Brisbane man Michael Stoopman is a cancer survivor who believes the benefits of medicinal cannabis go way beyond palliative care.
Last year he had a large ulcerating tumour eating into his carotid artery in his neck that threatened his life.
Ulcerating tumours rarely heal and doctors told him little could be done other than managing his symptoms. So he started taking cannabis oil.
“Even though I’d been told by over 28 oncologists altogether and four other doctors that there’s no coming back from a tumour that size, it stopped growing,” Mr Stoopman said.
“Then one month later the whole wound closed up.”
Within six months of starting cannabis treatment he was declared cancer free.
Warning: This story contains a graphic image
Palliative care expert at Lifehouse Cancer Hospital in Sydney Judith Lacey said there was insufficient evidence to prove that medicinal cannabis can cure cancer, but that new studies had shown some cancers in mice were effectively treated with cannabis.
“So it’s really interesting looking at the potential benefit for cannabis in controlling cancer cell growth,” Dr Lacey said.
“It’s a really interesting field. People are conducting studies to see if perhaps in the future it may be potentially used for treating some cancer.”
Dr Lacey recently started prescribing medicinal cannabis to help terminally ill patients manage their symptoms.
She said the initial results were very positive — particularly for people suffering from chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
“The gut feeling is we’re on to something really good and this is going to potentially change the lives of people who are living with cancer,” she said.
Marijuana a complex drug
Dr Lacey is one of about 50 doctors from around the country