Nausea And Appetite Loss in the Treatment of Breast Cancer
by Edwin Arthur

June 14, 2011

Dear Dr. Grinspoon,

I would very much like to thank you for your contribution to the ongoing success of my wife’s breast cancer treatments. I will spare you all the details but, suffice it to say, she has been fighting a battle with stage IV, metastatic, breast cancer since 1995. She is currently under the care of the good folks at Dana-Farber and is participating in a phase I clinical trial.

For the last two years she has been constantly nauseous as a side effect of the clinical trial and after seeing an interview you participated in on television, along with the encouragement of the staff at Dana-Farber and my constant peer pressure, she has found your insight to be true. Cannabia has helped her to be able to feel less nauseous, have more appetite and seems to help somewhat with the neuropathy she experiences from past treatments. It works within minutes!

Having been a federal law enforcement officer in my youth I know first hand the Government’s opinion of the drug. I now find myself campaigning to get the State of New Hampshire to come to more reasonable terms with the issue.

With that having been said, I would like to contribute to your quest for more information about the plant’s use.

I am male, in my fifties, live in New Hampshire and am a licensed professional.

I have had an ongoing affinity for marijuana since high school and can give you the following information based on my experiences:

Just to give you some background, I have tried other illicit drugs in the past. My first drug was alcohol. Tobacco was a close second. When I was still in my teens, I had to have a serious operation and, it being before the days of the morphine pump, I ended up with an addiction that gave me some insight to the pitfalls of narcotics. As a result, I follow(ed) the mantra “everything in moderation”. I experimented with other drugs as well. I shied away from opiates but was somewhat enlightened with LSD. Barbiturates put me to sleep and amphetamines would help when I needed to stay awake. I realized that they all had limited and specific uses and gave them up some thirty years ago accept when guided by my physician (I’ll admit, she doesn’t prescribe LSD very often though :¬). Psilocybin mushrooms were of the same class as LSD and I outgrew their use as well. Cocaine was popular but I was aware of its addictive properties early on and keep it at a safe distance.

I prefer marijuana to alcohol. It helps me relax and I use it in the same manner that I would alcohol with less “intoxicating” effect. The combination of the two drugs has some kind of synergy and I try to avoid using the two together when I do use them. I would likely reduce my use of alcohol to almost nothing more than a glass of wine with supper if marijuana was more readily accepted.

My consumption level has gone down over the years. I would attribute this to the higher quality of the herb that is available today. I would hazard a guess that an ounce of it will last me some six to eight months. I can enjoy it at any time of the day so long as it does not coincide with my work, political interaction or complicated tasks. I find it makes me more gregarious. It makes me more responsive to humor. I discovered that it helps me to meditate. Several years ago I began to use this therapy and as a result I have been able to reduce my dependence on high blood pressure medication. My high blood pressure has always been a direct result of stress. It also helps to relieve the effects of anxiety, pain and depression. (I just wish it worked for gout!)

Complex math problems and detail oriented tasks are more likely to take longer and as a result I shy away from its use when I expect to have to concentrate on them. On the other hand, when working on tedious or creative tasks I find it to be more appropriate. It allows me to think freely yet remain on task.

Contrary to popular belief, I find it allows me to concentrate when driving long distances and I find that I am a more defensive and careful driver as a result. That, I expect, will be a difficult concept for some people to accept. Also contrary to popular belief, I find it inspiring or motivating. I am less likely to be found sitting on the couch and will tackle those menial tasks or do some personal research while using the herb.

I can’t concentrate when reading a long book while using it. My thoughts tend to wander and I sub-vocalize when doing so but, I find I can concentrate better on projects that require multi tasking. Go figure! I can often be found on the weekends working on a hobby, watching TV (with the sound turned off) and listening to classical music all at the same time.

In the seventies, I was nonplussed by the misinformation of both the authorities and my parents about the ill effects of drug use. When I discovered, by trying pot, that they were wrong I was left with the impression that they were purposely lying to me and as a result I continued experimenting with the other drugs I mentioned.

I feel that we need to take a careful look at how we teach our children about the use of all drugs in our culture. To this day I mistrust the authorities who decry the use of marijuana for legitimate purposes and will continue to vote accordingly. If they are so uninformed about a simple plant how can they be on track with other issues?

I am now committed to help get the issue resolved and hope to see marijuana legalized, if not in general, at least for those individuals who can benefit from it medically.

Thank you for affording me the opportunity to impart my feelings about marijuana.

Ed Arthur

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