Healing with an Outlawed Plant

Nine months ago, I had a vivid dream with my mother, who passed on to other realms seven years ago. She appeared before me, radiant and bright. The surprising thing was that she was smoking a reefer, puffing the smoke with a big smile on her face. Then she turned it backwards, so the lit part was inside her mouth and smoke infused her body. And she beamed even brighter.

Now, if you had ever known my mother – Cynthia – when she was alive, you would have been very surprised by this dream vision because my mother was adamantly opposed to all types of so-called “recreational drugs.” She adamantly drummed into our heads as children of the late-60s to avoid recreational drug use at all costs. Very bad for our health, she told my sister and me over and over.

I am not sure if it was her many lectures on the topic or my own inclination, but marijuana really doesn’t do anything for me. I have never felt drawn to it, and am one of those oddball adults who didn’t even try it until I hit 50, and that was just to see what it was like. Truly, it is not my thing and even the smell gives me a headache.

So why was my mother smoking a joint in my dream? Was it a message of some type?
A month or two after this unexpected dream, a beautiful young woman named Jackie who was 31 received the horrible news that her breast cancer had returned full strength. In fact, it had metastasized throughout her body, including both lobes of her lungs.

Jackie decided to try to wring as much enjoyment as she could in her remaining time on Earth. She married the love of her life – Mike – and celebrated multiple times the holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and more. She reconciled with those she needed to, and pushed away a few who did not support her as she needed. She walked with a smile, and truly inspired many of us.

When her condition declined rapidly in late October, the doctors gave her a few days or maybe weeks to live, and sent her home in Hospice care. Her husband Mike began to give her daily dosages of highly concentrated Cannabidiol (CBD), derived from marijuana and hemp. He bought it for about $500 on Amazon.com, made in Canada. It comes in a type of syringe, and looks like a thick black paste. Every morning Mike dutifully gave Jackie about an inch of this paste in her mouth.  Please note that this active ingredient in marijuana defined as psychoactive but not intoxicating, as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be.

Within a short time, Jackie was feeling much better and even had her appetite back. On her Facebook post, she asked why her doctors had been giving her expensive pain killers that made her feel terrible and had dangerous side effects without offering her the option of CBD – that made her feel better and was less expensive. Why, she wanted to know, were strong drugs with very bad side effects “legal” but a plant that can be easily grown “outlawed?”

Good questions. Mainstream scientists may finally be coming around to recognizing the medicinal qualities of marijuana and hemp. In 2007, Harvard researchers found that the active ingredient in marijuana reduced lung cancer tumor growth by 50% and slowed down the spread of cancer cells within the body A United Kingdom follow up study found even more promising results when a standardized dose of THC was injected into mice implanted with human lung cancer cells. Once again, tumors were reduced in size and weight by around half compared to animals in a control group.

Since that 2007 study, more research findings show that the active ingredients in marijuana not only limits tumor growth, but seem to do so without affecting the normal cells surrounding the cancer.

Jackie was able to celebrate Thanksgiving and almost made it Christmas when she passed on peacefully at sunrise the day before the winter solstice. It might not seem like much, but medical marijuana gave her two more months of life in which she could relish and enjoy time with her friends and family.

A short review of the healing properties of marijuana and hemp shows just how many illnesses this beautiful healing plant family can help heal and/or alleviate pain and suffering. From arthritis to multiple sclerosis to cancer and high blood pressure and more. Many people with ADD/ADHD also find that the active ingredient in marijuana helps them feel better and focus better.

No wonder my mother was smiling to me in the dream. As someone who cared deeply about healing, maybe she was delivering to me a message that using marijuana and hemp to help heal is very beautiful and positive.

In our journeys of life, it is wonderful to allow ourselves and society to change based upon new knowledge and understanding. We stand in this state and country on the threshold of acknowledging the many positive healing qualities of marijuana and hemp, and changing legislation to make them available to people in need for medicinal purposes. Both Jackie and my Mom will be smiling down (or up) upon us if and when marijuana does become finally legalized and hemp allowed to be cultivated freely.

Published in the Monadnock Shopper, January 2014

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