Cancer and cannabis: How I learned to stop worrying and love medical marijuana

Originally published at:

For cancer patients, the “medical” part of marijuana is no joke. Cannabis is a magic plant. And it helped save my life.


i remember exactly where i was when i read your account of the pseudo spur of the moment mammogram that revealed you had cancer. while reading it i had to pick my jaw off the floor. i only know you through your journalism, and even though you have to deal with pain/nausea/surgeries, the world is a better place due to these series of articles.

it is often cold comfort, but there are many anonymous internet readers that really look up to you.


Thank you for this outstanding article, Xeni. It means a great deal to myself, and to others.

I hear echos of Robert Anton Wilson’s discussions on the medicine as well, though I tend to especially appreciate the perspective that regardless of efficacy as a direct mechanism fighting disease or illness, that feeling high or euphoric on the drug (which has minimal side-effects when consumed properly) is a boon against most any illness.


I have to say I am interested in how it would help manage my chronic pain. I think I’d rather do edibles. Maybe if there was a vaping method?

But alas as I am in Missouri and could even move to Kansas, even though that shit is everywhere and even grows wild, I don’t see it being legalized anytime soon.


Great story, and very glad to hear that it helped you so much, and that you are doing well. It’s not just cancer that Marijuana can help. My recovery from PTSD was greatly facilitated by small quantities of marijuana during the most intense period of “exposure therapy.” It is truly a medicine, and it is shame that so few have legal access.

Thanks again for a thoughtful and deeply personal story. Peace and Love.


I have a severe movement disorder and cannabis is the only medicine that works to manage it. I’m fairly certain that without it for the past 6 years I would have been placed in some sort of assisted living facility or simply dead. I’ll take this cannabis way of life and recommend it to others suffering from movement disorders in a heartbeat.

The higher the CBD, the better, in my experience.


Amen, Xeni.


Stepmother was just diagnosed last week with non-small-cell lung cancer stage III B (translation: it’s bad.) Chemo starts in 5 days, with radiation and another round of chemo to follow.

Unfortunately she’s in Indiana, as is my sister with chronic intractable migraines. I’m not sure how to help either of them. :-/


So glad to read this, Xeni. Sensible people need to accept the reality of cannabis’ good side.


Sharing this with friends and family. There’s a debate in Illinois; some of the first people to get legal cannabis oil in Illinois have been kids with severe epilepsy. And of course, this being the Midwest, facts don’t matter, it’s made of POT, which means we’re just gettin’ little kids high.

And man…my epilepsy was mild compared to a lot of people, but if I’d had the option of the oil over the drugs I’d been on, I’d have taken the oil! They put me on Tegretol, which was hell. Of all the damned things, I have really close to perfect pitch, and it messed with my sense of pitch. Plus, I might as well have been high all the time. That would have been a lot more pleasant.


Fantastic and inspirational write up, thank you.


Marijuana is illegal here, though not with so harsh penalties as in the US.
When my dad was dying with cancer, he got some by mechanism that should stay unsaid in searchable public.
Sometimes persons close to someone mean more than law.


Besides their palliative effects, dozens of (mostly preclinical) studies over the past decade or so have shown that cannabinoids induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in many kinds of cancer cells while sparing healthy ones, offering a targeted therapy of their own.

This selectivity may have to do with the higher expression of cannabinoid receptors found among cancer cells than among healthy ones, making cancer cells better sponges for cannabinoids. When cannabinoid receptors are activated, the cell produces ceramide, which beyond a certain threshold triggers apoptosis, killing it.

Here’s a review article on this, if anyone’s interested, with many more, and research articles, available through Google Scholar. Dennis Hill has some informed ideas on using cannabis to treat cancer. And speaking of Cheech & Chong, Tommy Chong claims to have successfully treated his prostate cancer with cannabis oil.


First of all, Xeni, I am so pleased to hear that it worked for you, and that you’ve gone public with it. This needs to be known.

In my case, 45 years ago, there was no legal recourse. I had metastacized melanoma, and about six months to live, when my medicos tried a hail Mary pass and put me on a brutal course of chemotherapy using a drug called DTIC. I get the shivers just typing it. I was 25, and otherwise healthy and touring in a somewhat successful band, they shot me up with a five day dose of it in one day, once a month for a year. Absolutely nothing would stem the nausea and diarrhea, and the ride back to Marin became a race to see if I could make it home before the stuff hit me. And then I’d spend the next 8 hours in the bathroom, running at both ends.

One of my doctors put it to me like this: “It’s against the law for me to suggest that you try marijuana, so I won’t”, and he left it there. And being in the business I was in, I had access to the best, so I tried it. Well, nothing would mitigate that 8 hours of hell, BUT… The next morning, when I was still weak and queasy, and the thought of food would send me heading for the bathroom again, I burnt a fat one. And a miracle occurred. My stomach settled, and I became ravenous. And thanks to my illegal medicine, I began to gain back the weight I’d been losing, and I got the courage to keep up the regimen for a year.

I beat metastacized melanoma. Doctors who look at my chart now do double takes.

Thank you for going public and sharing your troubles with us. You’re making it easier for others to deal with what we had to.


i wish i could double/triple upvote your story. anything is abusable, as is water–and MJ is the single best anti-nausea medicine with the least side effects on earth.


I do not drink, or use recreational drugs. The medical use of cannabis did not make me want to use pot all day, all the time, nor did it lead to drinking or the compulsion to use or abuse other drugs.

How sad that so many Americans still need to be told that. It’s like . . . talking to a child. But, yeah, 't’s still necessary to say such obvious things like that, since so many are still so ignorantly afraid of pot.

Thanks for this report, Xeni. Keep hanging tough, we need you!


Thank you for this informative, well-written and reasoned post. I hope that it spreads far and wide, and that those with authority read it and take it in intelligently. I hope also that you have many years ahead to share with the BB community.


Thank you for deeply sharing your intimate experiences with us in your no nonsense approach toward life and your work. Your direct experience as a patient overcoming such tremendously hard obstacles is poignantly inspiring during this time of year where we miss our lost loved ones just a little more.


Hydro project? Hydro project.
(bonus points if hydro-electrically powered)


I’m sorry to hear about your family’s medical issues, but I don’t think I could add anything to the things you’ve probably already thought of. Talk to them, try to help as best you can with their illnesses, if you’re in the area then help with the groceries, the cleaning/housework, driving and appointments–I’m too lazy to search out the BB thread that was on this particular topic (the best way to help the cancer patients in your life, or somesuch). Probably best of all, just listen to them. Good luck to you and yours!