Cancer is metaphorically our generation’s new “four letter word.”
No one wants to even discuss it, let alone be told they have it. Yet, as a society, we seem to focus on it all day long.
Conventional doctors and natural health practitioners alike tell us that almost everything we do, eat and think about raises our risk of developing cancer. The media focuses on cancer daily, and the statistics rise accordingly.
While the natural health industry tries to raise awareness about alternative treatments, the medical community uses fear to promote the drug companies’ agendas.
Tommy Chong’s Cancer
When all the hype and fear surrounding cancer is taken out of the picture, the reality is that like any disease, cancer is simply an indication that your body is not running properly and that you need to make changes. In the case of cancer, those changes need to be made immediately. And this is exactly what Tommy Chong, best known for his Grammy-Award winning role as “Chong” in the infamous “Cheech and Chong” movies did.
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The Canadian actor and “pot god” as his fans often refer to him, decided he would rather put his faith in nature than the invasive medical system.
When he was diagnosed in June 2012 with stage one prostate cancer, Chong realized his lifestyle needed to change drastically if he was going to take on cancer and win. He remained calm, however, and ignored the medical community’s usual scare tactics, instead turning to naturopathic medicine.
More On Prostate Cancer
Battling cancer, whether using traditional methods or naturally is always a scary proposition. In the US, statistics show that 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. This type of cancer is slow growing and typically develops in older men—the average age of men with prostate cancer is 66 (1).
It is the most common type of cancer in men over 65, with 238,590 new cases diagnosed in 2013 alone, 29,720 of which resulted in death. While this type of cancer can be serious, most men will survive.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 2.9 million men in the US who have survived the disease. These are pretty good odds compared to other cancers and even some more serious diseases. So, when Chong decided to go the natural route, the odds were already on his side.
Chong’s Natural Cancer Treatment
Chong knew that in order to beat his cancer, he would have to make some pretty specific changes to his lifestyle, including diet and exercise.
A long time cannabis smoker, it should come as no surprise that it would remain a key component of his treatment protocol. Especially considering the numerous science-backed studies that tout the healing role it plays in a variety of cancers.
Previous studies have shown that the prostate tissue possesses “cannabinoid receptors” and when these are stimulated they have an anti-androgenic effect (2). This is important because prostate cancer cells need androgens (male sex hormones) to grow. One cancer protocol known as Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) actually relies on this fact, depriving prostate cells of androgen, thus inhibiting their development.
In conventional medicine, there are typical two ways to achieve this goal:
1) Surgical removal of one or both of the testicles (orchiectomy), which would prevent further testosterone production. While this treatment is extreme, it does reduce the level of testosterone by 90-95 percent. This procedure is also irreversible, however, so it is rarely used.
2) Medications are the typical treatment of choice if a man chooses to explore ADT (3).
What the medical community rarely states is that cannabis can also help to reduce testosterone in males suffering from prostate cancer.
What Studies Are Saying
In fact, a 2015 study published in Oncology Reports revealed that stimulation of cannabinoid receptors helped to stimulate apoptosis (cell death) in prostate cancer cells (4). Researchers stated, “… endocannabinoids [components of cannabis] may also be involved in controlling the growth and transformation of tumor cells.” They added, “…we conclude that endocannabinoids are capable of halting the growth of prostate cancer cells through activation of apoptotic mechanisms.”
Many of the studies on cannabis suggest the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the plant is responsible for its multitude of healing properties, but a 2013 study also showed that cannabidiol (CBD) also has powerful anti-cancer agents. This is important because researchers also determined that some cancerous cells are actually more sensitive to CBD-induced apoptosis, yet another reason that cannabis should be recognized as a viable treatment for cancer (5).
Looking at the numerous studies that show cannabis can actually cure cancer in many cases, Chong and his naturopath decided to implement a treatment plan that included the controversial plant that to this date neither the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) nor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) accepts as a treatment of any cancer-related disease.
Chong’s naturopath also included several supplements including hemp oil to coincide with his daily cannabis intake and by May 2013, Chong proclaimed he was “cancer-free thanks to a disciplined diet … and the use of hemp (hash) oil.” Chong also included treatments focused on healing the emotional and mental aspects associated with cancer, a component traditional medicine often overlooks.
Cancer, and any disease for that matter, has an emotional component. Studies clearly show that our emotions and our general outlook on life can raise or lower our risk of developing disease, including cancer (6).
And possibly, this was also a factor in Chong’s remission, although he suggests cannabis was key in his recovery as he claims on Twitter. “So the magic plant does cure cancer with the right diet and supplements.”
Cancer Comes Back
While Chong successfully cured his prostate cancer in 2013, by 2015 he was diagnosed with stage one colorectal cancer. Chong, now 77, decided to take a more aggressive approach, opting for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation… and not surprisingly, marijuana.
As of April 2016, Chong claims he is doing well. “I have another month, and one more treatment, and I’ll be totally cancer free.” (7)
Chong continues to fight for the legalization of cannabis as he believes it has incredible possibilities for healing.