Since I posted the letter that has spread further than I ever expected, I have received a few private responses on Facebook. They have all been touching and meaningful, and I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me. However it was today I received the most significant one.
I was reached out to by Amy Mathias, digital community engagement coordinator at the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. It brought a tear to my eye reading:
"Your story is more common than most people think and we are here for you to lean on. You can find information on our website: www.braintumour.ca.
Thanks so much for helping to raise awareness about brain tumours. The more awareness we can raise about brain tumours, the more effectively we can fight this disease."
While it is significant in all areas at least in helping manage treatment, in the brain there is more potential than anywhere for it to have direct effect on cancer.
Further in that conversation, I got a piece of news that wasn't just touching, but very exciting. I spoke to Amy about how I believed there was hope in relationships with cannabis and brain cancer, and found out I was far from the first to voice that! It's been heard to the point where:
"We are also watching the news on medical cannabis and heard loud and clear from the brain tumour community that this is something of interest, that people want to hear more about this. We are holding a conference in October, and the keynote speaker will be talking about this."
To be clear...
The keynote speech at the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada conference coming in October is speaking about medical cannabis.
Finally the community is really opening to the potential significance of cannabis and brain cancer. While it is significant in all areas at least in helping manage treatment, in the brain there is more potential than anywhere for it to have direct effect on cancer.
THC changes the growth rate and patterns of your neurological cells. The plant as a whole has a much broader spectrum of active chemicals, and there is more and more evidence of a synergistic effect. With the level of effect clearly measurable within the brain, and the amount of people with brain cancer talking about successful treatments, or at least asking, this has to be pursued further.
Something that I can't help but be frustrated with is the amount of potential research and development lost to prohibition. Ever since a false mythology that began in USA with an increase in Mexican immigrants spread into the world, it has been demonized.
This movement, lacking in education but thriving in propaganda, has cost us a century of research. It has cost lives!
Prior to that hemp was a large industry, and marijuana was present all over pharmacies. Since then, there has been a lack of research on it. If it hadn't been for the money and fear-mongering powered drive in those days, pushing it away, it could have continued to develop in the role it had way back then.
This movement, lacking in education but thriving in propaganda, has cost us a century of research. It has cost lives! This is a fact, the drug trafficking that would never have existed without prohibition cost lives in many ways. But. BUT... what if this whole time we really have been blinding ourselves against another tool in the fight against cancer?
That is another level of drive for me to push this movement. It is a reminder, no, proof that I am not just helping myself, but a larger group facing the same kind of challenges.
We need your support. Cancer as a whole is one of the greatest curses on us as a species, on the whole modern world. I would never seek to elevate brain cancer patients above those suffering from any kind of serious illness, but we do know it is one of the least-understood forms of cancer to this day.
And, as I just said, one with perhaps the most direct relationship with cannabis.
Help us open further this new avenue of research. Keep building this hope. Keep on pushing for legalization!
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Maggie has been suffering from seizures since she was six weeks old, and has hundreds of seizures on any given day. Her family relocated from Tennessee to Colorado late last year to use a combination of intensive therapy and cannabis oil to treat her symptoms.
Hunter suffers from intractable epilepsy and developmental delay. He's been on numerous medications that have failed to alleviate his seizures and he continues to decline "cognitively, physically and emotionally," according to his mother. He recently started cannabis treatments in the hopes that cannabidiol can provide relief.
Piper was born with a rare genetic disorder that causes her to suffer from seizures and has rendered her non-verbal, unable to crawl or walk and visually impaired. She has been on nine medications to try to treat her symptoms, and started taking cannabis oil last October. Since she began taking a low dose of cannabis, her family has begun to see small improvements.
Calvin has an extreme form of autism that has rendered him nonverbal. After 22 days of taking cannabis, he has begun using words to communicate. According to his mother, he used to have up to 20 head-beating episodes per day, and has only had one episode total in the three weeks he's been using cannabis. "I cried everyday for the first week of him using cannabis," his mother wrote on Montanez's blog. "We no longer had to pull over and restrain him on our way to therapy."
Sydni suffers from Doose syndrome, which causes her to have up to thousands of seizures each day. She functions at the academic level of a three-year-old and takes nine different medications. Her family recently started her on cannabis oil in the hopes that it will reduce her seizures.
Emily suffers from a debilitating form of epilepsy that has yet to be diagnosed. Her family recently moved from Indiana to Colorado in the hopes that a cannabis prescription will help ease her seizures.
Jordan was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome when she was six months old and has suffered from seizures for her entire life. On her worst days, she's unable to eat, drink or function. Her family recently relocated from Cleveland to Colorado to try cannabis treatments.
Tyler has a rare, drug-resistant form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. He has spent months living in the hospital and has been placed in two medically induced comas. He began taking a low dose of cannabis in October and his family has begun to see "small victories."
Kennedee was born with Walker-Warburg Syndrome, a severe and rare form of muscular dystrophy that claimed her older sister's life when she was just two months old. When Kennedee was born, she was only given a few months to live. Since starting her cannabis treatment, "we have seen a personality we didn't know she had," her mother wrote on Montanez's blog.
Charlie suffers from Dravet Syndrome and has seizures in the middle of the night, every night. His family hopes his use of cannabis oil will make him able to communicate and reduce his dependence on other drugs.
Cora was born with a rare multiple-malformation syndrome that causes her to have body and head overgrowth and various abnormalities of her brain, limbs and vascular system. She also suffers from dozens of seizures a day, has undergone multiple surgeries and uses a head switch to communicate. Her parents are beginning to explore cannabis treatments as a means for relief.
KC has suffered from multiple daily seizures since he was three years old and has yet to respond to any treatments. After two weeks using cannabis, he began exhibiting progress. "A boy who would previously wobble and stumble as he walked was now running up hiking trails and jumping into his dad's arms," his mother wrote on Montanez's blog. "He has even been cracking jokes!"
Charlotte used to suffer from more than 40 seizures per day, and now, according to her mother, "her wheelchair and seizure helmet are in storage collecting dust." Charlotte was the first child in Colorado to be treated with cannabis oil, and her story inspired the name "Charlotte's Web," which is the high-cannabidiol, low-THC strain used to treat other children with similar conditions.
Since he was just a few months old, Zaki suffered from up to thousands of seizures per day. He has been seizure-free since he started taking cannabis oil more than a year ago.