Like most of us who go about our daily lives not thinking about what illness might creep-up on us and change our lives, so was Sharon Kelly until her world completely changed in December of 2013. The 54-year-old mother and wife was going through life happy and seemingly healthy, but a trip to the emergency department at the hospital following experiencing chest pain, ended with the doctor expressing his regret, and telling her that she was diagnosed with non-small-cell lung cancer. From a healthy non-smoker to lung cancer patient, whose prognosis only worsened in the weeks that followed, Sharon was in a fight for her life. The cancer metastasized to her lymph nodes and the lining of her stomach, and even more devastating, was that doctors gave her 6-9 months to live. Her pleas for treatment was met with her doctors expressing that chemotherapy or radiation was essentially useless in treating stage four lung cancer. Faced with going home to her family to live out and enjoy her remaining time, Sharon decided that she wanted to live, and made a decision that would change the course of her life. Her decision to take a gamble with cannabis oil became the ultimate life saving decision for Sharon.
Sharon’s Diagnosis and Prognosis
On December 16th, 2013, Sharon began experiencing sharp pain on her left side in the region of her ribs, which she attributed to a strong massage that she had received the prior Friday. The pain grew worse with every breath that Sharon took. Three days later, a doctor told her she had non- small cell lung cancer, and in January of 2014, her diagnosis worsened to stage four terminal lung cancer as the cancer spread to other parts of the body. With a 5cm primary tumor in her left lung and fluid around her heart, and a positive EGFR mutation test result, doctors revealed that chemo and radiation would prove ineffective in treating Sharon’s cancer. At this stage of Sharon’s life, hope was waning, but cannabis was not yet on her radar. However, that would all change when her youngest daughter did some online research and came across testimonials of individuals who experienced success using cannabis oil to treat their lung cancer. She suggested to her mom to give cannabis oil a try since she was out of options. With an open mind, Sharon took her daughter’s advice to try cannabis oil.
Cannabis Oil Journey
On February 26, 2014, Sharon initiated her cannabis treatment, with the help of her husband and making the cannabis oil herself from instructions online. Her doses were small at first, but she also juiced the fresh cannabis leaves and buds, which she added to her morning smoothie. Feelings of tiredness and mental fog from the psychoactive effects of THC overwhelmed Sharon, but she did not quit, instead, she found another alternative. With the aid of an experienced activist, Sharon employed a method that involved putting the oil into capsules and using it as a suppository, which eliminated the psychoactive effects that were intolerable for her. Sharon employed 1½ to 2 grams of cannabis oil daily which bore noticeable results; her tumors shrank with each scan at two month intervals and by July the primary tumor was reduced to 2.1cm from 5cm in December of 2013, the lymph nodes returned to their normal size, and the fluid around her heart also disappeared. By September, active cancer cells were absent from Sharon’s body, and after seven months on cannabis oil, she was cancer free. Her “miraculous” recovery was puzzling to her oncologist, especially since there is little to no scientific studies to support the efficacy of cannabis oil in the treatment of lung cancer.
Sharon was faced with what she thought was zero treatment option for her stage four lung cancer. Her doctors had given up, but she found hope in cannabis oil. A little research, anecdotal stories, and a gamble led to Sharon’s successful lung cancer treatment with cannabis oil. Lacking is scientific evidence to demonstrate how and why cannabis oil was successful in Sharon’s case. However, her result is indicative of the potential benefits of cannabis in treating lung cancer, and as such, the relationship between cannabis oil and lung cancer warrants scientific research. Research could also uncover whether or not cannabidiol (CBD) or hemp oil could yield the same result as cannabis oil by reducing tumors in individuals with lung cancer.