Recently, a journalist wrote about a gut wrenching issue: GPs sending dying patients underground in the search for medicinal cannabis.
It’s utterly soul destroying to hear of what sick adults and children must do to access a potent plant that can relieve pain and suffering, restore some dignity, give them control and autonomy over their bodies, and even extend their lives.
Two years ago, a father gave cannabis oil to his two year old daughter, who had an advanced, rare form of cancer. He was arrested and charged.
The father, Adam Koessler, said after using cannabis oil the difference in his daughter’s condition was miraculous:
“Her cancer-ridden little body was alive again – Rumer had almost instant quality of life. She would say ‘Daddy, tummy’s not sore’ and she would be able to eat like a champion and began to gain weight. Her energy was up and she wanted to go outside with me instead of lie on her back with her legs curled up. Her skin colour came back, her eyes were sparkling again and we just looked at each other in complete amazement”. (Northern Daily Leader)
After he was reported to police, his daughter’s condition was completely reversed. She was placed into hospital care, and hooked up to morphine. Her health deteriorated, and she passed away soon after.
Cannabis Oil Is Still Mostly Illegal In Australia
We often hear how cannabis oil can stop seizures (even when medications have been ineffective), and breathe new life into cancer patients. It shows promising results for diabetes and obesity, and can stop tremors in those with Parkinson’s Disease.
These life changing stories aren’t just in cases of terminal or serious diseases. Cannabis oil is helping those with a range of emotional, mental, and physical problems.
There have been moves toward legalising medicinal cannabis – see the TGA website for more details.
Patient access is a major issue, however. Only about 24 Australian medical specialists – authorised prescribers who must go through a time-consuming ethics approval – are allowed to prescribe it, via the restricted access scheme. Two of those specialists are in Queensland, one is in South Australia, and 21 are in New South Wales.
If that weren’t a big enough hurdle for sick and suffering Australians, especially those who are chronically or terminally ill, there are two other problems: finding out who those specialists are, as well as there being strict criteria for prescriptions. The program is limited by very specific conditions, on a state-by-state basis.
- In Victoria, the Department of Health allows only kids with severe epilepsy – where medications are not working – to access medicinal cannabis
- In NSW it is limited to people with a terminal illness
- Tasmanian authorities say they will not limit the patient cohort
These hurdles make it extraordinarily difficult for the vast majority of people in need to obtain quality, high potency cannabis oil, via legal channels.
The government is taking positive steps with medicinal cannabis, however, and hopefully one day, Australia will be a leading producer of high quality medicinal cannabis. After all, Tasmania produces 50% of the world’s opium, so it’s not like it’s going to be a huge ethical leap.
Interesting fact: Australia has the ideal climate for growing different varieties of cannabis.
A Quick Primer On Cannabis Oil
There are over 500 compounds found in cannabis, and over 85 of these are known as cannabinoids.
The most commonly known cannabinoids are CBD and THC.
Cannabis also contains over 120 terpenes, which contribute to the therapeutic effect of the plant.
Many people are aware of, and use, CBD oil, which is not the most medicinal part of the plant, but has effective properties for increasing energy, elevating mood, and providing peace to those who feel troubled. It’s commonly prescribed to those experiencing anxiety and depression, and is regarded as the ‘vitamin C of cannabis’.
Whereas CBD is beneficial for its uplifting properties, THC has benefits for rest, sleep and pain relief.
Cannabinoids can be used separately or in combination, depending on the specific problem and, if the correct dose is given, will not produce a ‘high’.
Did You Know You Have An Endocannabinoid System In Your Body?
Here’s an astonishing fact many people don’t know: the human body has an endocannabinoid system – a chemical communication system, just like the hormone system. Our bodies have receptors for cannabinoids – in the brain and in the immune system – just as the uterus has receptors for oxytocin, which is needed for labour to start.
Surprisingly, even though the endocannabinoid system was discovered 30 years ago, we don’t hear much about it. You have to wonder why, right?
Doctor David Allen is a cardiac surgeon, who changed careers to become a cannabinoid research scientist.
He believes the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, and what it can do, will change medicine. He says it is the “single most important medical scientific discovery ever, and will save more lives than the discovery and application of sterile surgical technique”.
More people will be saved through the manipulation of the cannabinoid system than with surgery. That’s a pretty big statement for a heart surgeon to make.
Please watch the three minute video below:
What Doctor Allen says in the video is the tip of a very big iceberg – one that has been hidden from the public for far too long.
In a brilliant opinion piece in The Mercury (a Tasmanian news publication), titled It’s Time To Regulate Medicinal Cannabis And Scrap Legal Penalties, comes this statement:
“One must consider the question of why so many people turn to cannabis as an alternative to “conventional medicine”. In truth, this rarely has anything to do with a desire by patients to get high, but rather is motivated by the fact that cannabis often is of substantial benefit for a myriad of conditions where standard approaches have fallen dramatically short. Cannabis is actually among the most studied drugs of all time, largely as a result of US-sponsored research on its harms”.
I will write more about the ins and outs of cannabis oil in another article, but for now, I will share with you one mother’s powerful story.
One Family’s Story
Many parents have reached out to me, sharing their stories of how cannabis oil has changed their lives, or their children’s. One, in particular, stood out for me.
It’s important for this story to be heard. It raises awareness about a highly effective, natural medicine that’s denied to so many (often in favour of synthetic, pharmaceutical drugs that can have serious side effects). It also gives hope to those who feel they have no options, and no way out of their (or their children’s) emotional, mental, or physical health problems.
Imagine yourself in this mother’s shoes, and think about how you might feel if your child was going through the very same thing. What would you do?
Would You Give Your Suffering Child Cannabis Oil?
When mainstream options don’t seem to be working, we tend to seek out alternative solutions. And usually, by this time, we’re already in a bad situation.
I spoke to a mother in such a situation. She told me cannabis oil had significantly changed her family’s life for the better, in just four days.
For the sake of protecting the family’s privacy (and to avoid yet another loving parent being arrested and charged), let’s call the mother Sophie, and the daughter Sarah.
Like any typical 14 year old girl, Sarah’s emotions went up and down in rollercoaster fashion. She was okay one minute, then a hurricane of anger and misery the next. Assuming it was normal teenage behaviour, Sophie simply listened to her daughter in order for her to feel heard, and she supported her as well as she could – even taking her away for one-on-one time more often.
As months went by, Sarah’s emotional state worsened, as did Sophie’s confidence as a parent. No matter what Sophie said, or how much she supported her daughter, it didn’t seem to make any difference.
The first major warning sign was an anxiety attack in the doctor’s office. Sarah had been swinging between bouts of tears and laughter, and she admitted she hadn’t been taking food to school because she was too anxious to be seen eating.
When anyone looked at Sarah, however innocently, as she walked into school, she became really anxious. She would leave her jumper on in class, even if she was hot, because she didn’t want to be seen taking it off. She wouldn’t blow her nose or cough, no matter how badly she needed to… and it didn’t end there. Her anxiety had infiltrated many aspects of her daily life.
After hearing these shocking new revelations, Sophie did some research, and realised her daughter had severe social anxiety.
Anything that attracted attention to Sarah triggered her anxiety. She had always excelled academically, and pushed herself to achieve perfect grades – mostly to avoid the attention and embarrassment that came with mistakes or poor results. She became obsessive about homework, yet increasingly procrastinated as her condition worsened, exploding with emotion when deadlines loomed.
When oral presentations were due, it was worse. There were epic meltdowns, beginning with anger and ending with depressive words and thoughts. She pleaded to be home-schooled, rather than go to school. Even with weekly counselling, Sophie knew it would take a long time to see much progress.
All Sarah wanted to do was stay home and escape into computer games for long periods of time. She neglected personal care, and responsibilities at home. Food became an addictive comfort tool, especially high-sugar and processed foods, which she bought for herself. This made her hormonal imbalance worse, and triggered further anxieties caused by acne, ovulation pain, and period pain.
But things became worse.
Sarah had secretly been cutting herself.
By accident, Sophie noticed a few cuts on the inside of Sarah’s wrist (where it meets the thumb), and realised this was why Sarah had been so fussy about what she wore – mostly long sleeves and jumpers, to cover her arms.
At that point, Sophie didn’t realise the full extent of the problem.
Via texts and memes, Sarah began to indicate she would rather die than go to school – one of the most frightening things Sophie had to deal with as a parent. As it became a daily occurrence, Sophie became anxious about leaving her daughter alone.
She was even more overwhelmed with fear when, one night, Sarah sent her a disturbing photo. It was a picture of her daughter in the bath, at her dad’s house. Sarah’s arm, resting on the edge of the bath, was cut all the way from her thumb to the inside of her elbow. Clearly this self-harm had been going on for some time.
It’s something a parent cannot imagine seeing, or ever wanting to see. Clearly, Sarah was desperately crying out for help; this type of behaviour just doesn’t happen in healthy, balanced individuals.
At 14 years of age, girls can experience a great deal of emotional turmoil. It’s a common age for girls to cut themselves – especially girls who are sensitive, overachievers, or perfectionists. It’s also more than enough to tear parent’s heart apart.
After months of intense stress, which escalated after she saw what Sarah had done to her body, Sophie was completely beside herself.
“After giving birth to a beautiful, adorable baby, whom you lovingly cherish and nurture, only to see her grow up and say she would rather be dead… you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. No parent wants to hear their child say she wants to die, let alone hear it daily. I felt lost, emotionally wiped out, and physically run down. All of my other responsibilities became a huge effort”, Sophie said.
She continues: “I had no idea how to support her, other than with love. I kept thinking that if I said the wrong thing, it could end disastrously. I couldn’t tell anyone, because I needed to protect her trust first and foremost. I would never forgive myself if something happened, because she found out I told someone. Not even her father knew. I had to be her safe place”.
Discussing an issue like this with other parents, friends or family can be very difficult; many parents simply don’t feel safe enough to speak out.
Sophie continued to research severe anxiety treatment options. Although Sarah’s counsellor was lovely, and offered some good suggestions and strategies, Sophie decided to consult a psychologist who specialised in social anxiety.
“One of the options the psychologist offered was an anti-depressant. But Sarah had already done her own research on anti-depressants, so it took me by huge surprise when she said, flat out, “No way. I’m not comfortable with the side effects”.”
Then she stumbled upon a small trial – the use of cannabis oil for social anxiety – which had positive results. At this point, the situation was putting massive stress on the whole family, and she was willing to try options ‘outside the square’.
After many months of trying to improve life for Sarah, Sophie didn’t know how much more she had left in her. She couldn’t focus on work; even simple conversations were an effort. So, after hearing cannabis oil might be beneficial for her too, Sophie decided she and her daughter would try it together.
How Cannabis Oil Works
There are protocols to follow, depending on your condition. For example, you might need a specific mix of CBD (for energy, mood lifting) and THC (for pain relief, relaxing).
Sophie says: “The way the dosage worked was to start slowly and build up. Because each person is unique, so is the dose. So it was one drop, four times a day – adding a drop per dose until you hit your ‘sweet spot’ which may be reached in a few days or more”.
The oil is just one part of the protocol. A big focus is on healing the gut, and cutting out foods that cause inflammation.
Sugar is off the table, as are dairy and grains. This means a paleo, or LCHF (low carb, healthy fat) way of eating is ideal.
Hemp seeds are suggested to help ‘mop up’ the gut, and there are teas and other herbs that help with gut repair – healing and reducing inflammation.
“The protocol emphasises the importance of addressing the gut-brain connection”, Sophie says. “The gut sends more messages to the brain than the brain sends to the gut. So if the gut is unhappy, it’s going to be sending suboptimal messages to the brain”.
It is recommended the protocol be continued for 30 days.
Noticing A Difference… In Just Four Days
Around Day 4, Sophie noticed something different: Sarah looked truly happy – happier, in fact, than Sophie had seen her in many years. Sarah had energy to get off the couch, and would sing to herself as she did things around the home. She was drawing again, smiling, laughing, and being playful. She started to bond with the kids at school, and stopped asking for days off; in fact, she started to enjoy school again.
“When she looked at me, I felt she was more connected and present, rather than looking down, being distracted, or changing the topic in conversations. She’d stopped talking about wanting to die, rediscovered her creativity, and was enjoying life again”, beamed Sophie. “It’s exactly how life should be. It didn’t change her into someone else, or make her high, instead I felt like I had my daughter back. She was emotionally balanced and able to cope with everyday life”.
Sophie continued: “At that moment, I realised I felt something different too. While I was still fatigued, I had a lot more mental energy. I felt like having conversations; I felt calm and composed. I felt my focus and attention back again, and I was being more loving towards others. The cannabis oil has truly given both of us life back again; we both feel balanced and peaceful. We definitely don’t feel high or in any altered state. We just feel really well – emotionally and physically”.
It’s easy to see why countries where cannabis consumption is allowed, such as the Netherlands, have less violent crime than we do. If everyone could access cannabis oil to feed the cannabinoid system that exists in every one of us, there’s no doubt the world would be a much more peaceful and balanced place to live, with less suffering.
More Parents’ Stories
Sophie isn’t the only parent who has approached me.
Other parents, with similar issues, have approached me with their stories. They have found relief with cannabis oil, seeing massive improvements in conditions like autism and sensory processing disorder. One mother who took cannabis oil for a sensory issue discovered it unexpectedly relieved her endometriosis symptoms.
Clearly, cannabis oil can, and does, help many people with a huge range of conditions, making life bearable, pain free, and stress free. It can even save lives.
If you’d like to share your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All stories shared will remain anonymous.
“Over three days you will hear from the world’s most informed speakers on the medical uses, current research, and science behind Medicinal Cannabis. The program will be suited to medical professionals, policy makers and the general public, including patients and carers”.
- The Truth About Medical Marijuana (SBS special presentation)
“In Australia, the move to legalise cannabis has gained momentum, thanks largely to the tenacity of Tamworth couple Lucy and Lou Haslam, who believed the benefits medicinal cannabis had on their dying son needed to be shared with the broader community. They were the driving force in co-ordinating an international symposium on medicinal cannabis, which helped shift the conversation from “if” to “when” cannabis would be legalised.”
In this five part series, Mary Lynn Mathre of Patients Out of Time expresses her views on the importance of education about our own endogenous Endocannabinoid System.