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Today's "Medical Cannabis Success Story" is brought to you by my new friend, fellow massage therapist, and cannabis activist, Kathleen Callahan DeCaneva. Kathleen and I met on Facebook over a year ago. Although we have never met IRL or even had an actual conversation, I "talk" to her every day on social media.
Kathleen is typical of a lot of people in this country. She was brainwashed into believing that cannabis was a dangerous drug. She had never tried it until she turned 53. BTW, the average Illinois medical cannabis patient is a white female, in her 50s, with fibromyalgia. Cancer is the second most common condition. Many have never used it before, but turned to it out of desperation after years of enduring the horrible side effects of prescription medications that provide little or no benefit.
Here is a listing of the qualifying conditions from most common to least common:
List of Patient Count for the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program Qualifying Conditions
Kathleen's cannabis journey started after enduring 16 months of severe pain after eating. Her doctors gave her one test after another but were unable to come up with a diagnosis which explained her stomach pain. She was in so much pain that when a friend recommended cannabis oil, Full Extract Medical Cannabis Oil (FEMCO), she decided to try it. Her friend had been using it, herself, and had experienced only mild side effects; dry mouth and an intense psychotropic effect when she used too much.
Kathleen was cautious at the beginning... very smart woman... and started out with a low dosage of high THC oil. She used an amount she described as a "tiny tip of a toothpick" several times throughout the day. She also used cannabis suppositories, one of the most efficient delivery methods. The cannabinoids go directly into the bloodstream rather than through the liver to the brain. There is 80 percent bioavailability with suppositories and it has not psychotropic effect. Bioavailability is defined as the degree and rate a substance is absorbed by the body. Kathleen was pleasantly surprised when she was able to slowly eat more and more food without pain as long as she had the cannabis oil in her system. She didn't know how or why it worked, she just knew that it worked.
After laproscopic surgery, it was evident that her small intestine was twisted. Her doctors were able to untwist it, yet the pain persisted. She returned to her surgeon, who did a CT scan which showed it had twisted yet again. Her surgeon was the only one of her doctors who was aware that Kathleen was taking FEMCO. She needed abdominal surgery where two feet of her bulging, twisted intestine was removed. She realized that the oil allowed her intestines to relax enough for some food to make its way through her digestive tract. In addition, she had much less scar tissue due to the amazing anti-inflammatory properties of the cannabis oil that she took before and after her surgeries. An unexpected, additional benefit was the relief from migraines. As long as Kathleen uses the cannabis oil, she is migraine free.
Sadly, that was not the happy ending to Kathleen's health problems. Soon afterwards, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She researched FEMCO and breast cancer. Much of her findings indicated that those with hormonal breast cancer should stay clear of too much THC and go with higher CBD strains.. As a result, Kathleen used 1:1 THC:CBD or higher CBD strains for three years. Unfortunately, she had a recurrence of her breast cancer. And so, like any intelligent person who is in control of her own health and the choices she makes about it, she returned to doing more research. She had never been convinced that there was a scientific explanation supporting the finding that THC stimulates hormones and tumor growth.
She discovered a Spanish doctor, Dr. Sanchez, who is doing cannabis research using mice with cancerous tumors. THC was injected into the tumors and the result was surprising... and the complete opposite of the majority of research regarding how THC affects tumors. Rather than growing, the tumors actually shrunk. This finding debunked the false information that THC stimulates tumor growth. Kathleen came to the realization that anecdotal evidence by a small group of women who were treating their breast cancer with cannabis oil erroneously concluded that THC stimulates hormonal cancer tumor growth.
Kathleen cited the Rick Simpson cannabis cancer protocol of 60 grams of FEMCO (also known as RSO, named after Rick Simpson) in 90 days. She learned that far smaller amounts of FEMCO can work just as effectively to slow or even eradicate cancerous tumors. BTW, Rick Simpson was the first person to publicly use FEMCO to treat his own skin cancer starting around 2000. He has shared his recipe and thousands have used it to heal their cancers and many other conditions over the past 20 years.
Kathleen would happily participate in any human trials where THC is injected into cancerous tumors. Unfortunately, no such studies exist at the moment. As many of you know, cannabis is still federally illegal in this country, making research studies with humans very limited. Of course, this is exactly the type of research that is necessary to better understand how and why cannabis works.
In addition to relieving her migraines and controlling her cancer, Kathleen experienced a reduction in her anxiety which accompanies having serious, possible life-threatening health problems. And she discovered that cannabis is far and away the best sleep medicine there is! I can attest to that!
As is often the case, once people experience the myriad of benefits of cannabis, they become cannabis advocate warriors. Kathleen has joined the movement to raise awareness about cannabis by sharing her story and through cannabis advocacy. Does she think cannabis is for everyone? Of course not. It is not a "magic bullet" that can fix everyone. But, she knows what it has done for her. She is angry that many of our elected officials have lied to us for the past 80 years, telling us that cannabis is a dangerous drug. She is incensed that there are thousands of Americans in prison for possessing or growing this incredible plant. For that reason, she is in favor of federally legalizing cannabis. Sadly, our current administration is actively working hard to deprive us of access to safe cannabis, attempting to drag us back to the days of the useless "War on Drugs."
Kathleen ended her story with the following words:
"We are the pioneers, the Cannabis warriors who are paving the way toward access for all and I'm proud of all of us who have chosen to share their stories and demand that prohibition must end."