A father battling cancer claims cannabis helped cure him of the disease.
Trevor Smith, 54, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012. Doctors told him that without immediate surgery to remove his bladder, prostate and lymph nodes – followed by chemotherapy – he would be dead within two years.
But worried about his quality of life after such radical surgery, he decided to try alternative therapies – and began taking cannabis oil after learning about it online.
Scientific research does suggest that cannabinoids – the active chemicals found in cannabis – possess anti-cancer properties which help stem the growth of malignant tumours.
And Cancer Research UK is currently funding clinical trials using the drug.
Mr Smith’s wife Carol, 55, said: ‘So many thoughts rushed through my mind all at once when Trevor was diagnosed. All I could envisage was I was going to lose the love of my life.
‘We knew we had to try a different approach to save his life.’
While a healthy diet and alternative medicines, such as Essiac tea and vitamin supplements, were successful in improving Mr Smith’s overall health, he was still in excruciating pain as the cancer continued to spread.
It was then that they resorted to using cannabis oil to treat his cancer – risking prison by possessing large quantities of the drug.
The couple, from Derby, made the controversial decision after discovering a popular pro-cannabis film called ‘Run From The Cure’, which claimed the class B drug could be used as a cure.
The couple got in contact with a legal manufacturer of cannabis oil in the USA, who agreed to supply Mr Smith with the drug.
The couple arranged to pick up 60 grams of cannabinoid, an edible compound of the plant containing 65 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive compound in marijuana -in the UK.
Research published last month by the University of East Anglia found THC has been shown to help combat the growth of cancerous cells.
Although doctors can prescribe the drug to named cancer patients to treat nausea and vomiting, the possession of cannabinoid is prohibited under UK law and can carry a prison sentence of up to five years.
Mr Smith said: ‘It wasn’t a case of I had no respect for the law, I was fighting to save my life.
‘At that point, I would have risked everything to beat the cancer. ‘These options have always been there, even in the UK, but the medical system has kept it from everyone.
‘I never really gave it a second thought; I was in a race against time, so I had to roll the dice.’
His wife, an artist, added: ‘I would have done anything to give my husband the treatment he needed.
‘Even if I was caught, what would they do? Send me to prison for trying to treat my dying husband?
‘The only thing in my mind was saving my husband from chemo, radiation and radical surgery – not my freedom.’
The couple, who have been married for 33 years, planned to carry out the treatment, which included feeding Mr Smith 60 grams of cannabis oil, over a period of ten weeks.
The father-of-three, who had no previous experience of taking the drug, said: ‘The effects were quite shocking.’
His wife, who has written a book documenting her husband’s therapy, called Taking Control, said: ‘Initially, Trevor reacted very badly to the cannabis oil.
‘Neither of us had ever used any recreational drugs, so we weren’t aware of the effects it had.
‘At first, it made him very sleepy and non-responsive – both conversationally and physically.
‘He would sleep for up to 12 hours at night. It was one of the hardest things we have ever gone through.’
Research led by Dr Wai Liuat, at St George’s University in London, suggests that cannabinoids possess anti-cancer properties which help to stem the growth of malignant tumors.
He said: ‘Mechanistically, both THC and cannabinoids work by switching on cell killing processes that are found in cancer cells.
‘The idea is that by switching these on, cell death can be engaged leading to reductions in tumours.
‘Similarly, actions through these signalling cascades could actually make the cancer cells more sensitive to other forms of therapy – I suppose cannabinoids and THC could act by laying the foundations for other therapies to work more effectively.’
Dr Kat Arney, science communications manager at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘We know that cannabinoids can have a range of different effects on cancer cells grown in the lab and animal tumors.
‘But at the moment there isn’t good evidence from clinical trials to prove that they can safely and effectively treat cancer in patients.
‘Despite this, we are aware that some cancer patients do choose to treat themselves with cannabis extracts.
‘These stories can help researchers build a picture of whether these treatments are helping or not, although this is weak evidence compared to properly-run clinical trials.
‘Cancer Research UK is supporting clinical trials for treating cancer with cannabis extract and a synthetic cannabinoid in order to gather solid data on how best these drugs can be used to benefit people with cancer.’
Source: Daily Mail