A senior citizen who wishes to remain anonymous didn’t use cannabis for 65 years. “I felt it was something that a bunch of young people did recreationally that did nothing but ultimately get them in trouble with the law. I also felt it was a gateway to harder stuff. I thought it led to crime. Because they couldn’t find work, I believed potheads would commit crimes in order to pay for their habit.”
He didn’t have friends or family who used cannabis for the majority of his life. “I hadn’t known anyone who used it since the military, back in the ‘60s. If I had known of any friends or relatives that used it, I would have avoided them.”
When he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, everything changed. He recounts the day he received the news. “Strangely enough, I was mostly concerned about my grandson and his well-being, his reaction if something would happen to me. As it turns out, I never told him.”
In the first weeks after his diagnosis, he thought, “Should I do radiation? Or should I watch and wait?” He researched alternative treatments and consulted homeopathic experts. He even considered juicing. But, when he read about the effects of cannabis on cancer cells, his opinion began to shift. All of the stories and studies he read made him start to rethink his negative opinion. “Even some of the news stories I saw highlighted the benefits of medical marijuana.”
Just before starting his radiation, a friend began giving him homemade cannabutter. He put it on his toast every morning. “I think the cannabutter gave me a bit of an edge. I never really felt anything, like feeling high, from the butter at the time. But, I got myself to and from all of my appointments and still socialized some, including going to church and running my Sunday school class. Not everyone I saw was receiving their treatment as well and I think that my doing so well had something to do with the cannabis butter toast.”
After the 42 days of treatment five days a week, the radiation was over. His PSA levels were checked. He was officially in remission.
He stopped using the cannabutter for a year after remission. His PSA, “started creeping up from the hundredths to the tenths. I didn’t like that it was creeping back up and I wondered when this was going to stop.”
Knowing cannabis could help his body keep the cancer from coming back, but not always wanting to feel the, “high” associated with cannabis, was frustrating. His friend suggested CBD oil. Every chance he got, he puffed on a CBD vape pen. He had never been a smoker, so learning to inhale was a big challenge.
“The first PSA after I started using CBD oil, the upward escalation of the PSA number was less than it had been before. The second PSA was down a little bit from the one before. I do not have anything to attribute it to. I don’t eat any differently, I don’t exercise any more than I did before or after. There is just nothing different, frankly, except the use of CBD and cannabis. ” Since the start of using CBD a couple of years ago, his PSA has remained at a steady 0.2.
He also recently started using a topical lotion for his arthritis pain. Since beginning, he has seen a great deal of relief in the pain in his hands and wrist. His doctor has prescribed Vicodin for pain, which he is allowed to take as needed.
“I’d rather use the lotion. I don’t feel loopy or sleepy by rubbing the lotion in like I do by taking pain killers.”
When he smokes the whole plant, he feels, “Euphoria is too strong of a word. It’s like everything is good. So, happy is the best way I can describe it. And it doesn’t last all that long since I just take one or two puffs.” He adds that he eats pretty healthily, takes a few different medications as prescribed and sees his doctors on a regular basis.
Today’s opinion? “I think it has medicinal value, at least for my ailments. My exposure to THC and CBD has caused me to be less judgmental about those who use it, because I don’t see it as this monster I used to see it as. I recognize it has medicinal value.”
Although he no longer plays the role of Director of Diversity for a major oil company, he still chooses to remain anonymous. Why? “I’m a pillar of my community. I am looked up to by many people who would not understand, nor accept, my usage.”
“You can’t do HR work if you do cannabis. And I still do some contract work. Sometimes, I can be hired to oversee things including the drug and alcohol testing programs. People would see it as the fox watching the henhouse. Simply, a bad idea.”
He just celebrated his 69th birthday and will be cancer-free for five years in November. He continues to use cannabis in a red state because, “It helps. My PSA has been at a steady 0.2 for the last couple of years, with the most recent on taken at the beginning of September.” He closes with a laugh as he says, “Really, cannabis has helped me enjoy a higher quality of life.”