Medical Marijuana update

Recently reapplied for my Oregon Medical Marijuana card for this year.  I purchased a new book, The Medical Marijuana Handbook: A Patient’s Guide to Holistic Healing with Cannabis. By Norma Eckroate, published by  This realm is very complex and confusing without a guide, so her handbook is welcome.

At least 1,000 strains of cannabis are named so far, each one a different medicine.  Products are coming on the market daily.  Each plant has at least 400 chemicals, THC and CBD being the ones in greatest quantity, the ones that tend to be listed by percentage on products.  New medical strains tend to be low in THC, which is what gets you high, and very high is CBD, which is the medicinal chemical most people look for.

She speaks clearly about the synergy of the whole plant, vs allopathic chemical drugs.  It’s got a name: the entourage effect. The medicine is softer, less harsh than most prescription medicines. Cannabis promotes homeostasis (or internal balance) by working with the body’s own endocannabinoid system to harmonize and balance all of the functions of the body.  In her world, it can help just about anything.  For cancer, it controls natural programmed cell death, called apoptosis.  It assists angiogenesis, which causes tumors to starve.  It attacks cancer cells like chemo with no harm to healthy cells in the body.  And it also can increase appetite, essential for survival for many cancer patients.  Some people lose weight and some gain, it varies.  And all of this with relatively few side effects, no danger of overdosing.  Thousands of people die every year from allopathic drugs and complications from drug interactions.   No one has ever died from a cannabis overdose.  I have heard this several times now.

The author repeats what I have already learned: the story on the street, the anecdotal evidence, is that a drop or two of RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) concentrated oil a day can reduce or remove even end stage cancer.  The idea is to treat the whole body, not to suppress the symptoms, so a rebalance or cure becomes possible.

She says that the US government (in the 1970s) reported cannabis was good for limiting neurological damage after strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, HIV dementia.  Cancer, pain, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, insomnia, anxiety, seizures, psoriasis, bone growth, even MS.  Long list.  The reason this works is because of the internal endocannabinoid system we all have in our bodies, and how cannabis links up with that in a variety of ways.  I feel such sorrow that cannabis has been outlawed for so many decades, thanks to the pharmaceutical companies who want to make money.  Unnecessary suffering by many, many people.  Only now will the necessary research be done.  It will take decades before we even begin to understand how this plant works.

My grandmother was a nurse during the second world war, and told me that they used cannabis routinely, especially for the DTs when an alcoholic would come in to her ward.  No one thought anything about it, just a good medicine that worked for lots of things.

The politics of how this herb got to be a “dangerous substance” is just plain sad.

I’m about 1/2 way through the book, will report again if there’s useful things to share.  Overall, the information is organized, not reported in great depth but with heart, and feels honest, presented with good intention.  Not light or heavy, just easy to read.

But really, Purple Cush?  Where do people get these names!



Food as Medicine

Early on this journey, a good friend and renowned chef Amelia Hard turned us on to a cookbook entitled The Cancer Fighting Kitchen, by Rebecca Katz.  Great food, great taste, and easy to use.  Eric prepares the Magic Mineral broth every weekend, and then creates a range of meals using the broth as the basis.  And it is indeed magic!  He plunks into a large kettle every type of vegetable you could imagine, plus kombu which is a seaweed, and lotus seeds (which I read was good for kidney cancer) and covers it all with filtered water.  Then cooks the whole thing for about 6 to 8 hours, all day.  The drained broth goes in the fridge and the vegetables, which have surrendered their goodies to the broth, go into the compost.  Sometimes he adds chicken bones, sometimes range fed beef knuckle bones.

Katz offers some fantastic soup and main dish recipes and salads, some muffins and deserts, smoothies and such.  What we have learned is that sugar of any kind feeds cancer cells, so we use acacia honey which is a low glycemic sweetener, and some maple syrup.  Bleached flour and breads, even potatoes, all end up as sugar, so they are out, too.  Mostly.  I can actually tell now when I eat too much sugar, I get sick quickly.

This book would be good for anyone.  It’s set up to help you deal with treatment side effects, such as nausea, depression, lack of appetite, and fatigue, as well as prevention and actually removing tumors.  She tells us what each ingredient is good for.

Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life, by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, describes his own personal journey with cancer, and how he used food to fight his brain cancer, even while being ridiculed by other doctors.  For him, it worked well.  He lived about 20 years past his prognosis.  His book includes a holistic model including mind-body meditations.

He recommends organic cherries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, black raspberry extract, rosemary, parsley, black olives.  No frozen fish.  Omega-3 butter (not margarine) and eggs, avoid processed pork, red meat less than 3 times a week.  Basmati rice, virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil for cooking and salads.

Mushrooms, green tea (steep 10 minutes) and turmeric supports something called angiostatin, which blocks the growth of new blood vessels needed for a cancer to grow.  If you use turmeric, it needs to be plus pepper and coconut oil.  You can read more at  He was a doctor, so this book is detailed, technical, but readable, not a recipe book.

Experts don’t agree on food as medicine, in his opinion, because the pharmaceutical industry on one side makes their money on drugs, and the food industry protects itself by discouraging dissemination of links between food and illness.  They don’t want anything to change.  For those of us who are fighting for our lives and cannot or will not use western medicine, “it is unacceptable to continue to be the passive victim of these economic forces.”  So his book covers the politics of all this, too.

Foods to Fight Cancer, by Beliveau, a lovely, full color book that goes into more detail about what to use, and how to cook it, but is not a recipe book.  “Food is like a chemotherapy” taken three times a day, he says, studied by humans for zillions of years.  Nutraceuticals are any food that contains a large quantity of one or more molecules with anticancer potential.  Antioxidants don’t cut it in terms of dealing with cancer.  He groups his guidelines into several categories:

Cabbage: brussels sprouts, kale, watercress, turnips, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower.  Eat 5 x a week.  Do not boil.  Cook quickly, steam or stir fry.  These foods he claims can fight existing tumors.  Eric makes a great curried cauliflower soup from the Katz book.

Garlic: garlic,onions, leeks, shallots, chives.  Good to prevent prostate and stomach cancers.

Soy: use as food, not a supplement.  I can’t use any soy, gives me migraines.

Tumeric: with pepper and coconut oil.  Anti-inflammatory. (Research from other sources report that turmeric can remove tumors. I’ll post about getting turmeric directly into my veins.  )

Green tea: Try Oolong.  Gyokuro is a mild green. Bancha is what I use.  It blocks angiogenesis, so over time it can kill a tumor.  No blood supply, no tumor.

Berries: Same as the other book.  Anti-angiogenesis.  Cranberries help kidneys.  Pecans.

Omega-3s:  We have been buying more expensive eggs, for example.  I just started using Ghee made from omega-3 butter, organic.

Seaweed, Ginger, Mushrooms.  I add these items based on research from other sources, especially mushrooms.  That’s a whole blog unto itself, coming up soon.

This post is like flying overhead at about Mt. Hood height or higher, surveying the landscape of ‘food as medicine’.  It may save my life, and it is a whole realm unto itself. It’s a daily occupation to get as much as this into each meal as I can.

It helps when someone else can cook for you, and cook with LOVE!  The all important ingredient.  But if you are on your own, get the Katz book and enjoy!










N of 1

What really works for people with cancer who cannot use Western medicine for whatever reasons?  And how can we know?

The Gold Standard for medical research, and the basis of what we hear from doctors, comes from controlled clinical trials with hundreds of patients, randomly sorted into groups, using placebos or other controls, to see whether there is a statistically significant aggregate answer about a proposed treatment.  It’s about averages. It serves the scientists, who are mostly funded by large pharmaceutical companies.   But averages don’t tell us what will happen to an individual, the 1 in a N of 1.  The data given to me, for example, is just that: an average result, and it is not really about me, and it’s not the final word.  In some cases, it’s not only not about me, it might be harmful.  Chemo, for example, would kill me.

One way to deal with this is to use a N of 1 trial, where the number of participants in the trial is one.  You, for example, or me.  By controlled clinical trials, it has been shown that N of 1 is a patient-specified, individual answer which leads to improved patient outcomes.  In other words, me and my doctor try various treatments, and see what works.  When patients and doctors do this, they get better results than if they refer only to the averaged data.  This type of research serves patients needs directly.

This can be costly, bureaucrats don’t like it, and people don’t always understand it.  Doctors often don’t have the time or support staff to make this really work.  But guess what?  It’s gaining traction because it works.  Better than the other way.  The catch is that we need to start by documenting a baseline, and track symptoms before we try a new treatment, and then track afterwards, and test treatments separately.  That last part lets me out, I think.

This process leads to experiments that can answer questions and change treatment plans for the better.  Doctors can tailor care, and its cheaper to do, instead of relying on expensive tests and such.  It’s lower tech, and achieves personalized medicine.  It’s about improving patient care.  Instead of trying to wrangle the patient (you or me) into a averaged body of statistical data, it personalizing the treatment and the outcome as well.

You can read a professional journal for this new movement, The Patient: Patient Centered Outcomes Research.   In 2010, the Affordable Care Act established the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.  I read about this in the November 2014 Discover magazine, starting on page 28.

My thoughts are as usual a little off the wall, but my guess is that people are moving away from Western medicine, which is expensive, impersonal, kind of like a machine conveyor belt, towards Alternative Medicine such as naturopathic care or Chinese medicine or Tibetan medicine, because it is personal, cheaper, and in many cases, more effective for chronic issues.

When Western medicine does apply for cancer treatment, by all means, go for it.  Sometimes it doesn’t, and so this provides an alternative way to proceed.

If Western docs have learned anything from Integrative Medicine, it’s that people are not averages, they are a N of 1.  And if they are to compete, they need to deal with this.

In my case, I get my next scan towards the end of this month.  If the tumors are receding, I won’t know if it’s the turmeric, Eric’s food as medicine, medical marijuana, Tibetan herbs, my own internal meditation and visualizations, or what else in my two page treatment plan.  I’m okay with this, because I have a hunch that what I am doing is a whole plan, and it’s probably better not to try to pull it apart into separate strands.

Time will tell.  Meanwhile, I am encouraged to hear about N of 1 moving into mainstream medicine.  Yippee!