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Given 3 Days to Live by Doctors, This Mom Secretly Saved Her Son’s Life With Cannabis

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Mom Secretly Saves Son's Life Cannabis

Both anecdotal evidence and clinical research are beginning to show the promise of cannabis in treating a variety of health issues. According to one family in the U.K., cannabis helped a dying teenage boy recover fully from complications from leukemia. The family appeared on the British talk show, This Morning, to discuss their experience.

Callie Blackwell’s son Deryn had been fighting leukemia followed by Langerhans cell sarcoma for four years — since the age of ten. Following doctors’ fourth and final attempt at a bone marrow transplant, they warned the family it was the last opportunity to save his life.

Though the surgery was successful, Deryn’s mother says he contracted an infection in the hospital. He grew extremely ill, and according to Callie, “He was literally being kept alive by antibiotics. That’s what they told us.” Doctors estimated he had three days to a week left to live following the turbulent aftermath of his transplant.

Deryn says he was ready to give up and had started planning his funeral. “After four years of treatment, it [was] enough,” he told This Morning.

In the meantime, however, his mother had been researching cannabis treatments. She says she kept hearing about it through word of mouth. However, because his cancer was technically already gone – he was succumbing to complications in the form of hand and stomach issues — she didn’t think it was a viable option.

Cannabis has been found, at least in preliminary laboratory testing, to shrink cancer cells. This early research is increasingly backed up by anecdotal evidence. Still, Callie didn’t think it applied and rejected cannabis as a potential treatment.

The cancers [were] gone,” she said. “This [was] now a completely different issue. I would dismiss it and dismiss it.”

Nevertheless, Deryn remained sick and in hospice care, taking large doses of fentanyl, the strongest opiate painkiller on the market. He was still expected to die.

Callie asked doctors about Bedrocan, a cannabis-based pain relief product popular in Europe. “I wanted to go through the proper measures,” she said. However, she doctors told her it wasn’t an option because it hadn’t been approved for use in children.

That’s when she decided to obtain cannabis illegally and give it a chance. “He’s dying anyway,” she said.

Deryn, too, was open to the alternative treatment. “I was happy to [try it],” he said.

The New York Daily News explains that Deryn’s parents “met with a dealer to buy marijuana. They then found a recipe online that showed them how to turn it into a liquid form so they could give it to their teenage son.

Callie clarified on This Morning that they did not use CBD (cannabidiol) or THC oil, the oils currently gaining popularity for treating everything from Parkinson’s disease to epilepsy to anxiety — and potentially cancer. Rather, they simply used a tincture.

The effects of it blew my mind. It wasn’t what I expected,” she said.

Within half an hour to an hour, Deryn, who had been overcome with anxiety over his impending death, “was chilled out, just relaxed.”

Deryn’s condition improved not just emotionally, but physically. For example, when doctors removed bandages from his hands, expecting little to no progress, his fingers showed signs of recovery.

Further, doctors had warned that his white blood cell count would remain nonexistent, but after just five days of taking cannabis — 75 days after his final bone marrow transplant — they returned.

All of a sudden his white count [had] appeared. Doctors were running around frantically” to do more testing, Callie said, though she added that at that time, Deryn’s white blood cell count was still very low.

To test the effectiveness of the tincture, Callie says she withdrew the treatment and the white blood cell count “started to go down again.

Though Callie made it clear that she doesn’t endorse cannabis as a treatment that will cure cancer or work for everyone who tries it, she has no regrets about giving it to her son.

Experts are optimistic about the potential of cannabis, though they caution it is difficult to discern exactly what dynamic helped restore Deryn’s health, noting it could have been something entirely separate from cannabis that spurred his recovery. Further clinical research is needed to tease out exactly what alleviated his symptoms, as well as what causes such positive results in other patients who find success with cannabis.

As far as cancer is concerned, there is a great deal of uncertainty, as well as promise. “There have been lots of studies looking at the effect of cannabis on cells growing in the lab, but that’s been quite mixed, it seems to have had different effects on different types of cancer cells,” says Emma Smith, science information manager for Cancer Research U.K., as reported by the Independent.

For now, it remains illegal in the U.K. and many parts of the world. As one This Morning host interjected, “Anyone using the drug for any reason could be charged with possession.”

For Deryn’s parents, the risk was worth it. Deryn now aspires to open his own vegan restaurant. In his own words, he’s “Perfectly healthy. My white blood [cells] are all normal.


By Carey Wedler / Creative Commons / Anti-Media

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Health

California Bill Backed by PTSD War Veterans Groups Would Legalize Psychedelics Statewide

Elias Marat

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California could soon decriminalize psychedelics statewide if one legislator’s new bill is passed, marking another step by the Golden State to do away with laws seen by critics as antiquated vestiges of the failed U.S. war on drugs.

On Thursday, Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco introduced Bill 519, which would comprehensively decriminalize the use of and possession of psychedelics, following the lead of such places as Oakland, Santa Cruz, the District of Columbia, and Oregon, which have all decriminalized the drugs to varying degrees.

Under the proposed law, a range of psychedelic drugs including psilocybin – the hallucinogen in “magic” mushrooms – psilocyn, 3,4-MDMA (also known as molly or ecstasy), LSD, ketamine, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline would all be decriminalized. Like a previous law passed in 2018 that expunged cannabis-related convictions from the records of Californians, Bill 519 would also wipe clean prior convictions for the use or possession of drugs.

While the comprehensive decriminalization measure would open the door to any sort of use of the drugs, not limited to medical, it would also be tied to measures that endorse the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of psychedelics which have gained increased recognition from health experts and researchers in recent years.

Given the severity of our mental health crisis, we shouldn’t be criminalizing people for using drugs that have shown significant promise in treating mental health conditions,” Wiener said in a statement. “People should be able to seek alternative treatment for diseases like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and we need to make science-based treatments available to those in need.”

The bill has also been heavily supported by two groups, the Heroic Hearts Project and VETS (Vets Exploring Treatment Solutions), both nonprofit organizations that assist veterans in addressing mental health challenges stemming from trauma, such as PTSD.

The strategy tout the medical benefits of the drugs is one that has been used with success in past efforts by drug policy reform advocates.

“That’s how it worked with cannabis,” Oregonian drug policy reform advocate Anthony Johnson told the Guardian. Johnson helped lead efforts in his state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of basically all illicit drugs through Measure 110, which voters overwhelmingly approved in November.

“It’s definitely a way to help people that need it first and foremost, but also then to educate the public about these substances of how the drug war has been a failed policy and how there is a better approach,” Johnson added.

In the case of Oregon’s Measure 109, which cleared the way for the all-out legalization of psilocybin mushrooms, petitioners highlighted the need to end the prohibition of the substance as a means toward treating mental health challenges through alternative methods.

“Healthcare professionals, veterans, mothers, people struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction and end of life distress, community organizations, and so many others answered to call for a new option to help so many who are suffering,” a coalition of Oregon advocates said in a statement last November following voters’ overwhelming approval of the legal psilocybin therapy bill.

As has been the case in other states, however, the largest obstacle to decriminalization has been law enforcement, who cite concerns over public safety, and the private prison industry which enjoys generous profits from state contracts to incarcerate drug users. However, state Senator Wiener hopes that the testimony of veterans will help convince opponents of the need to shed their preconceptions and biases toward users of psychedelic drugs.

“There’s a stereotype of who’s using psychedelics, but it’s much broader than that and when you have veterans coming into the Capitol talking about how psychedelics help them with PTSD and help them get their lives back, that’s incredibly powerful for legislators,” Wiener explained.

Among those veterans is 38-year-old veteran Juliana Mercer, who spent 16 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including 10 years of active duty service over the course of one tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

As a four-year member of the wounded warriors unit, Mercer saw unspeakable horrors that left an indelible impression on her psyche – ultimately resulting in long-term trauma that she was largely unable to address.

“I lost quite a few friends and just saw a lot of a lot of damage and destruction along the way,” Mercer said. “I put all of that stuff away and kind of forgot about it for a while, and once I slowed down it was all just sitting there and I didn’t know what to do with it.”

While her first experience with psychedelics was recreational, she eventually gained a sense of connectedness that had been absent for years. She eventually reached out to the Heroic Hearts Project a year and a half ago to undergo ayahuasca therapy, which she said had completely exceeded expectations in allowing her to release “years of grief.”

“I kept hearing that when you do some of these plant medicines, you’ll be able to do 10 years worth of work in one session,” Mercer explained. “Just one of my sessions really brought out all of that pain and the grief that I didn’t even know was in there and allowed me to just completely release it and expel it, things that I had no idea were there.”

For licensed clinical social worker Lauren Taus, therapies involving plants such as ayahuasca and psilocybin are simply strong tools rather than cure-alls for mental health challenges. However, with the ongoing pandemic compounding a mental health crisis that has long been felt across the United States, Taus is adamant that such potent tools must be decriminalized.

“The causes of trauma are multiplying way faster than the solutions,” Taus said. “Current treatment is generally not very effective.”

“Psychedelic medicine has been engaged with globally for eons,” she added. “This stuff works and we deserve to have access to solutions that will be sustainable.”

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Good News

Michael Jordan Gifts $10 Million to Open 2 More Health Clinics For Uninsured In His Hometown

Elias Marat

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NBA superstar and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan is making big philanthropic moves in his hometown community of Wilmington, North Carolina, by donating $10 million to help open a pair of new health clinics for uninsured, under-insured and generally poor members of the community.

The announcement came Monday morning and was made by nonprofit healthcare group Novant Health Clinics, whom Jordan has been working with to help bring much-needed access to primary and preventive care to low-income residents.

“I am very proud to once again partner with Novant Health to expand the Family Clinic model to bring better access to critical medical services in my hometown,” said Michael Jordan in a press release. “Everyone should have access to quality health care, no matter where they live, or whether or not they have insurance. Wilmington holds a special place in my heart and it’s truly gratifying to be able to give back to the community that supported me throughout my life.”

The latest move brings the number of new clinics Jordan has helped build in the Tar Hell State to four. In 2019, the 57-year-old former shooting guard unveiled the Michael Jordan Family Clinic in Charlotte, bringing much-needed access to primary and preventive care to low-income residents. Jordan himself contributed $7 million to the opening of the clinic at the time, which was also being operated by Novant Health.

During the October 2019 opening, the six-time NBA champion tearfully explained that “it’s a very emotional thing for me to be able to give back to a community that’s supported me over the years.”

One year later, Jordan opened the second clinic and expressed his family’s “great pride to know that we are making a difference in Charlotte.”

“We’ve been dealt with some very difficult cards in 2020,” he said at the time. “I hope 2021 is going to be much better.”

The Charlotte clinics have already seen over 4,500 patients while also providing crucial support during the ongoing pandemic.

“The regional health care system and Jordan previously partnered to open two Michael Jordan Family Clinics in Charlotte, N.C., bringing comprehensive primary care, including behavioral health and social support services, to the area’s most vulnerable communities,” the company said. “Jordan’s gift will help Novant Health bring this same integrated care model to more rural and rural-adjacent communities in his hometown, offering much-needed services to those who are uninsured or underinsured. The two new clinics are slated to open in early 2022.”

So far, the two Michael Jordan Family Clinics in Charlotte have administered almost 1,000 vaccines for the disease with plans to ramp up services in coming weeks.

“This pandemic has exacerbated health equity gaps across our state, making our efforts to close them even more emergent,” said Novant president and CEO Carl Armato. “We look forward to standing these clinics up as quickly as possible to ensure all members of the community have access to necessary medical care.”

Monday’s announcement came just one day after Sunday’s historic Daytona 500, which saw the Bulls legend and owner of the Charlotte Hornets make history as the first black principal owner in NASCAR in a half century as driver Bubba Wallace – the only Black full-time driver in the circuit – led by a lap before finishing 17th.

The Brooklyn-born Jordan, who grew up in North Carolina and was an avid fan of NASCAR, is worth $1.6 billion according to Forbes. During his time with the NBA, he earned $90 million as a player and $1.8 billion in endorsements, before taxes.

In recent years, the former pro basketball player has become a prominent philanthropist, donating to various causes including pledging $1 million to relief efforts in the Bahamas following September 2019’s Huricane Dorian. In September 2018, Jordan also donated $2 million to relief efforts in the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence devastated the region.

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Activism

Florida Man Uses Stimulus Check to Start Thriving Home Garden to Feed His Community

Elias Marat

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When millions of people across the United States received their federal stimulus checks to help them cope with the devastating economic repercussions of the novel coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown, most people spent their checks on basic necessities like food, rent, mortgage, utilities, and other basic necessities

However, one man from East Tampa, Florida, decided to use his funds to invest in a much more long-term project: building his own garden at home and using it to help provide food for himself. He’s now teaching his community about the massive benefits of food independence.

Michael Chaney, who goes by the nickname “Spirit Mike,” has long been interested in gardening. It wasn’t until the pandemic struck and local supermarkets were struck by the crisis that he was able to muster the self-motivation and time to fully pursue what began as a hobby and now has turned into his passion.

When he received his first stimulus check, he immediately used the funds to purchase some pots and start growing his first tomato plant. He also spoke to seasoned gardeners at the nearby A Land of Delight Natural Farm to pick up some materials and advice that would enable him to begin growing his own food, he told local radio station WMNF.

Now, Chaney is growing not only tomatoes but also collard greens, ghost peppers, mustard greens, strawberry guava, eggplants, onions, papaya, cashew apples, sugar cane, lemon, yucca, and lettuce, among other plants on his .3 acres of land.

“I do biointensive gardening, which means planting as much as you can in a small space,” Chaney told Atlanta Black Star. “I specifically picked these types of fruits [dwarf plants] because they grow fruit fast.”

Chaney derives the most pride from his moringa trees, which he values for its high viamin C content and celebrated medicinal properties as well as its antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant qualities.

“That is the Michael Jordan and the Kobe Bryant together,” Chaney told WMNF with pride.

“If you were stranded somewhere and all you have his this and water you would not only survive, you would thrive,” Chaney added. “I don’t work out. All I did was add this to my diet and add flax seed fiber and I lost 65 lbs.”

Chaney also has nine chickens that he purchased for only $3 per chick.

“My aim is to make my food cost zero,” he explained. “So, my food scraps go into the soldier fly larvae bin, they eat that and produce more larvae. Those larvae get fed to the chickens. The chicken produces eggs, I sell the eggs and eat the eggs; life is good.”

Chaney made sure to meticulously plan his garden so that actually managing it and ensuring its success would be much easier.

“It’s very important that you plan your garden. Do your research before you put a dollar down because you want your dollar to go as far as it can,” Chaney said.

He is now upholding the garden – which he has named New World Growers – as an example of community self-determination and food independence at a time when food insecurity is sharply on the rise.

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