October is breast cancer awareness month. I have an awareness of breast cancer that doesn't require a special month to be present in me. I have lost friends, family members, and watched complete strangers wither away in the rooms and halls of the hospitals I became so acquainted with.
My family had a history of cancer, so naturally, my whole life, I thought about cancer. It took my great grandmother when she was only in her 50's, and her daughter- my grandmother, ended up getting breast cancer when she was older than her own mother when she died. My grandmother beat her cancer, and is alive today.
My grandmother's cancer is gone. I have a happy ending to one of my stories...but there are many more I could tell, and millions more across America, that do not have happy endings.
My grandmother did not use cannabis. She is of the generation that was told it was not good, and therefore, bad. She would not break any law to obtain the medicine, and she would not use a drug that might "make (her) feel funny" or get her high. My grandmother used chemo. She got sick, she lost her already thinning hair, and it was sad. Fortunately, they were able to arrest the growth, and declare her in remission. Again, her story has a happy ending- but it was a difficult thing for me to know that with the research and testimonies from patients, that my beloved "back-up mom" (as she always calls herself to me) was suffering unnecessarily, or not fighting with what I thought was the right combination of western medicine and traditional herbology. I'm a total hippie, I know. I was also simply angry that she had been so successfully fed the misinformation that cannabis was "The Devil's Lettuce" - or whatever. I was angry that I knew that there were so many more grandmas like mine- who wouldn't- just couldn't believe that the hippies were right, and that Flower Power was real.
The Susan G.Komen website features a pink breast cancer ribbon, and seemingly endless information about breast cancer. Susan Komen's name is well known to patients, and friends & family of breast cancer patients. Most often referred to as simply Komen, they are an organization with their headquarters in Dallas, TX, and they are the largest, most well-funded breast cancer organization in the United States. There is an entire page on their site devoted to "marijuana
". They can't outright tell you to go get some, but they DO
give some good information to patients or F&F my be looking for, including risks and what the "word on the street" is about it.
Most other sites say the same thing- "it is not a treatment for cancer." These are usually the sites associated with foundations, organizations and groups that have funding from many sources, and absolutely HAVE to stay on the "right side of the law" in their dealings. Right now, under the law, cannabis is federally illegal. It is on the wrong side of the law...for now.
The 2018 Farm Bill will make provisions for federally legal hemp to be grown, which means the life saving/changing/enhancing compound CBD will be available to all, free of legal entanglement! Yay!! Now if we could just get them to pass it...that's a whole new post. The current Farm Bill is from 2014, and it expired on September 30th...
The Atlantic published a story in August of 2017 with the heading "Congress Can FInally Tell Hemp From Pot" giving a clear picture of the resistance, and what looks like eventual allowance for industrial hemp through the allowance of farmers to grow it.
The recent FDA approval of a drug called Epidiolex that contains CBD, which is a compound found in hemp, for the treatment of epilepsy in children, also gives us hope. Hope for the kids taking the new drug, and also, hope that other pharmaceutical companies will at least look into, if not develop new treatments for the things cannabis is already reported to be helping...like breast cancer.
The internet is full of patient testimonials, groups on social media sites, and blogs, all devoted to the healing powers of cannabis, and their experiences. Some of these groups are secret, because people are literally breaking the law to save their lives right now.
In my post next Wednesday, I'll go into the Farm Bill a little, and we'll take a look at what some actual patients have to say about cannabis and breast cancer.
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