Reluctance to use marijuana during cancer treatment


I grew up on an Army base in the 1960’s and 70’s. “Flower Power” blossomed like a dandelion and spread across America.

My mother let my brother and I grow our hair long while my father, an army officer, served in the Vietnam War. The first thing my father did when he got home was grabbed me by the ear and dragged me to the base barbershop in my bell-bottoms.

“My kid’s not going to be a hippie!” he muttered over and over during the short drive to PX. Every night we see Walter Cronkite on the evening news in black and white, with anti-war demonstrators marching with anti-war placards with slogans such as “Love, not war!” rice field. His father, who ended up on two tours with Nam in Butchcutt, turned red in his face and yelled “dissident beatniks” on set and called them “unpatriotic”. remember. I can still hear him screaming, “Fuck you hippies!”

At the time, pots were only for hippies. I grew up thinking that good people don’t use marijuana. it was taboo. Only criminals, rebels and dissidents smoke cannabis. I never smoked a joint because of my father’s verbal abuse when I was young. In high school, some of my friends did (one eventually became a lawyer, another a prominent politician). According to the adults around me, only “bad boys” do cannabis. My younger brother smoked Mary Jane. He even had a bong. He was always a rebel. As a teenager, he dropped out of high school wearing a black leather motorcycle jacket. He and my father, who was a lieutenant colonel, often fought. The “bad boy” persona didn’t sit well with his older brother. In the spring of 1988, just before his 23rd birthday, he committed suicide.

With my upbringing so ingrained, it’s no wonder I’ve avoided marijuana my entire life, despite mounting evidence of its many benefits, including in people undergoing cancer treatment.

Like many Americans, I was diagnosed with cancer in my old age. At age 59, I was diagnosed with stage 2 non-specific non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I ended up having half a year of chemo and immunotherapy. It was hard. My body deteriorated almost overnight. By the fifth cycle, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it. On one particularly dark day, I videotaped a farewell message to my family.

But in our first TEACH session, when the doctors and nurses told us about the process and what to expect with the treatment, they told me one of the effects of cancer and treatment. I asked if I wanted to use marijuana to reduce my buttocks. I told her what I told you, I was reluctant. I wasn’t a “bad boy,” I said.

At the time, in the fall of 2022, marijuana was not yet legal in my state, but my doctor told me I could get a medical marijuana license. Needless to say, she persuaded me to try. Several of my friends and colleagues, and even my oldest daughter who happens to work at a marijuana dispensary in Alaska, recommended me to use gummies. A friend of mine who has used marijuana for over half a century offered to be my guide.

Like many other cancer patients, my fickle personality agonized over whether to use marijuana. The cultural stigma associated with marijuana users made me uneasy. I imagined myself hiding in a dark corner and smoking fat, hoping no one would see me. I told the TEACH nurse about it. She recommended that one of her best ways to absorb her beneficial THC is by eating gummies made with marijuana. This appealed to me. It gave me a way to avoid the stigma of marijuana use. Plus, it doesn’t smell like Mary Jane, unlike smoked Mary Jane. It’s also safer, she added.

In the end, I decided to apply for my license. What did I have to lose after all?

The application process was easy enough. An oncologist went to an online website and entered a marijuana prescription into a state database. During my first outpatient infusion, with a bag of Rituximab and a bag of saline dripping into my veins, I sat at my laptop and formally applied for my license online. The whole process took a few minutes. The state matched my name to my doctor’s prescription and immediately issued me a medical marijuana license. Ironically, not long after I got my license, our state legalized marijuana, and now anyone can buy marijuana (licensed medical marijuana users get a discount). can be accepted).

I personally cannot speak to using marijuana for pain relief associated with cancer. It wasn’t painful to speak of (although I did experience what I would describe as an electrical tingle/shock in my left hand).

What I can tell you is how the THC in the gummies improved the quality of my sleep. This is important for body repair. For various reasons, I didn’t sleep well. First, I was feeling insecure about my cancer and cancer treatment. I was afraid that I would die without my husband and father, leaving my family behind. I ruminated on what was left unsaid and what was left unsaid. My wife and I discussed these issues so often in bed that they ruined each other’s sleep. In my experience, I can say that the marijuana gummies helped me sleep through the night. I used to toss and turn and stay up in the middle of the night lying down, but now I can sleep soundly. Sleep is better and deeper. I also woke up less often to go to the bathroom. My wife also said that she sleeps better because I wake her up less. Cancer treatments are exhausting. it makes you tired. Getting better sleep is beneficial. Sleep repairs our bodies. I’ve heard that even injured deer know to lie down and rest and sleep so that their wounds heal over time.

I’ve learned from experience that a quarter or a third of a gummy is enough. Best taken 1 hour before bedtime. I took half a gummy for the first time and had side effects. I can’t say I stumbled, but I didn’t need much. The good news is that one small package often contains only 10 gummies. But if you cut them into quarters or thirds, you’ll get a full month’s worth of gummies. Even better, a package of 10 gummies (10mg each with 10mg THC for a total of 100mg) costs only about $15. There are all sorts of flavors (I loved the watermelon flavor). Packages with high concentrations of THC will be more expensive.

A knowledgeable Buddytender can tell you which products will help you sleep the most and which products will help manage pain and other common symptoms.

As a poet, I culminated in writing poems about my feelings, concerns, and experiences during six months of grueling cancer treatment. Fleeing the Grim Reaper: Poems from Impatient Cancer SurvivorsA useful book for people with cancer, those who care for people with cancer, and those who love people with cancer. It’s time to go I’m out of gummies. I have to buy another package from the pharmacy down the street.

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