Educated Stoner: Cannabis and cancer part 1

A series from US writer Sharon Letts, who has written for the likes of High Times and Dope Magazine

The Educated Stoner chronicles US writer Sharon Letts’s journey into the world of weed and her battle with cancer. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or check out the Educated Stoner Facebook here

The spider web-like mass found in my right breast in the summer of 2012 had me thinking about my mom, the farm she was raised on, DDT, Rachel Carson, and cannabis – in that order.

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I saw the configuration while proactively peeking over the shoulder of both the mammogram and ultra-sound technician.

While waiting for the biopsy I decided to do some research and easily found an image of a nearly identical mass on the Mayo Clinic’s website, identified as lobular carcinoma.

This type of cancer begins in the milk-producing glands of the breasts or lobules, affecting 10-15% of all women in the US. It’s a mass, not a lump, as with ductal carcinoma, affecting up to 85% of women in this country annually.

Pass the Mayo

This information can be found in the Mayo Clinic’s tedious, page-by-page listing of incredibly limited information, with the only cause listed as hormone replacement.

This stumps me as my sister, who is 18 months older, had this same type of cancer just two years prior, undergoing surgery, chemo and radiation – with no hormone replacement ever used prior.

Surgeries are invasive, chemotherapy does more harm than good, and radiation is now known to cause secondary cancers, such as lymphomas, and the FDA is actually considering taking it off the market for this reason.

In my mind, being proactive about one’s health is equal to being able to see past the smoke screens of modern day medicine. Being a cannabis patient I’m sceptical of traditional treatments that seem to do more harm than good.

Once Upon a Time

My mom grew up on a farm in Illinois just outside the state capitol of Springfield. Yes, Springfield. Kind of like The Simpsons, the difference being my mom told childhood stories of dancing with my aunt and uncle beneath the rain of DDT falling down from crop dusting airplanes on the waving fields of grain. None of them grew a third eye. All died of Cancers.

Before my aunt passed she phoned me up, urging me to look into the pesticides used on the farm. At the time I was dealing with my own daughter’s auto-immune disorders – she’d been diagnosed with fibromyalgia at 13. I was also just diagnosed with thyroid disease – another disorder under the auto-immune spectrum – but I never connected the dots to the family’s ailments.

I am second generation DDT, my daughter is third. This means something, as we have a lineage of chemicals in our genetic bloodlines, with many other toxins and heavy metals literally showered on us for decades.

Recent studies indicate that DDT alone stays in the genetic bloodlines of lab rats up to five generations that they know of, with cancers in the stem cells, and chemo and radiation only scratching the surface.

American biologist Rachel Carson spoke out on the dangers of DDT when the compound was first found to have insecticidal properties in 1939, and then marketed to the masses. While the chemical successfully eliminated the mosquitos causing the malaria, gracing it with the tag saviour of mankind, Carson outed its dark side.

Published in 1962, “Silent Spring” was Carson’s warning, hitting the newsstands long after the non-water-soluble poison saturated our soil, water and ultimately our food supply for decades.

In the book that should be considered mandatory reading today, Carson warns of cancers and worse, describing how DDT attacks the central nervous system of its victims, paralysing and rendering them defenceless until their immune system fails and each organ stops functioning as they suffocate and die.

Those familiar with neurological, auto-immune, or central nervous system disorders leading to physical debilitation, such as Parkinson’s, ALS, or Alzheimer’s just got a chill. For that matter, most of our modern-day ailments stem from some kind of toxic poisoning from the chemicals or heavy metals surrounding us daily.

Cancers are a given, but heart disease and the myth of high cholesterol have recently been discussed publicly by many cardiologists who insist that every heart they’ve ever opened up was inflamed and infected, leading them to the conclusion it’s not for lack of blood flow, it’s diseased, plain and simple.

Carson’s book caused the removal of DDT from US markets, spawning the environmental movement, and forcing the US to implement the Clean Air & Water Acts of 1973 and 1974, respectively. But the damage was done and today we are suffering the dire consequences with our ill-fated health.

The good news is, as listed in US Patent No. 6,630,507 B1, “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties … useful in the treatment of a wide variety of oxidation-associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases … (with) particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limited neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”

The information on the patent is crucial, as it provides us with the knowledge we need to move forward with our own self-care with cannabis. My doctor was unaware of its advantages before I presented my findings to her. How could she? We learned together as I did away with cancer, pain, and eight prescription meds.

We can’t stop the toxins around us, but we can educate ourselves and others to this good medicine – one person, one plant at a time.

Check out the next instalment of the series – Cannabis and cancer: the blame game – here.

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