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Cancer, me and CBD – A Success Story

Cancer, me and CBD – A Success Story

About Me

I am a student at the University of Bristol studying Economics. I was a typical student; I enjoy going to parties and nights out with my friends. However, all that changed in January 2018 when I was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkins Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, which affects mainly the immune system.

It was a total shock; it was an average Thursday morning, I was sitting in lectures hungover from the night before complaining about the horrid flu I had, which I thought I had picked up after a week of celebrating finishing my exams, but by Monday afternoon I was at beginning of a three week bed-ridden stay in hospital, discussing survival rates, and further, doctors saying I would have to undergo 8 months of extensive chemotherapy.

Due to the stage in which I was diagnosed, the doctors told me that the usual chemotherapy used to help treat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma would not be strong enough and that I should consider a more intensive, escalated and stronger treatment of chemotherapy. This led me to research the best ways to combat the extreme side effects.

As anyone does from the common cold, to in my case, cancer, I was frantically googling anything I could about my disease and the potential side effects alongside what the doctors were discussing. It was during my long nights of googling my disease that I eventually stumbled upon CBD’s medicinal effects regarding cancer. The more forums I joined regarding young people with cancer, and further, patients on my ward I spoke to, it was clear that using CBD medicinally was helping a lot of people combat the long list of side effects regarding chemotherapy.

Before I go any further I would like to say that there just isn’t enough studies and data on CBD and its effects in curing cancer; I am writing this to tell people my story of using CBD alongside modern medicine, with the aim to help people with cancer, or life-altering diseases and conditions, combat the horrible side effects, because, I truly believe that as a cancer patient, CBD is life changing.

CBD

Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound derived from the cannabis plant. It has significant medical benefits, but unlike THC, it does not make people feel “stoned”. The fact that CBD-rich cannabis is non-psychoactive makes it an appealing option for patients looking for relief from pain, anxiety, seizures, spasms, joint pain and, in my case, the side effects of chemotherapy, without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria.

Scientific and clinical research, much of it sponsored by the US government, underscores CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, epilepsy and other neurological disorders. CBD has demonstrable neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, and its anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere.

CBD can come in many forms; whether in oil, a balm, tea, tablets and from smoking CBD dominated cannabis strains, and each person will have different experiences regarding the products on the market. Personally, I was using 3 tablets a day, at a strength of 2500mg. This is significantly strong, due to the strength of my chemotherapy, and would advise taking time to find a strength and product that suits your needs.

My story

It is common knowledge among smokers that smoking a joint after a heavy night of drinking would help settle the stomach and make symptoms of throwing up subside, however, I didn’t know the real extent to which cannabis, in my case CBD, would help me with the strongest cases of sickness.

My sickness would be more extreme in the morning, and on the worse days, it would continue throughout the whole day, rendering me unable to eat and in some cases even drink. The anti-sickness I was prescribed worked, but for about an hour, and was simply not strong enough for me to use constantly. This was my first, and the start of many, major breakthroughs in using CBD. It would eradicate my sickness completely.

I went from being sick for hours on end, to being sick about four times in the preceding four months. I was completely astonished at the power of CBD and would bring up CBD whenever I could to other patients when I met them, eventually leaving out anti-sickness tablets from my medication altogether.

The benefits of CBD didn’t end there however, and I would continue to use CBD to treat many side effects; those which wouldn’t subside using the medication prescribed by doctors.

Anyone who has received chemotherapy through a drip will tell you that it is not a nice experience; my head would swell in a type of ‘brain fog’, I would get severely dizzy, fatigued and get terrible pounding headaches, just to list a few side effects. The only prescription from the doctors I was given for these was paracetamol. Now, you can probably imagine, that someone taking on average 36 pills a day and undergoing chemotherapy, that two basic paracetamol tablets barely touched the sides.

Since using CBD, I had finally been able to combat and calm the most severe headaches. I was now able to take my mind of treatment while I was on a drip, leaving me able to watch Netflix; a small but significant positive. This was the starting point in which I would regard my chemotherapy as an annoying part of my new life, rather than something which would render me totally lifeless.

In my opinion, the worst part of my treatment included daily injections, for one week out of every month, called granulocyte colony stimulating factor, G-CSF, and was as painful as they are hard to pronounce. The injections would stimulate bone marrow growth to increase white blood cells, and the pain which followed, I can only describe as feeling my bones growing inside me, resulting in friction between joints and the grinding of bone. Quite ironically, this gave me extreme joint pain, and before I started using CBD I was even admitted to the hospital for four days as the pain was so extreme I was unable to move.

Unable to change my treatment plan, which meant I had to continue these injections regardless, the doctors could only prescribe more pain relief, which ultimately wasn’t working. CBD helped significantly in reducing and combating this pain, and where before I was unable to move due to bone pain, through using CBD I was even able to go cycling regularly in my local park.

As you can imagine, the side effects of chemotherapy are numerous, and it would probably take me 10 pages to list them all. However, these were the three most debilitating side effects regarding my treatment, which were all able to be minimalized or stopped completely by using CBD.

My diagnosis was originally 8 months, then, by my second cycle this was reduced to 6 months, and halfway through my treatment, I was lucky enough to be given the news that I was in remission by four months. I have left this information at the end, because I don’t want people to think CBD solely cured/sped up my treatment, however, the evidence is too substantial to rule out. CBD significantly changed my life while I was undergoing chemotherapy, and if you or anyone you know is going through the same thing, CBD could significantly change theirs too.

 

Story by Jim – 21 Years Old, Bristol/Brighton (UK)