In 1990, my 19 year-old son was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a Cancer of the lymph nodes. That such a thing could happen to my son shocked me into disbelief and horror. As devastated as I was, I resolved that he would receive the best possible treatment.
The oncologist who diagnosed the Cancer, met with us to explain my son’s treatment options. He told us that the chemotherapy my son would receive caused nausea in younger patients and recommended smoking marijuana to help him get through the treatment. We discussed prescribing Marinol. But he told us that most patients wouldn’t be able to keep the pill down if the chemotherapy made them vomit and recommended that he smoke it instead.
At the time, the area I lived in was experiencing a shortage in the very substance my son needed. When I felt I had little hope but to wait the shortage out, a chance meeting with a friend from high school got me what my son needed.
The marijuana didn’t stop the nausea my son experienced after his monthly chemo injection. But smoking it before he got the shot helped him in more ways than one. The chemo made him so sick that he threw up even before receiving his injection. Smoking marijuana kept him from getting sick until he got home. Although he did vomit after he received the chemotherapy, smoking marijuana made him feel more comfortable and temporarily relieved his nausea until the chemo triggered another period of vomiting. It helped him hold food in his stomach long enough to get some nutritional benefit. For a year, he spent three days a month sick from chemotherapy. Once he completed his course of treatment, the Cancer never returned.
Whenever I bought marijuana to help my son get through his treatment, I worried about the risk of getting arrested. Who would get him to and from his treatments safely and care for him? Fortunately, I got my son the medicine he needed without getting myself arrested.
If I had ever had to stand trial, I would have told the judge, “If your child had Cancer, you would do the very same thing I did to make your child feel better.”
That is how much love we show our children. If cannabis were legalized medication, a parent would not have to break the law to help their chil