James: Cannabis and Cancer

Ailment: Chondroid Syringoma
Ingestion Method: Smoking

Bio: 30 year old father of three medical cannabis user.

When I was 17, I found a lump in my right foot. It was biopsied and I was told it was non malignant (non cancerous).

Over the next couple of years I had recurring pain in my leg and foot which Doctors said was Achilles strain and offered physio. It was at this appointment that the physio said they didn’t think it the diagnosis was correct, so I went to a Podiatrist at Stanmore hospital in London for a second opinion.

It was here when I was 19 that I was told that I had 6/7 malignant tumours in my right foot, 3 in my right tibia, 1 in my left knee and metastatic spread in my lungs. The Doctor then asked for a slide of my first tumour that was removed and found it to be the same type and malignancy, meaning the first Doctor two years prior had been very wrong.

The cancer I have is chondroid syringoma of the skin and bone with metastatic spread to my lungs. It is a type of sarcoma. I was told I had 6 weeks left to live unless I gave treatment a go but even then I had a slim chance. Well, that was Christmas Eve 2014 and I’m still here and this is the story of why I believe I have now survived this long.

After having 5 months worth of chemotherapy and radiotherapy which I was told had slowed my cancer but not killed it, they had to stop as the treatment itself would have ended up making me worse as I had all the bad side affects.

At this point, I had been a regular smoker of cannabis recreationally for 8 years but due to having lung cancer, thought it prudent to give up. From this point, I tried numerous strong controlled drugs for pain relief prescribed by my Doctor. When I say numerous, mean over 20 different prescription drugs. Nothing helped.

At this stage, I thought about smoking cannabis again. I was in less pain and I was less depressed when I was using it before. I found another drug called Oxycontin through my Doctor and the two worked perfectly together for me. Because of possible detrimental effects to our lungs from smoking, my Doctor asked me to try Sativex oramucasol spray instead.

The only way that Sativex worked (due to my level of pain) was when I had around 18 sprays per day. This was no good as it is far too much and it was giving me side effects similar to being drunk from alcohol. My Doctor saw this and suggested to smoke, it if that is what I find helps best.

I am now on methadone (purely pain relief) as it is less addictive than Oxycontin and generally has less side effects. The other good thing about smoking cannabis to coincide with my methadone is that not only is it helping my pain and mind state, it also helps with the unwanted side effects that I do get from the methadone. It has always helped to prevent me feeling sick, which in turn helps me to eat properly.

I also believe that cannabis has helped prolong my life and along with the chemo helped slow my illness down. To give you some kind of scope, I smoke about an 3.5 grams of strong cannabis every 2 to 3 days using bong (I don’t enjoy joints and find it to be better on my body).

I was told three times after my chemo that I was infertile and not long after my wife fell pregnant so we have been blessed with 3 miracle boys.

I hope this has given you a little insight into how cannabis has helped me.