Michael Stoopman from Brisbane, Australia, is a cancer survivor who is also a big advocate for medical cannabis.
According to Stoopman, using cannabis for the treatment of cancer goes way beyond just palliative care. In 2016, Stoopman had a large ulcerating tumor eating into his carotid artery in his neck.
As ulcerating tumors seldom heal, doctors said there was nothing to be done other than managing symptoms. With that news, the patient decided he had nothing to lose, so he started taking concentrated cannabis oil.
In Stoopman’s own words, “Even though I’d been told by over 28 oncologists altogether and four other doctors that there’s no coming back from a tumor that size, it stopped growing. Then one month later the whole wound closed up.” Six months later, and Stoopman was declared to be “cancer free.”
At the same time, Dr Judith Lacey, who works at the Lifehouse Cancer Hospital in Sydney, said that while there is still insufficient evidence to prove that cannabis shrinks cancerous tumors, there are some studies which suggest it does.
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Dr. Lacey explained, “So it’s really interesting looking at the potential benefit for cannabis in controlling cancer cell growth. It’s a really interesting field. People are conducting studies to see if perhaps in the future it may be potentially used for treating some cancer.”
Dr Lacey was just one of 50 Australian doctors who are to meet in Melbourne for a first-of-its-kind training course on how doctors should prescribe cannabis.
As Lacey pointed out, “If I’m prescribing something I really need to understand it and the more I learn about it, the less I know.”
She added that, “(Cannabis is) quite a complex drug or herb and it’s got a lot of nuances in to how to prescribe it. People assume that cannabis is one product and it’s actually a really complex collection of plants and species of plants.”
With that, Dr Lacey added that she believes that cannabis use for treating cancer will become more prevalent as research is carried out, “I think this is a really exciting time in medical history,” she said.
Lucy Haslam, whose husband Dan died from bowel cancer, is the one who organized the doctors training program in Australia, telling reporters, according to a report in ABC News, “Australian doctors don’t have that expertise or experience. They’re really quite uncomfortable about prescribing cannabis so we want to make them feel comfortable.”
All of the people involved in the Australian initiative are hopeful that the conference to train doctors on the nuances of prescribing medical cannabis will be a success and that it will also pave the way for more research on a herb that needs a lot more looking into.
[Image credit: Wikimedia]