a growth on my left kidney. 

    On January 4th, 2012, I had another CT scan to evaluate the growth they had found on my kidney. 

    On January 5th I had an echocardiogram, a procedure using ultrasound to show a two-dimensional picture of the heart. 

    On January 6th I had a CT fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the lung. Tissue was taken for analysis in a lab. 

    The results of the biopsy were supposed to be available on the ninth. They weren’t. 

    I saw the kidney doctor on January 11, and he said he thought the growth was a cyst and was not related to the growth on the right lung. This was seemingly good news. 

    On January 12th I got a call from Dr. Gary Feldman. He said it was cancer on the right lung. It was “poorly differentiated non-small cell adenocarcinoma.” He referred me to an oncologist, Dr. Ari Baron at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). 

    I was fortunate to get on MediCare when I turned 65. 

    I decided immediately to seek support from my network of friends in the medical cannabis community. I announced my diagnosis on Facebook. 

    I called Clint Werner, who had recently released his book Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimers Disease. Clint, being a macrobiotic chef, told me to avoid sugar since “sugar feeds cancer. Avoid red meats and processed foods, no dairy and no wheat. Eat lots of fish, especially salmon.” 

    I needed to change my eating habits. I had already avoided wheat for years —now, more restrictions. 

    Early that evening Dr. Donald Abrams called. A friend for some 20 years, Abrams is chief of Hematology and Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital. I told him that Ari Baron would be my oncologist. Dr. Abrams recalled that when Dr. Baron was a resident, he had taught him how to tie a bow tie. 

    Dr. Abrams recommended that I add supplements: 3,000 milligrams of Vitamin D, two Ultimate Omega fish oil capsules, and two 1,000 milligram Stamets 7 mushrooms to increase my immune system He wanted to be kept up to date and offered his help throughout the oncoming struggle. 

    Dr. Abrams had been working closely with Andrew Weil, MD, the founder and program director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Dr. Weil called me on Sunday. He offered sympathy and support, and also asked to be kept up to date on my condition. I have known him as Andy for 40 years. He was a Trustee of the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library; Mike and I had been on the board. 

    And so I had my Dream Team of doctors. 

    On the morning of January 17th I emailed Jeannie Herer —Jack’s widow— to tell her about my situation. Then I went to see Dr. Baron for the first time. He wanted me to undergo more tests to determine the stage of the cancer. He referred me to Dr. Peter Anastassiou of CPMC, who would be my surgeon. 

    I saw Dr. Anastassiou and found out he was the doctor who had operated on Jack Herer, when he first needed heart surgery. He was also a friend of Dr. Tom O’Connell and had taken over his practice. More synchronicity. 

    When I got home Jeannie Herer phoned to say that I should do the “Rick Simpson oil” —a highly concentrated cannabis extract that, taken at high doses, has reportedly had an anti-cancer effect. I had read about it but didn’t know where to get it or how to take it or —the biggest question of all— if it would work. Jeannie told me to call Valerie Corral from WAMM. 

    I talked to Valerie the next day and she brought me the first batch of what she calls “Milagro Oil” to a California NORML board meeting on January 21st. 

    On January 19th I met Dr. Charles McDonald, the head of the Pulmonary Function Lab at CPMC, who would be my pulmonologist. Michael and I supplied him with several research studies on smoking cannabis and lung function, since he would be doing an inservice training on the subject for the hospital staff. He scheduled me for a pulmonary function test and he would be doing the bronchoscopic ultrasound, which would tell us how far advanced the cancer was. He would focus on the lymph nodes. 

    I had the pulmonary function test on January 23rd. Dr. Anastassiou would not do surgery until he knew that the function test was satisfactory. It was. 

    After the January 24th PET scan, the tumor measured 30x31mm. Either the PET scan showed a better picture or the tumor was growing. The PET scan shows inflammation in the body. It lights up the parts where the inflammation is. The tumor, the lymph nodes and the colon lit up. So I had to have a colonoscopy. 

    McDonald did the endobronchioscopic ultrasound fine-needle aspiration biopsy on January 25th to finish determining the stage of the tumor. He said the lymph nodes were “big.” 

    The final diagnosis was “Stage 3A poorly differentiated non-small cell metastatic adenocarcinoma of the right lung with bulky lymph node involvement.” At least three of the lymph nodes were cancerous. 

    January 26th, I had an MRI to make sure that it had not spread to my brain. 

    I saw Dr. Anastassiou and he mentioned bulky lymph nodes. He said he wanted to take out two lobes of my right lung butthat he could not operate until the lymph nodes had been reduced in size or sterilized. I would need chemotherapy to reduce the lymph nodes. 

    I looked up more information on the 27th and found out that the survival rate for this adenocarcinoma is 25% in five years; but with bulky lymph nodes the five-year survival rate goes down to two-to-five percent. 

    I had nothing to lose by doing the oil except maybe the cancer. The oil couldn’t harm me. It would protect normal cells from damage while I was undergoing chemo. It was very scary to think that if this did not work, I might be dead by Christmas. 

    I needed to set a new course. A course correction. I needed to change my destiny. I did not want to die of lung cancer. I would do everything possible to restore my health: diet, chemo, acupuncture, and Cannabis oil. I knew I had a wonderful support group and a dream team of doctors. 

    On January 30th, I saw Ari Baron. He explained that they could not do radiation since the lymph nodes were so close to the trachea. Chemo was scheduled every three weeks for four sessions. 

    On February 1st, I had the last test, which was the colonoscopy. Three polyps were removed and it showed diverticulitis. I had now finished all the tests to prove I had cancer and where it was. Now I could start the oil and no one would be able to say “but you didn’t have cancer to begin with so how do we know it was the oil that worked?” We are very lucky to live in San Francisco where many doctors know about cannabis therapy and accept it as a part of the process of treating people with cancer, AIDS and other illnesses. But —except for Donald Abrams— they had not heard about cannabis oil and its potential for healing cancer. They accepted my use of the oil but were dubious that it would get rid of the cancer. I gave them the protocols from Israel. I would show them that it did work. 

    The “milagro oil” that WAMM provided me with was made by distilling an extract of cannabis until it contained 63% THC. Because the psychoactive effect can be so strong, Valerie recommends that patients start with a 10:1 mixture of hempseed oil (which is nutritious but not psychoactive)and milagro oil, then go to a 5:1 mix, and finally to pure oil as THC levels in the body build up. It took me 34 days before I worked up to taking the oil undiluted. 

    My regimen was going to be one gram of oil a day for 60 days. I could not stand the taste of it, so I put it in gel caps. 

    Another knowledgeable friend recommended that I use a CBD tincture if I felt anxious from the oil. I followed that advice and it did help. 

    With each of the ratios, I started with five drops of milagro oil in the morning and five in the evening. I then increased the pm dose to 10 drops. I then increased the am dose to 10 drops until I finished each ratio. I finished the 10:1 oil on February 17th. I finished the 5:1 oil on March 5th. I started the pure with oil that evening and woke up on the 6th with massive dry mouth. On March 25th, I started using a half of gram twice a day until I did the last oil on May 16th. Seventy-two days of using the pure oil. I did not get high at all. 

    WAMM’s Full Extract Cannabis Oil was made with from both Sativa and Indica plants (mostly Indica). It is made by taking cannabis —buds, leaves and small stems— and distilling it down in an enclosed container using Everclear as the solvent until it becomes a concentrated oil.February 2nd was the date of the first chemo. Michael stayed with me. I was given Alimta, Carboplatin, Avastin and a shot of Neulasta. I would sit in the chair for three or four hours with the drugs dripping into my veins. 

    It went well except that I was a little nauseous for a couple of days and constipated. The food had started tasting strange. I showed the nurses the Omicron vapor pen. They liked the no smell, no smoke and discreet delivery system. It could be used in hospitals. 

    During the second chemo session on February 24th, Diane Fornbacher stayed with me. She had come out from the East Coast to interview me about taking the oil and surviving lung cancer. The adverse effect this time was just constipation plus the strange taste of food. 

    I started acupuncture on February 28th at Quan Yin. SPARC, a San Francisco dispensary, provides low-cost acupuncture for patients through Quan Yin. It is drop-in on Tuesdays. 

    The third chemo session was on March 15th. My friend Freddie from the South Bay spent the time with me. The constipation was better but the food taste was getting hard to deal with. I did not feel well and it was hard to eat. 

    The fourth and last chemo was on April 5th. My friend Andie, who is a nurse, spent the time with me. This time I was nauseous for days and could not keep food down. My mouth started burning when I drank water. I finally used the vaporizer to help with the nausea. It worked. 

    At every chemo I tried to educate the other patients and the nurses about the oil and cannabis in general. I gave them a copy of Clint’s book for the library. 

    Not knowing if I was going to live or not, I started collecting Social Security. I made a will, a durable power of attorney and other medical directives. 

    My appetite was fine until the beginning of April. But the diet I was following on the advice of Donald Abrams was unappealing: no dairy, no sugar, no wheat, no meat, chicken only once a month and only organic. I ate a lot of fish (salmon, mainly). I ate fruit for breakfast, a salad for lunch and salmon and vegetables for dinner. It sounds okay, but when you eat the same thing every day for five months, it gets very unappetizing. 

    An Adverse Effect 

    Something happened to my mouth after the last chemo on April 5. I stopped producing enough saliva to help the food go down, plus everything tasted horrible. On the way to the Patients Out of Time conference in Tucson, even drinking water burned my mouth. The doctors at the conference told me to take Biotene. It did not help. 

    After I got back from Tucson, I needed to eat, so I basically threw out the diet and ate anything that I could get down my throat, which was not much. It was very important that I got all the nutrition I could so I would be ready for surgery. 

    It was not until the beginning of July when I went to the acupuncturist that I was able to eat again. I had been surviving on anything I could get down to my stomach (milk shakes, soups). I survived the hospital on ginger ale. I was 172 pounds when I started and now weigh 137. 

    I had known Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi for more than 20 years. I had seen her in early April at a political event at City Hall. I took her hands in mine and told her I had lung cancer. “Please stop the feds from taking my medicine away,” I said. I could tell that she was dismayed by my news and urged me to meet with members of her staff. 

    On April 16th I met with members of Pelosi’s office and urged that she take a stand against the federal intervention that was threatening my health, my recovery and my life. It may have helped that she could put a name and face on someone who would be helped by using cannabis. A week later she issued a press release calling for an end to the raids. It was the strongest statement she had ever made in support of medical cannabis. The Speaker of the House also got 73% of her fellow Democrats to vote “yes” on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment to the appropriations bill that would defund DEA raids on state medical marijuana providers. One day it will pass. 

    On April 17th I had a CT scan. At 6 pm Ari Baron’s nurse called to say the tumor had shrunk by 50% and the lymph nodes were significantly reduced. No new disease. The doctor, she said, was “ecstatic.” 

    Peter Anastassiou said it was a great response to the chemo and I reminded him that I believed it was mainly from the cannabis oil. He said the key thing is the lymph nodes, which had totally regressed. He wanted to do a biopsy. If the lymph nodes were negative, he said, then we can remove the tumor. He was thinking that he might be able to remove a small section instead of removing two lobes of the right lung. I wanted to wait until I finished the oil, plus I was going to the conference in Tucson. 

    The pathology report from the April 17th CT scan reported “significant interval decrease in size of primary middle-lobe lung cancer with marked regression of mediastinal and right hilar lymphadenopathy suggesting response to therapy.” 

    The CT scan of April 17th showed a few scattered diverticula were present in the colon but no evidence to suggest divertculitis. It had disappeared. Chemo does not touch diverticulitis… it had to be the oil that healed it. 

    The trip to Tucson for the Patients Out of Time conference was a disaster. My mouth burned every time I drank water. I had extremely sore inner lips and mouth. I could hardly eat. I was nauseous, starving and had cramps in my intestines. I became very anxious and had several panic attacks. 

    I came home very depressed and just wanted to die, if I could not even eat. Linda came over when I got back and convinced me to “Not make any decisions right now, you’re in an altered state from not being able to eat.” Her advice saved my life and I was willing to be aggressive again. 

    On May 8th Ari said he didn’t understand why I was still having mouth problems and did not know if it was from the chemo. We scheduled a PET scan on May 10th, which would tell me if I could have surgery or not. He said the chemo drugs were long gone from my system. Anything that happened between then and surgery on May 18th could be attributed to the oil. 

    On May 10th I signed on to participate in a clinical trial involving stem cells that might help shrink or kill tumors. The tumorous tissue removed from my lungs would be given to the researchers. 

    The report on the May 10th PET scan said “Disappearance of previously described subcarinal nodal conglomerate and the right middle lobe mass has nearly completely resolved.” Dr. Anastassiou called and said “Spectacular... Active cells light up and nothing is lighting up... No tumor was visible on the PET scan.” 

    The lymph nodes had completely shrunk and there was “virtually complete resolution of the tumor,” which was pretty remarkable. In other words the cancer was gone.Peter could not say there was no active disease yet because of the high recurrence rate of lung cancer and a resection was warranted. 

    In the pre-surgery report Dr. Anastassiou wrote: “homeopathic therapies including hemp oil had putative benefit of directing apoptosis by stimulation of the cannabinoid receptors on the tumor cells.” We had learned a new word in Tucson -- apoptosis -- which means reprogramming the cancer cells to kill themselves. It’s a wonderful word for a miracle. 

    I finished the oil on May 16th and had the surgery on May 18th. It took three hours. Dr. Anastassiou removed six lymph nodes and the (2.5cm) remains of the tumor from the right middle lobe. The residual tumor was a thin rim surrounding a necrotic core. What was left of the tumor turned out to be dead tissue. He used VAT (video-assisted thoracoscopy), a surgical procedure that allows for a quicker recovery time since it is minimally invasive. But two ribs got broken during the process. 

    Even though the surgery went well, I was sicker than a dog. Thank goodness that I don’t remember much of it. I was allergic to dilaudid. I threw up for days even after they switched me to morphine. I was released on May 23rd even though I was still nauseous. That was the wrong thing to do. The pills they gave me I could not keep down. I was back in the emergency room on Friday for four bags of fluid. 

    They readmitted me and the next thing I remember was them asking for permission to install a stent in my heart. They thought I was having a heart attack. I wasn’t. It is called stress cardiomyopathy or Broken Heart Syndrome. They thought it was probably from all the vomiting and loss of fluid. It is reversible but it takes time. I was finally discharged on May 31st. Fourteen days in the hospital. And they sent me home with a bladder infection. So much for hospitals… 

    Dr. Anastassiou had visited me every day in the hospital. I finally asked him if he had gotten it all. He said yes, that I was now what they call NED (No evidence of disease). They use that terminology for lung cancer. Other cancers they say you are in remission. He had never seen lung cancer totally eradicated by chemo, much less in four months. I assume cannabis oil was the factor that made the difference. 

    It has been a long road back. The hardest part of the whole process was the restricted diet. For weeks I experienced sweats and the chills that alternated all day long. The whole month of June was spent getting my system back to functioning normally. Finally, after acupuncture treatment on July 2nd, I wanted to eat. At that point I decided to eat anything I could. This gave me enough energy to be able to walk. I started with four blocks in 10 minutes. By mid-July I was up to 12 blocks in 27 minutes. When I told my story of illness and healing at the Women’s Visionary Conference on July 28 I was still weak and lacking stamina, but getting better day by day. 

    I cannot say that I am cured (at least so the doctors don’t get all their feathers ruffled) until I am disease-free for five years. So I say that I have been “healed by the milagro oil.” I do not need more chemo since there is nothing left for the chemo to work on. 

    Michael says that this is a magic plant. It counters cancer and if it was the flowers of a petunia plant that killed cancer it would be all over the front pages of newspapers round the world. But this is cannabis, which the government maintains there is no medical use for (no matter what the science says). I believe I have proved them wrong. 

    My cancer was healed by a combination of milagro oil, chemotherapy, healthy diet, acupuncture, brilliant, empathetic doctors, and loving support from many friends. I am truly blessed. 

    I want to thank my husband, Michael for being there through all the ups and downs of this journey. He has been my support, my scribe, my driver, my cook and of course the love of my life. 

    I truly believe that if it wasn’t for Valerie and the oil I would not be alive today. 

    Every day I read about people dying of cancer and I know I was able to heal my body of cancer. Why is this health-giving plant not available to everyone? People should not have to go through the suffering that cancer brings. We need to get this information out to the world. 

    Cannabis is a healing plant and can even heal cancer if we let it. 

    This article first appeared in the Winter/Spring 2013 O’Shaughnessy’s. Aldrich reports that her recent check-ups attest to a continuing recovery.

    19 March 2013

    Medical Marijuana: A Surprising Solution to Severe Morning Sickness

    As is the case for many young women, my indulgence in recreational drugs, including alcohol and caffeine, came to an abrupt halt when my husband and I discovered we were pregnant with our first child. To say we were ecstatic is an understatement. Doctors had told me we might never conceive, yet here we were, expecting our first miracle. I closely followed my doctor’s recommendations. When I began to experience severe morning sickness, I went to him for help. He ran all of the standard tests, then sent me home with the first of many prescription medicines.

    Weeks passed, and, as the nausea and vomiting increased, I began to lose weight. I was diagnosed as having hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe and constant form of morning sickness. I started researching the condition, desperately searching for a solution. I tried wristbands, herbs, yoga, pharmaceuticals, meditation—everything I could think of. Ultimately, after losing 20 pounds in middle pregnancy, and being hospitalized repeatedly for dehydration and migraines, I developed preeclampsia and was told an emergency cesarean was necessary. My dreams of a normal birth were shattered, but our baby boy, though weighing only 4 pounds 14 ounces and jaundiced from the perinatal medications I’d been given, was relatively healthy.

    When, six months later, I again found myself pregnant, I was even more determined to have a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy, and sought out the care of the best perinatologist in the area. At first, I was impressed. This doctor assured me he had all the answers, and that, under his expert care, my baby and I would never experience a moment of discomfort. However, as my belly swelled, I grew more and more ill, and my faith in my dream doctor began to falter. What convinced me to change healthcare providers midstream was this doctor’s honesty. He admitted that, due to constraints imposed on him by his malpractice-insurance company, some routine procedures that he knew to be harmful would be required of me. We left his office that day and never went back.

    As I searched for a new doctor, I ran across information about midwifery and homebirth. At first, I thought this was simply crazy. Have a baby at home, with no doctor? No way! I thought. But, as I began examining the statistics, I discovered an unexpected pattern. In studies comparing planned home versus hospital births, planned homebirths, with a midwife in attendance, have lower rates of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Not only that, but midwives’ rates of such invasive procedures as amniotomy and episiotomy are much lower. Everything I had believed about birth and medicine suddenly came into question. I located a midwife and made an appointment to see her.

    We were very impressed with this woman’s education and experience, and were delighted to invite her into our home to share in our second birth. She gave me many new ideas to try to abate the morning sickness, which still plagued me. But despite her best efforts with herbs, homeopathic remedies, and even chiropractic care, my illness remained intractable.

    About this time, I ran into an old, dear friend from college. When Jenny came to visit me one particularly awful day, we shared stories of the old days, and I soon found myself laughing as I hadn’t laughed in years. Despite being interrupted by numerous trips to worship the porcelain god, it felt wonderful to share some time with her. But when we began talking about my burgeoning belly, I broke down in sobs. I told her about how I was desperately afraid of what this malnutrition was doing to my baby. I explained how my midwife had told me that preeclampsia appears to be a nutritional disorder of pregnancy, and I didn’t know how I could avoid it if I couldn’t eat.

    Jenny listened and cried with me. Then, she tentatively produced a joint from her jacket pocket. I was shocked. We had shared a lot of these in college, but I had no idea she still smoked. Slowly, she began telling me that she knew some women who smoked marijuana for morning sickness, and it really helped them. She hadn’t known anyone with as severe a form of the illness as I had, but reasoned that if it works to quell the side effects of chemotherapy, it must work well.

    Understandably, I was concerned about what kind of effect marijuana might have on my baby. The only information I had ever heard on the subject was that it was a dangerous drug that should not be used in pregnancy. We discussed for some time the possibility that it could be harmful, though neither of us had enough information to make any sort of truly informed decision. What finally convinced me to give it a try was Jenny’s compelling reasoning. “Well, you know that not eating or drinking more than sips of tea and nibbles of crackers is definitely harmful, right? You might as well give this a try and see what happens. You don’t have much to lose.”

    She was right. I was 32 weeks along and had already lost 30 pounds. I had experienced four days of vomiting tea, broth, crackers, and toast. Nothing would stay down long. In an excited, giggly, reminiscing mood, I told her to “Fire it up!” I took two puffs of the tangy, piney smoke. As it took effect, I felt my aches and nausea finally leave me. Jenny and I reclined against my old beanbag, and I began sobbing again and unintelligibly thanking her—here was the miracle I had prayed for. A few minutes later, when I calmed down, we ordered a pizza. That was the best pizza I had ever tasted—and I kept down every bite.

    It was sad that I had to discover the benefits of this medicine late in my second pregnancy, through trial and error, and not learned of them long before—from my doctors. This experience launched a much safer and more intelligent investigation into the use of cannabis during pregnancy.

    I spent hour after hour poring over library books that contained references to medical marijuana and marijuana in pregnancy. Most of what I found was either a reference to the legal or political status of marijuana in medicine, or medical references that simply said that doctors discourage the use of any “recreational drug” during pregnancy. This was before I discovered the Internet, so my resources were limited. The little I could find that described the actual effects on a fetus of a mother’s smoking cannabis claimed that there was little to no detectable effect, but, as this area was relatively unstudied, it would be unethical to call it “safe.” I later discovered that midwives had safely used marijuana in pregnancy and birth for thousands of years. Old doctors’ tales to the contrary, this herb was far safer than any of the pharmaceuticals prescribed for me by my doctors to treat the same condition. I confidently continued my use of marijuana, knowing that, among all options available to me, it was the safest, wisest choice.

    Ten weeks after my first dose, I had gained 17 pounds over my pre-pregnant weight. I gave beautiful and joyous birth to a 9 pound, 2 ounce baby boy in the bed in which he’d been conceived. I know that using marijuana saved us both from many of the terrible dangers associated with malnutrition in pregnancy. Soon after giving birth, I told my husband I wanted to do it again.

    Not one to deny himself or his wife the pleasures of conception, my husband agreed that we would not actively try to prevent a pregnancy, and nine months after the birth of our second son, I was pregnant with our third child. This time, I had my routine down. At the first sign of nausea, I called Jenny, who brought me my medicine. In my third, fourth, and fifth pregnancies, I gained an average of 25 pounds with each child. I had healthy, pink, chubby little angels, with lusty first cries. Their weights ranged from 8 to 9 1/2 pounds. Marijuana completely transformed very dangerous pregnancies into more enjoyable, safer, and healthier gestations.

    But I was caught in a catch-22. Because my providers of perinatal health care were not doctors, they had no authority to issue me a recommendation for marijuana. In addition, I chose not to tell them I used cannabis for fear they could refuse me care. Finally, even if I could get a recommendation, I knew of no compassion clubs (medical marijuana cooperatives or dispensaries) in my area. I had to take whatever my friends could find from street dealers.

    Many times I would go hungry, waiting four or more days for someone in town to find marijuana. I became so desperate for relief that I would contemplate driving to a large city like New York and walking the streets until I could find something. Fortunately, each time I almost reached that point, some kind soul would show up with something to get me through. What else is a sick person supposed to do when the only medicine that helps, and is potentially life-saving for her baby, is unavailable? I would much rather go to a store and purchase a product wrapped in a package secured with the seal of the state in which I live than buy from some guy on the street.

    Along the way, I discovered the benefits of using marijuana to treat other disorders. At times, I have been plagued by migraines so severe I would wind up in the emergency room. I would receive up to 250 milligrams of Demerol, and sometimes, when Demerol failed, even shots of Dilaudid. Thanks to my sporadic use of marijuana and a careful dosing regimen, I have not been to an emergency room in more than three years. [In September 1999, the Food and Drug Administration approved an application for a rigorous study designed to investigate the medical efficacy of marijuana on migraine headaches.—Ed.] In addition, I was diagnosed as having Crohn’s disease. After months of tests and treatments for my symptoms, I began using a dosing method similar to what I’d used for migraines, and I found that, once again, marijuana provided more relief than anything else. All in all, I’ve been prescribed more than 30 truly dangerous drugs, yet the only one that has provided relief without the associated risks is one many doctors won’t even discuss, much less recommend.

    My history with medicine and with marijuana has been more extensive than average. It is my sincere belief that if the American public were told the truth about marijuana, they could not help but support an immediate end to cannabis prohibition. Even I believed it was dangerous, until I began researching the issue. What I discovered is that not one person has ever died from smoking marijuana. The same cannot be said for the results of the misuse of some of our most commonly used substances, such as caffeine, aspirin, or vitamin A. In addition, marijuana is no more a “gateway drug” to other substances than is caffeine or alcohol. Most kids try these things long before they experiment with cannabis. And, finally, unlike such legal drugs as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, marijuana is not addictive. As with Twinkies or sex, a user can come to psychologically depend on marijuana’s mood-altering effects; however, no physical addiction is associated with cannabis.

    Now I find myself mother to five beautiful, intelligent, creative children for whom I would lay down my life in an instant. I have been blessed with the challenge of helping them grow into responsible, hardworking, and loving adults. I have also been blessed with the challenge of protecting them from a world fraught with dangers. There are those who would have me believe that, in order to protect my children from drug abuse, I must lie to them; that I must tell them that marijuana is dangerous, with no redeeming qualities. Some say I should go so far as to tell them that it couldn’t possibly be used as a medicine. Then there are those who would say that if I ever find out that my child has experimented with marijuana, I should turn her over to expert authorities in order to impart a lesson. While this does send a message to the child, it is not the message I want to send.

    What I teach my children, ages nine and under, about drugs is that medicine comes in many forms, and that children should never touch any medicine (categorized broadly as a pill, liquid, herb, or even caffeinated beverage) unless it is given to them by a trusted adult. My cabinets are full of herbs, such as red raspberry leaves and rosemary, which I use in cooking and as medicines. I have things such as comfrey, which I use externally, that could be dangerous if taken internally. Like all responsible parents, my husband and I keep all medicines, cleaning products, and age-inappropriate items, such as small buttons, out of the reach of our kids and safely locked away.

    However, I am aware that the day may come when my kids figure out the trick to the lock, so I add an extra measure of safety by educating them about the honest dangers of using medicines that are not needed. In addition, by sharing my views about the politics behind the issues, I am teaching them another, equally important lesson. As Santa Clara University School of Law Professor Gerald Uelmen stated last year at the medical marijuana giveaway at the City Hall in Santa Cruz, California, “We are teaching our children compassion for the sick and dying; only a twisted and perverted federal bureaucrat could call that the wrong message.”

    I have also tried to impart a deep respect for natural healing. By using cool compresses and acupressure for headaches before grabbing a pharmaceutical such as acetaminophen, I’ve taught them the importance of avoiding dependence on drugs. I have also shown them the benefits of the wise and careful use of pharmaceuticals by using them when they were my best choice. I try to instill in them a sense of reason and resourcefulness by honestly presenting the answers to their questions and admitting what I do not know, but searching until I find the answer.

    When our oldest child overheard my husband and me discussing marijuana prohibition, it opened up a wonderful line of communication about the subject. I gave him a very basic explanation: that marijuana is a plant that can be used as a medicine. I explained that it could be overused and abused, as well. Then I told him that this plant is illegal, and that people who are found to possess marijuana can go to jail. The question I found myself floundering to answer, however, was when he asked, “Why would the police put someone in jail for using medicine?”
    It is long past time parents stood up and took notice of the abuses being leveled on our children by well-intentioned but misinformed governing officials. We need honest and responsible drug education that treats children as intelligent pre-adults who are learning how to live full and healthy lives in a dangerous world.

    They need every shred of information we can give them, so that they do not choose to huff butane or snort heroin simply because they survived smoking the joint we told them was dangerous, and because they therefore assume we must be lying about the rest. We need to provide an open line of communication so that, if they ever have to face areas of ambiguity or situations we have neglected to discuss, they will feel comfortable coming to us, and not friends or the Internet, to advise them when they need it most. In order to do this, we must first educate ourselves.

    Medical Marijuana: A Surprising Solution to Severe Morning Sickness
    By Erin Hildebrandt
    Issue 124 May/June 2004

    Bolton, Sanford, PhD, and Gary Null, MS. “Caffeine: Psychological Effects, Use and Abuse.” Orthomolecular Psychiatry 10, no. 3 (Third Quarter 1981): 202–211.
    Campbell, Fiona A., et al. “Are Cannabinoids an Effective and Safe Treatment Option in the Management of Pain? A Qualitative Systematic Review.” British Medical Journal 323, no. 7303 (7 July 2001): 13–16.
    Conrad, Chris. Hemp for Health. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1997.
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    Duran, AM. Dreher, Melanie C., PhD, et al. “Prenatal Marijuana Exposure and Neonatal Outcomes in Jamaica: An Ethnographic Study.” Pediatrics 93, no. 2 (February 1994): 254–260.
    Grinspoon, Lester, MD, and James B. Bakalar. Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine, rev ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.
    Hall, W., et al. The Health and Psychological Consequences of Cannabis Use. National Drug Strategy Monograph Series 25. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1994.
    House of Lords, Select Committee on Science and Technology. “Cannabis—The Scientific and Medical Evidence.” London, England: The Stationery Office, Parliament (1998). Cited in Iversen, Leslie L., PhD, FRS. The Science of Marijuana. London, England: Oxford University Press, 2000: 178.
    Joy, Janet E., et al. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 1999.
    Munch, S. “Women’s Experiences with a Pregnancy Complication: Causal Explanations of Hyperemesis Gravidarum.” Social Work and Health Care 36, no. 1 (2002): 59–76.
    Nettis, E., et al. “Update on Sensitivity to Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.” Current Drug Targets: Immune, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders 1, no. 3 (November 2001): 233–240.
    Randall, Robert C., and Alice M. O’Leary. Marijuana Rx: The Patients’ Fight for Medicinal Pot. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1998.
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, US Dept. of Health and Human Services. National Household Survey on Drug Abuse 2000. Washington, DC: SAMHSA, 2001.
    Tramer, M. R., et al. “Cannabinoids for Control of Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting: A Quantitative Systematic Review.” British Medical Journal 323, no. 7303 (7 July 2001): 16–21.
    US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. “In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition.” Docket 86-22 (6 September 1988): 57.
    “Vitamin A Toxicity.” The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Sec. 1, Ch. 3, “Vitamin Deficiency, Dependency and Toxicity.” www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section1/chapter3/3c.htm.
    Woodcock, H. C., et al. “A Matched Cohort Study of Planned Home and Hospital Births in Western Australia 1981–1987.” Midwifery 10, no. 3 (September 1994): 125–135.
    Zimmer, Lynn, PhD, and John P. Morgan, MD. Marijuana Myths Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence. New York: The Lindesmith Center, 1997.
    Zimmerman, Bill, PhD, et al. Is Marijuana the Right Medicine for You? New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, 1998.

    See www.mpp.org/legislation/state-by-state-medical-marijuana-laws.html for details of each state’s medical marijuana statutes.
    Americans for Safe Access: www.SafeAccessNow.org.
    Coalition for Medical Marijuana: www.MedicalMJ.org.
    Drug War Facts: www.DrugWarFacts.org.
    Marijuana Policy Project: www.mpp.org.
    For more information about nausea or marijuana, see the following articles in past issues of Mothering: "Nausea During Pregnancy" no. 52; "Marijuana in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding," no.42; and "Coping With Nausea in Pregnancy," no. 30.

    Erin Hildebrandt is a writer, an activist, and a happily married, suburban mother of five. Her website is at www.parentsendingprohibition.org.