Cannabis v Prostate Cancer – A little experiment

Patrick - 4 December 2018

At age 59, I visited my GP for the first time in over 20 years, suspecting some kind of UTI. After blood tests and a further visit, I was sent to hospital on an urgent referral, with suspected prostate cancer.

I realised that the only medicine I was already taking, in moderation, had been shown to cure cancer in laboratory mice. I had heard rumours that cannabis had anti-cancer properties back in the seventies, and had recently viewed "Run from the Cure" on YouTube. I went on to read available papers and abstracts on the web.

My recreational consumption had been intermittent of late, and my general health had deteriorated noticeably during periods when I was not taking it. I suspected it was modulating the onset of the disease.

I was determined to give it a go, as a first treatment, on its own rather than in combination with conventional treatments. It was the logical thing to do, as I wanted a full recovery, which the doctors could not offer. I thought if I don’t try this NOW, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.

I rejected the idea of trying to make the oil; the recipes always started with “take16 ozs of bud”, where was I to get that quantity, plus there was the risk of causing an explosion. I considered that smoking it must get it into the bloodstream, otherwise one wouldn’t get stoned or fail a drugs test.

Since I considered it would do little harm even if there was no cancer present, I started medicating before the first hospital appointment, as a pre-emptive strike. I was used to the side effects so I didn't need to ramp up the dose, I could start at the rate I intended to continue. This was about twice what I might have taken recreationally, and consumed on a TDS basis. I had to keep reminding myself, when I thought I had taken enough, that I was aiming for a therapeutic dose.

I found it an easily tolerated dosage, the main side effects being a wicked sense of humour (preferable to depression I think) and "not getting much done". Luckily I was self-employed and it was a quiet time of the year, urgent jobs were still completed promptly. I was able to be far more productive than I would have been with a daily appointment for radiotherapy.

I discussed my intentions with the consultant, who had initially said it was not a real medicine. I disagreed, and summarised what was then known of its anti-cancer properties. I suggested it might be a standard treatment in 10 years time, and said 10 years is no good for me, I need a treatment now. He gave me no advice either way.

Wishing to avoid the risks associated with having a biopsy if possible, I was initially offered an MRI scan. This was performed two weeks later, and I was called in for the result which was suspicious. I then agreed to go ahead with a biopsy appointment. Although I didn't realise it this delay had given me the time needed for my recovery.

The tumour died about two weeks before the biopsy, after four weeks of medication. It took me a couple of days to become aware of this when I realised all the symptoms had gone. I felt so different, so well in myself, that I considered ringing the hospital and cancelling the biopsy appointment, as I knew what the result would be. In the event I went ahead with it as I felt it would give closure and might help other patients. I was to be disappointed in this last respect.

I explained on arrival at the clinic that my symptoms had gone away, hoping they might cancel the biopsy. However it just made them very keen to perform one. I asked the doctor doing the biopsy what he could see on the ultrasound screen, he said “the tumour has shrunk, its about half the size it was on the MRI”.

The results of the biopsy confirmed no living cancer cells had been found, and I was discharged without any treatment being recommended. The consultant (a different one) denied the cause of my recovery, and therefore had no reason to discuss the dosage or any other details of my experience. Given this attitude the details would only have caused the consultants further distress.

The discharge letter to my GP was a cover-up and is best described as a “misleading pack of true statements”. It was obviously written or edited by someone with legal training, and my copy took over two weeks to arrive. Having implied there was not a cancer, it then suggests they thought it was a stage 3b tumour as viewed on the MRI scan. This seems very specific for a cancer they imply didn’t exist.

I also disagree with their staging. I only realised the bone pain in my legs had probably been secondaries after it went away a few weeks after being discharged from the hospital. This pain was distinctive (compared to pain from work or exercise) and had been present for at least 4 months. It has not returned. Bone secondaries would make it a stage 4, considered untreatable / incurable. I was asked if I had bone pain at an early consultation, and had denied the significance as I understood it was associated with a late stage of cancer; I had assumed I was at an early stage.

I was lucky that the presence of both the main tumour and the secondaries was effectively confirmed by their departure; this saved me from much stress and fortunately I don’t suffer from PTSD. I maintained a positive and optimistic attitude throughout, I was convinced I would pull through.

At first I regretted having the biopsy, as I felt it put back my recovery. However on reflection I believe it helped, flushing out bad and dead material in my ejaculate. I now think the biopsy was fortuitously timed and may even be considered as part of the treatment.

I am now over 5 ½ years into remission, with no side effects. I have the rest of my life back. I still haven’t had “the talk” with my GP - would he believe me, or his hospital colleagues? I did thank him for saving my life, which probably confused him at the time.

Now I cannot be certain that it worked, but the hospital cannot be certain that it didn’t, and it is difficult to prove a negative. It is also difficult to believe that a medicine which has been shown to kill cancer cells could be totally discounted with a one word denial. I was offered no other explanation for my recovery, and according to my GP “they say it happens sometimes”.

I would suggest cannabis usage could account for some of these “sometimes” events; a patient who did not know of the anti-cancer properties could easily consume that dosage to deal with the stress of a pending cancer referral, and self-medicate by accident.

What I can be certain of is that the cancer industry does not want a cheap and cheerful cure for cancer, especially one which grows on trees and cannot be patented in its natural form. Americans using cannabis for pain relief find consuming the “natural form” more effective than pharmaceutical extracts, this may prove to be the case with cancer as well. The entourage effect is well known, and until we discover how it works in detail we are better to consume the whole plant.

I’m glad I used the opportunity to try it first, rather than “after established treatment options had been exhausted”, given the damaging life-long side effects of those treatments. None of the established treatments could have been considered for use as a pre-emptive strike, before a definite diagnosis had been made.

In sporting terms, I cheated; I jumped starters orders and used a banned substance. As a patient I did not consider fighting cancer to be a sport. In a reasonable society the cure for cancer should not be a banned substance.

Dosage Used

Primary Tumour - Month 1

½ oz imported? herb, dark green and compressed in block form. I had asked for a balanced strain, so my intended use may have been assumed to be medicinal.

½ oz Moroccan hash

taken in that order, with an overlap

~ 98 % smoked in joints mixed with tobacco, ~ 2 % edible (hash mixed into scrambled eggs on one occasion)

Secondaries in leg bones - Month 2

~ 1 oz Moroccan Hash, mainly smoked as above, some edible (melted in chocolate) for logistical reasons due to travelling

Clean up / finish the course - Month 3

~ 1 oz Moroccan Hash, mainly smoked, some edible.