Marijuana Is Real Medicine for a Long List of Ills

Marijuana keeps Craig Rodgers alive.

With his muscular physique and energetic, fast-talking personality, the 36-year-old Las Vegas resident seems the epitome of health — except for the banana-size scar on the left side of his head.

Rodgers was on a good career track as a trade-show organizer until 2006, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Now he's a passionate advocate of medical marijuana, lives on government disability, and earns a few extra bucks making candles that look like brains.

He was one of several patients who attended a conference in Tucson last month regarding the use of marijuana in medicine.

Rodgers was fishing in Canada when the first seizure struck. He was rushed from the backcountry to a hospital, but doctors didn't find the cause until three months later, after another seizure. The diagnosis is seared in his memory.

"Your tumor is here," his doctor told him while pointing at an x-ray of his head. "You're going to die."

Rodgers was given 18 months to live. Surgeons were able to remove about 80 percent of the tumor in 2007 and told him it probably would come back. They also put him on a chemotherapy regimen, which was when he "got involved in cannabis." He'd tried it a few times in his late teens and early 20s, but this experience was different.

"I took two puffs, and it was incredible," he says. "It made me feel well."

Every day, he smokes a little and eats more. Pot eases his stress and helps him sleep. It helped with the nausea that comes from the chemo drugs he's taking: "I even gained a couple [of] pounds." It helps with the "mild" pain he feels in his head. And, he says, it keeps him from having seizures.

Even more than that, Rodgers believes strongly that the pot has extended his life by slowing growth of the cancer.

The proof, he says, is that he's still alive, five years after his surgery. Still, the cancer did return and Rodgers had another surgery in December. This time, he was told there could be no more operations and that he had three years to live.

Pot, he feels, may be his best chance to beat the odds. He grows seven plants under Nevada's medical-pot law. Besides cooking pot into "edibles," making pot tea, and smoking marijuana occasionally, he also takes pot oil in pill form and turns raw weed into juice, which is rich in cannabidiol (CBD), the second-most-abundant active compound in marijuana behind delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

No hard evidence proves whether pot helps Rodgers' cancer. The possibility exists, nonetheless.

THC and CBD have been found in scientific studies to shrink tumors and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

THC and other cannabinoids, including CBD, "can act as direct anti-cancer agents in multiple types of cancer" both in laboratory cultures and in the human body, according to a 2010 article in the medical journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. The article goes on to relate that a study showed THC and CBD were successful in treating glioblastoma, the same type of cancer that Rodgers has.

That study, conducted by researchers at California Pacific Medical Center Research and the University of California-San Francisco, was conducted in a lab and not on humans. It revealed that the combination of THC and CBD is more effective at fighting cancer than either compound alone, a finding that suggests the marijuana plant's ingredients and oils may work together to produce beneficial medical results.

"With the growing evidence showing cannabinoids are effective inhibitors of multiple types of cancer, it is likely that additional clinical trials will be carried out," wrote the authors of the California study. "Combination treatments with cannabinoids" may improve the results of such future trials.

The study didn't address questions that would be important for Rodgers' self-medicating experiment, such as how much marijuana he'd have to consume and how best to consume it to treat his cancer.

Without scientifically valid evidence, all he can do is have faith that marijuana is reducing his tumor, or at least preventing it from getting worse.

"I hope for that every single second of my life," he says grimly.

For millions of patients with cancer, chronic pain, and other maladies, the potential benefits of marijuana can't be discounted.


Many consider marijuana a wonder drug, and the list of ailments that scientists say it benefits is long.

Pot helps more with some things, like nerve pain, appetite stimulation, and nausea, and less with others, such as glaucoma. It's shown at least the potential to help with a wide range of maladies, from Parkinson's disease to arthritis.

More people use the drug these days. One survey based on self-reported information shows that 17.4 million Americans admitted using weed in 2010, up from 14.4 million in 2007. The modern medical-marijuana movement apparently is responsible for the increase.

Sixteen states and Washington, D.C., now have medical-pot laws on the books.

Because of this, people who wanted to try pot previously but were deterred because of the law can now possess it legally. In addition, older generations, who were lied to about the dangers of marijuana, are fading away, replaced by people who are more knowledgeable about the relative safety and therapeutic potential of the drug.

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124 comments
hummingbirds87504
hummingbirds87504

To None:  I am not a pothead. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I do like sex. I hate smoke. 

I ingest cannabis. I am a senior w/lupus, sjogrens, rh arthritis, fibromyalgia, stenosis and various illness caused by the lupus or influenced by the lupus. I am n constant pain. As I mentioned, I ingest cannabis for pain management and to help me sleep. I am prescribed Ambien for sleep and hydrocodone for pain. Both these drugs impair my ability to function at the level I am used to, and are addictive!   Cannabis is not addictive and I take a dose that helps but does not impair my ability to function. I am a Grandma. I want to participate with my Grandchild. Cannabis allows me to do so. I do have a NM Medical Cannabis license.

Why would anyone even question someones illness or pain? Why would you not wish the best for some who has found something that helps? Would you rather me be "stoned" on hydrocodone? Would you rather a person not function and be in pain. I hope all this is cleared up, before you become a senior and develop some illness or pain. I hope you will think back on this, as you shuffle to the dispensary or hopefully a store. I know a few seniors who never smoked pot and never believed it should be legalized. They now use pot daily for pain and chemo. They all have cancer.

None, I write this with pity for your closed mind, and that you feel so bad about yourself, you won't even sign your real name.

With blessings to all and I hope this new year brings you less pain.

Mitra


webemployer
webemployer

It allowed him to live, regardless of what some very staunch anti-medicinal mj persons might think, but my acquiring and subsequently <a href="http://www.protopage.com/order-cipro-online">www.protopage.com/order-cipro-online</a> growing his "medicinal agriculture", to which I referred it, allowed me to spend even just a wrinkle more in time with the person whom I love(d) most in this entire world besides me. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Eldonorr
Eldonorr

the article is too long and WAY to infused with unreasonable doubts. Why doubt the personal testimonies of people who have been cured by cannabis use? that herb is a good thing and America and the rest of the world will need much more of it as time goes on. Full legalization ASAP!

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Tracy Mcneeley
Tracy Mcneeley

big pharma? BIG PHARMA? no thanks ill pass on that natures way is best

Ashleigh Angel KLein
Ashleigh Angel KLein

Indeed!! I am also a Survivor and BELIEVE Wholy in the Medicinal Purpose of MEDICAL Marijuana really the only difference between a *Drug Dealer* and a *Doctor* is one studies so hard and takes an OATH to do me NO HARM FIRST!! The other takes no Oath because hes a LIAR anyway so no matter what he says or does hes out to do ONE thing Make his MONEY Off of ME!! MMJ Saved Me and I KNOW it is keeping me Stronger Everyday!! No One should suffer needlesssly, or endure terrible Pains...MMJ its the RIGHT Thing to do!! ~Angel~

baby smoker
baby smoker

It also cures that one disease that makes you remember putting your baby on the roof of your car.

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ginaswo
ginaswo

Big pharmacy is holding back useful treatments by lobbying against mmj studies

Solarhiker1
Solarhiker1

Marijuana Is Real Medicine for a Long List of Ills. And you can get high with it!

Rrrevans
Rrrevans

beer and wine are the only thing safe, thats why or goverment lets us drink all we want, weed is bad because they cant control it,

Andrewjansick
Andrewjansick

cures sadness and hopelessness and doesnt bring it back!

citizenUSA
citizenUSA

That's right so why doesn't the gov't legalize it? Because money is the root of all evil as you can see on all agendas now.

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citizenUSA
citizenUSA

Legalize the med and reap from your sow. Better for your health than poison pills from drug companies .

citizenUSA
citizenUSA

The therapy of the stuff is a natural earth's way of saying "I LOVE YOU" and the truth is before your eyes..try some today and let go

Jhoolster
Jhoolster

Although not a smoker myself, I very much value the effect of MJ in my late other half's life. To do it again would mean my walking barefoot over shards of glass and rusty razor blades dipped in rubbing alcohol, and I wouldn't bat an eye.

It allowed him to live, regardless of what some very staunch anti-medicinal mj persons might think, but my acquiring and subsequently growing his "medicinal agriculture", to which I referred it, allowed me to spend even just a wrinkle more in time with the person whom I love(d) most in this entire world besides me. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

It allowed him to overcome the nausea of a "gazillion" pills a day, AND allowed him to eat, and when Oramorph (the prescribed pain "maintenance" medication) didn't work - pot did. When someone is terminal, it's about quality of life and it's my hope that through my tears, agony and my heartache, I can have comfort in knowing I helped to ease his pain (through illegal means - whatever), that his physical agony was quieted, if even for a little bit, and that his knowing I did whatever it took helped to ease his heartache brought him some little smile.

Again, not a smoker, AT ALL, but I would do the same in an instant for anyone else having "issues" acquiring medical marijuana. (I WOULD in heartbeat, sure would) and let's face it, street market MJ is still FAR cheaper than "prescription" A Quarter pound from the golden triangle about 8 years ago - about a grand.

But you would spend that money too if you knew it was the only thing, during the terminal diagnosis, that even began to help alleviate the pain of your loved one. You really would.

In Peace and Serenity,

Jimmy

ChrisB
ChrisB

I have always appreciated the New Times for some great writing. I haven't always agreed with your views but I had to give you kudos for at least giving a full accounting of available facts . Thus said , this has got to be the biggest load of crappola I have ever read ! You take one story and present it as , well maybe it works , and proceed to declare it a wonder drug fit for all . My God stumble out of your pot induced fog and take a look around . Once those bleary eyes focus you ought to be very frightened ! Sorry, you have let your readers down !

Sigh.
Sigh.

And though citizens in AZ can get medical marijuana cards and have a significantly improved quality of life... those of us in Law Enforcement can't. Because we're not people, apparently. :(

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cornedholedbytheman
cornedholedbytheman

yes .. but if some from congress arent getting kickbacks from this than it was 110% poison. something that is grown natuarlly from a seed is poison. but synthetic pills and such, cooked up in labs is the best that they can come up with. it is absolutely absurd !!

Richard
Richard

There is a very interesting documentary series called "Hooked: Illegal Drugs and How They Got That Way" (the episodes are viewable on youtube). In the case of pot, it seems that the original incentive for criminalizing its use in the US was that it was popular amongst African Americans and Hispanics. The anti-Marijuana laws gave southern states in particular a useful means of persecuting minorities.

None
None

Had a close friend whose son tried it once and went psychotic and killed his own dad. Marijuana is bad, I've yet to see a single people made better by it. It changes personality for the worse for one obvious things. This article plain flat use one example and a bad one at that. The man will eventually die and yes, brain tumors suck.

Carlo
Carlo

Not according to the guy in the story.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"Medical" Marijuana is a sham for Recreational Stoners to hide behind.

roberth
roberth

the ONLY reason it is illegal is precisely that it does cure and prevent many, many diseases. very hard to control the masses and keep the population under control if you never got ill and could live forever off of a wide ranging, free growing plant.

SOOPERGOOMAN
SOOPERGOOMAN

if only it was as easy to get prescribed it here in Canada like it is in America....ooooh i have a headache, gimmie pot. come on now people.

SOOPERGOOMAN
SOOPERGOOMAN

im smoking a joint right now sure, chronic pain from a congenital club foot with botched surgery

guest
guest

There are other medicines and treatments ...its just pushed so heavily by individuals who want to smoke marijuana legally!!!...again more ms-information. But I would expect that from the new times....most of the time they are wrong. Most Countries its illegal. They have other alternative means to treat. And the THC can be extracted and utilized if need be without smoking.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

The bigotry was started by William Randolph Hearst and his corporate monopoly buddies. See Hearst owned a lot of timber interests and wanted newspapers to be made out of wood. Hearst owned a huge chain of newspapers and in order to make his timber investments pay off he had to get hemp declared illegal. There were also the oil, cotton and other misc. industrialists who joined with Hearst in the plan. Hearst started to publish stories about the heathen Mexicans and their MARIJUANA! Using the inherent bigotry in the majority of Americans as a tool, he successfully got the politicians to buy into the plan (or get BOUGHT into the plan) and they got hemp declared illegal by getting marijuana banned. This was an evil plan. It still is evil - as evil as slavery or jim crow laws and segregation or the genocide against the Native Americans in America. Hemp doesn't get anyone high - it was used to make paper and could have been used to make our oil, plastics, medicines and 100s of other very valuable purposes. This would have made our farmers rich and helped tremendously with all sorts of positive and valuable endeavors among the people here. It was an just another example of the people who run our monied corporations being irresponsible and immoral.

Chastity Townsend
Chastity Townsend

That is the most ignorant thing I think I have ever heard. Your friends kid did not go psychotic because of the pot obviously he had prior head issues that were not addressed. Only someone who throws stones from glass houses would be so ignorant.It is people like you who keep real diseases from having a cure. Get a clue and stop talking out of your ass.

Joe
Joe

You're an Idiot

TGraf
TGraf

No one has ever gone psychotic from smoking weed. Your freinds son obviously smoked something that was laced,probably with PCP. The only thing in danger from weed smokers is all your snacks and cookies. Especially Cheetos.

Eganancias
Eganancias

Rodney Dangerfield didn't do good, what about Tommy Chong, Dave Chappelle, Rhiana, Robert Parrish, Woody Harleson, Jennifer Aniston, etc.......? They didn't do good, what is your definition of doing good?

Feefee84
Feefee84

another ridiculous claim..... pot does not drive someone insane. what else was he or she taking?

Richard
Richard

I would guess that there is more to that story (assuming it wasn't just made up) than someone trying pot and then deciding to kill someone.

If you want an example of a drug that is known to induce violent and potentially lethal behavior absolutely nothing comes even close to alcohol. There was a study in 1998 that 36% of violent crimes are committed under its influence. Perhaps we should reinstate prohibition.

Sivart
Sivart

You're poor spelling and grammar alone, are enough to show you have little education on this topic. Let alone the ability to show insight or fact.

carlo
carlo

Your close friend killed his father because of his own personal issues. Marijuana had nothing to do with it. Maybe the man in the story may die, but at least he has a chance to fight the cancer as well as alleviating the pain that he is suffering from. To each his own as to how they choose to combat this terrible illness. Keep the govt. out of it.

None
None

Nope, you lie. Doesn't cure anything or prevent nothing. You're a pot head aren't you?

None
None

39% long term users go psychotic. That can't be good.

PhilDeBowl
PhilDeBowl

Right,so if Marinol/Dronabinol is as effective as MJ why isn't there a black market for them? In my case I have a prescription for hydrocodone,I also have a rec. for MJ. If my condition starts to flare up I prefer the MJ,it relaxes me enough so that I don/t need the prescription drug,and I believe it is healthier for me. And so what if people want to use MJ for recreation, it is much safer than alcohol or tobacco, I say legalize it.

SOOPERGOOMAN
SOOPERGOOMAN

sorry but YOU are the only one that is misinformed.

 
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