Leukaemia and Cannabis Oil: Two Case Studies, Two Outcomes
Today I want to talk about two patients who both used cannabis oil to treat their conditions. Their outcomes remarkably differed. Why? I’ll try to answer this question in the preceding text.
The first case concerns Mr Elias Cooper who was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). The second case is Mr Brian Scott who suffered from acute myeloid leukaemia, also known as acute myelogenous leukaemia.
When we talk about using cannabis to treat leukaemia it’s important to remember that there are many different types of leukaemia. There are acute forms and chronic forms. All leukaemia are cancers of the blood forming cells of the bone marrow. The causes are unknown. There are at least a half-dozen conventional therapies used to treat the various types of leukaemia.
It’s also fundamental to understand that there exists a confusing array of hemp, and cannabis products that at best, are poorly regulated. If you make the wrong choices, you may never change the outcome of your condition. Some of these preparations are extremely effective on certain types of diseases. For example, it appears as if CBD only, without the help of THC, can arrest status epilepticus—that is, it will stop a seizure where no conventional drugs seem to be effective. We now have clinical proof of that although, it’s only one small study and only a handful of additional trials.
Anecdotally, we have evidence that THC, with all of the other cannabinoids normally present in marijuana including CBD, appear to cure or put into remission some types of cancers. These range from deadly organ cancers such as pancreatic to lung and even liver cancer. I have written about many of these. Full-spectrum oils also appear to be good at putting some leukemias into remission. For treating cancer, most agree that we need all of the cannabinoids not just CBD, to produce the Entourage Effect.
First let’s define what a leukaemia is.
When one of these cells [immature white blood cells in the bone marrow] changes and becomes a leukaemia cell, it no longer matures normally. Often, it divides to make new cells faster than normal. Leukaemia cells also don’t die when they should. This allows them to build up in the bone marrow, crowding out normal cells. At some point, leukaemia cells leave the bone marrow and spill into the bloodstream, often causing the number of white blood cells in the blood to increase. Once in the blood, leukaemia cells can spread to other organs, where they can prevent other cells in the body from functioning normally.
Generally, the chronic forms are called chronic because they tend to be slowly progressive and indolent versus the acute leukaemia which can be very aggressive. Each type carries its own mortality risks. Some forms are curable especially in children, some forms respond poorly to conventional therapy.
OTHER TYPES OF LEUKAEMIA
There are 4 main types of leukemia based on whether they are acute or chronic, and myeloid or lymphocytic:
- Acute myeloid (or myelogenous) leukemia (AML)
- Chronic myeloid (or myelogenous) leukemia (CML)
- Acute lymphocytic (or lymphoblastic) leukemia (ALL)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
First let’s get a few facts on CLL.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a type of cancer that starts from cells that become certain white blood cells (called lymphocytes) in the bone marrow. The cancer (leukemia) cells start in the bone marrow but then go into the blood.
In CLL, the leukemia cells often build up slowly over time, and many people don’t have any symptoms for at least a few years. In time, the cells can spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen.
Whether leukaemia is acute or chronic depends on whether most of the abnormal cells are immature (and are more like stem cells) or mature (and are like normal white blood cells).
In chronic leukaemia, the cells can mature partly but not completely. These cells may look fairly normal, but they are not. They generally do not fight infection as well as normal white blood cells do. The leukaemia cells survive longer than normal cells, and build up, crowding out normal cells in the bone marrow. Chronic leukaemia can take a long time before they cause problems, and most people can live for many years. But chronic leukaemia are generally harder to cure than acute leukaemia.
There are also two main types of CLL. One is very slow the other tends to progress faster and often times requires treatment much earlier. Treatment involves the use of various chemotherapy combinations, bone marrow transplant, or splenectomy in some cases. Several other medicines are used as well depending on the exact type of leukaemia.
THE CASE OF ELIAS COOPER
Elias Cooper, who lives in cannabis friendly Oregon, was diagnosed with CLL in 2011. We do not know which type of CLL Elias has, only that he was diagnosed with CLL.
WIFE DISCOVERS BRAVE MYKAYLA’S INSPIRATIONAL STORY
Upon diagnosis, Elias was already considering medical cannabis first over conventional chemotherapy. He and his wife searched the internet for examples of cannabis treatments. This is when his wife discovered the story of Brave Mykayla. Her story is indeed impressive. With that knowledge they decided to get Elias his medical card and start therapy.
So in 2013, two years after his diagnosis, he started cannabis oil (RSO). Recall from above that the chronic forms often take years before any therapy is needed. That’s why we see his first dose two years after his diagnosis.
In February of 2013, Elias took his first dose of RSO after reading online how best to prepare the oil.
He took his first dose of cannabis oil on February 3rd 2013. Elias ingested the oil every day for about 3 weeks before he went back to the doctor for a checkup. That checkup showed his white blood cell count was down 40,000 (normal white blood cell (WBC) count 4,500 to 11,000 white cells per microliter of blood).
Note that his WBC count is still abnormally high but had been much higher, indicating that the cannabis oil may be responsible for the decline in white cells. Usually a positive response is a reduction in the WBC count of 50%. So Elias’s WBC count may have been around 80,000 initially.
The typical symptoms from starting RSO appeared with Elias as well. He slept for most of the day. The sleepiness continued for about 5 weeks while he developed a tolerance to the cannabis oil. By week six, he was up and about with little sedation at one gram RSO per day. One gram per day is the standard dose for adults. This is to be continued for at least three months.
RSHO IS NOT RSO
Elias and his wife Debra indicated that the high THC strains of Indica varietals were the best at reducing his white count. What happened next is very important to remember because it clearly demonstrates the enormous healing difference between CBD oil and authentic whole plant extracts like Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) that contains all the cannabinoids in an “activated form.”
There were two occasions when Elias had to use a commercial CBD oil (hemp oil) rather than RSO. In this case they used Real Scientific Hemp Oil (RSHO) whose acronym is dangerously close to RSO. Be sure to note that although they may sound similar the difference is astronomical. After the switch things did not go well.
Elias’s choice to take RSHO ended up being a big mistake and his condition worsened because of it. Instead of decreasing his white blood cell count, it sky rocketed. When his condition got worse, Elias and Debra got the funds together and again made Elias his cannabis oil using high grade cannabis and followed the directions online. After 5 days of being back on the high grade cannabis oil, he had blood work done and his white blood cells count was down 65,000.
Again, it is not clear what his WBC count shot up to, but from their testimony above it appears that the RSO dropped his count by 65,000 cells. Either way RSO seemed to perform very well, in direct contradiction to RSHO.
THE CASE OF BRIAN SCOTT
Sadly, things did not work out as well for Utah’s 18-year-old, 225-pound fullback Brian Scott. After leading the Hurricane Tigers to their first state championship, and taking three state wrestling crowns, he was awarded a full football scholarship to Southern Utah University.
In early 2012, Brian was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). With a very optimistic attitude and plans to attend college in the fall, he opted for his first round of chemotherapy. At age 19, he received six months of chemotherapy for his condition. This ordeal which made him very sick, provided only a poor response.
From this initial protocol his esophagus was severely affected leading to the sloughing of the inner lining of his esophagus, infection, spitting up blood and inability to eat (swallow) for many weeks. His only source of sustenance was given through IV lines. It’s called total parenteral nutrition (TPN).
As fit and strong as Brian was, he nearly died after this round. His oncologist implored him to continue at five times the dosage. After that first round he said no more. They started doing some research online and found certain medical marijuana preparations available in Colorado might be just the thing for him. So they called it quits, and moved to Colorado to pursue an alternative medical approach involving the use of cannabis oil. He was 19 years old at the time. His doctors also downgraded his five-year survival from 80 percent to 50 percent.
He was transferred to Primary Children’s Medical Center with the intention of delivering a much more aggressive chemotherapy protocol to wipe out his bone marrow in preparation for a stem cell transplant—often the last therapy available. His response was no thank you. His oncologist told him he was going to die without it.
WHAT IS AML?
AML as the name implies, is an acute leukaemia. As such they tend to be much more aggressive. Typically, the mean five-year survival rate for AML is about 24%. In other words, this type of leukaemia is dangerous and deadly. Perhaps these dismal statistics could be improved with alternative approaches to treatment.
The treatment involves conventional chemotherapy as noted above which can be very challenging. Stem cell transplants can cure this condition in a small percentage of patients. It is so toxic that many patients die just from the initial treatments because it wipes out the bone marrow leaving patients susceptible to infection, sepsis and death.
By July, Brian was in Colorado where he met up with a cannabis-based clinic and proceeded to start using their pot-based medications, predominantly CBD ‘pills’.
TAKE THE RIGHT MEDICATION
I bring these details to you because of what might have happened to Brian. They refer to his taking certain pills for his cancer. There is no mention of anything like Cannabis Oil being used. I do not know for sure, but if he were only taking a CBD rich preparation he may have created his own demise. I mention over and over how patients need ALL of the cannabinoids including THC to help treat cancer.
Without the magic of THC, these materials become much less effective and may actually worsen a condition as we just saw in the preceding case of Elias Cooper whose cancer deteriorated terribly after he stopped RSO and started taking RSHO which is a CBD-only formula.
Several months later in August of the same year while now in Colorado, Brian was, once again, working out and getting ready for his football scholarship at SUU. His beautiful future seemed to be attainable.
Brain’s mother had this to say:
“When we left Utah tests showed there were was 3 percent blasts, or immature cancer cells, in his blood. Subsequent [blood counts] have not shown any blasts,” Jane said on Aug. 27. “Now the hope is his body starts reproducing the healthy cells.”
She urged Brian to “hang in there” and stay in Colorado for at least six months. “Because of Utah’s marijuana laws we can’t legally go home because we could get hit with a $1,000 fine and three months in prison,” she said.
In reference to the above quote “blast cells” are the immature forms of cells manufactured within the bone marrow. Typically, in a normal, healthy patient there should be no blast cells in the blood, or at least very few. This is used to assess the success or failure of the intervention. If the blast count and the WBC count both plummet to normal the patient is considered in remission.
Yet, in spite of their efforts and the use of an unknown cannabis preparation, Brian’s cancer returned just after his 20th birthday in September of that year.
Shortly after Brian’s 20th birthday in September, though, cancer cells reappeared. He began low doses of chemotherapy while continuing to take cannabidiol pills.
The above quote adds support to my contention that Brain was inadequately treated by using cannabidiol (CBD) only instead of a full-spectrum material. If that’s the case, a great lesson is to be learned here.
Brian refused a much more aggressive intervention such as a stem cell transplant. I know of several patients that have received stem cell transplants and they are harrowing experiences. Many do not make the hurdle and die from the treatment. Even the most courageous can be brought down with this management.
Again his mother was quoted as saying:
“He knows what that hospital routine is like. He feels like if he’s going to go out of this world, he is going to go out fighting and not so doped up on morphine he can’t tell one side of the veil from the other,” Jane said.
At age 20 Brain Scott died of complications from AML.
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