Cannabis v.s Cancer

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An emotional and inspiring look at the people who use and advocate for Cannabis cancer treatment.

(soft piano music) - I never thought I'd be here

I didn't have any desire to be some pot healer guy

That wasn't what I was trying to do

I've done a lot of things in my life, and this feels the best

(solemn piano music) My name's Pete Sais

I've been helping people for about 10 years

At 28, I got clean in Narcotics Anonymous, and I cut out all drugs, every single mind- or mood-altering substance, for about 15 years, and then I found out about cannabis, and I started helping people

When I got to my fourth remission, I started using cannabis again myself

- And my name is Doctor Sherry Yafai, I am an ER doctor, who has segued into cannabis work

I work with patients with cannabis, only, in the office at the Relief Institute here in Santa Monica, California

When I work with patients with cannabis, I try to minimize other medications, especially if medications are creating problems, side effects, unwanted, depression, anxiety, et cetera

So what we do here in the office is focus primarily on using different parts of the plant in different formats, and different modes of administration, to get exactly what we want for patients

- My name is Ali Becher

I am 36 years old, and I have been through cancer probably four times

- My name is Monica Gray, and I'm a breast cancer survivor

- Cancer used to be one in 50 people would get cancer

And then they outlawed cannabis, and now we're one in three people getting cancer

- So I've started all of this about three or four years ago, when two very close family members were diagnosed with cancer

Both of them were recommended by their physicians to start using cannabis products

Both their oncologists say, you should probably smoke pot, and it'll help

And that was the end of the conversation

And so when I went in and discussed of of this with the oncologist, the same question kept coming up

Well, what are they supposed to do? How are they supposed to do it? How often are they supposed to use it? What is it good for, what is it not good for? What should we look out for? We don't want her to be high all day because she's got little kids around

How do we do this better? And both of them did the same thing, they shrugged their shoulders and they said, I don't know

We usually tell people to just Google and figure it out for themselves

- Every single person I've helped, I know would not be here right now, if it wasn't for me helping them

- It became a big struggle, a struggle on the end of how to take it and when to take it, how much to take, and what ended up happening, which we know happens for a lot of individuals is we went into a quote-unquote pot shop, talked to a bud tender, who sometimes gave us good advice and sometimes didn't give us good advice

And that was where I thought, if something's so good, is being touted by so many people as being helpful, especially in terms of cancer control, or cancer symptomatic treatment control, then why is it that we're not able to do this better? And why is it that the physician group, the medical-clinical world, is turning their backs on these patients? And that was what prompted me to make a change in my personal career, and my path in understanding all of this

- This is my little guy, Jessie, and he's a rescue dog, very affectionate

He just likes being with me

- I know a lot of people, and I made it to where if I know you, and someone you love is sick, I'll help them, or if you're sick I'll help you

And it's worked, I've never had to tell anyone no

I'm either here to heal you, or ease you out, not the easiest thing

- I am a community advocate in Ventura County, and I advocate for patients' rights

I thought that I had access to the best medicine there was

I found that I didn't really know enough to save myself

You never really know what you'll do when you're given a cancer diagnosis until it actually happens to you

- It started when I was in college

I noticed that I had like a tiny white bump on my face

I was 18 years old, and they told me that it was nothing, like a cyst, it would go away

- I was diagnosed at stage three

I had really really large breasts, so my doctor kept telling me that I just had cystic, or fibrous tissue

I just had big lumpy boobs, and she told me I was fine

- Then three years later, I transferred to a four-year university, and the bump was still there and I felt like it was getting bigger

So, I went to a new doctor, and they said they didn't think it was anything but they would biopsy it, just to see what it was

So he called me a few weeks later, and said that it was a rare form of melanoma, and that I had to have surgery to remove it

I had the surgery, it left a pretty big scar, and then they said I had to do radiation because they weren't sure of they got all of it

I was young and dumb, and I didn't know, I didn't know any better, I just knew that the doctor was telling me I needed that

So, I did it, and then they kind of assured me, and they said that the cancer won't come back

This is it, we took care of it

And I said, okay great

So I went on with my life, and graduated college, and 10 years later, I noticed I had kind of a mass growing in my jaw

So I went to the doctor, and again they said, "well, it's not your cancer coming back

"I would be able to tell, "it's definitely not your cancer, "you're just being paranoid

" They gave me antibiotics, and like two weeks later the antibiotics didn't do anything

The mass was painful

So I called the doctor and I said, you need to order an actual scan because there's something going on and I think it's cancer

He ordered a scan

The scan confirmed there was a large mass

And then they said, we need to do a biopsy

So they did a biopsy, and then they called me and said that the cancer had come back and it was stage four

- By this time the biggest lump was the size of a walnut, and I had three of 'em total

They were getting big, fast

After all that stress that my body had just been through, it was finally like, okay

Before they were like the size of like a pea, and she says, they're just cystic little lumps, it's fine

By this time, she was like, okay, so she finally got me my test authorized, and it was actually the test that the hospital, the individuals that were running the tests themselves, when I told them how long I'd been begging, how long I'd had to wait, and also the fact that I had three kids at home

I asked them, if you feel like I need to be advanced to the next round, or the next test sooner, please help me, and they did

- And that's when everything kind of went downhill

They said it was like really advanced, and they were gonna have to like take off half of my face to get it under control

I just had my last surgery to fix it, so you can kind of see

Six months ago, this didn't exist

This piece of skin right here is actually from my thigh

So they had to take a whole bunch of stuff off

But when they did the first surgery to take out the jaw mass, they told me that they were gonna have to take the nerves and the skin and basically everything, so I would be like a walking skeleton

I wouldn't have anything left in my face

And I said, can you guarantee that it won't come back if you do that, and he told me, no

So I said, I want you to do the, I want you to save all the nerves that you can, just save everything that you can

So he did

He said, "I'm gonna do what you want

" So it was a 12-hour operation, and as you can see, I don't have any nerves going to my bottom lip, and I don't have a nerve going to my eyelid, so I have an implant in my eye to help me blink

That was the surgery, it was really really rough

And then they said, okay now you have to do chemo

And I said okay, so I did chemo for a year

A couple of months before I stopped the chemo, I noticed that I had a cough, and I'm a respiratory therapist, and my cough was productive, and wet, and I just felt like something was wrong, so I told my oncologist

I said I think something's wrong, he's like, "you're fine

" So I finished the chemo, and then two months later, he said okay, we're gonna do a chest X-ray

They did a chest X-ray, it had metastasized to the lungs

- I had a tumor in my kidney in 2012, so I went and had a scan, and they found a tumor

They took out my kidney, and they thought they had gotten it all

But the cancer had metastasized to my chest

The nodules were so small, that they gave me a pill form of chemotherapy

It was the mildest form

- That's their go-to, federally, they can't just hand everybody cannabis oil

That's what they say

For everyone, it's almost like a one-size-fits-all

They want you to do chemo, they want you to do radiation, and if you want surgery, we'll do that too

- I got deathly sick on it

So over a matter of about a year, I went from 186 pounds down to 110

Well instead of like on chemo, people lose their hair

My hair thinned out a little bit

But say like my tan right now, say I'm a seven

I probably went to a two

Or one

Anyway, my hair was white

And my sister had passed away, but when she was in the hospital, I went to her to visit her, and my nephews, we were passing each other, they didn't recognize me

People actually did not recognize me

- Chemo sucks

Every bite of food feels like sand

Water doesn't quench your thirst

Losing your hair sucks

- I was done

I was tired of it

- I used to talk to a lot of patients on the phone about their experience with cancer and chemo, and they would always tell me things like, it's not the cancer that's killing me, it's the chemo

Our drivers would come back with stories of people getting skinnier and skinnier, and sicker and sicker

It was really hard

You tend to absorb a lot of that kind of stuff when you really care about people

So when I was diagnosed it was pretty intense

- I was down making a delivery down in Otay Mesa, which is down by San Diego

A couple of months before that, when I urinated, I saw a little bit of blood, but I just kind of blew it off

When I went down that particular night, I went to the bathroom, it was solid blood

My wife and I, we were engaged at the time

She lived in Oregon

I called her up, and I said hey I'm urinating blood

So she looked it up, and we thought I was passing a stone

So anyway, one of my buddies I called up, and I says hey I need to go to the doctor, and goes, okay we'll go

And he took me to emergency

I told him what was going on, and they thought I was passing a stone

But one of them says, you know what? We're gonna do a CT scan, and they came right back out and just told me, you have a tumor

You know he was just like, that blunt

So I told my wife

She says well, we were planning on getting married

As a matter of fact, yesterday was our anniversary

We were planning on getting married later on in the month

She goes, "I'm coming down now

" So she came down and then, the day we were supposed to get married I had my kidney taken out

So she was there for me you know, she was God-sent, just like Pete

- The doctor at that time said, "we need to put you on this treatment to take care of it, "because this isn't good, which I already knew

" I told him I wanted another opinion, that I wanted somebody else to tell me that that's what was happening

So I wanted him to give me his doctor notes for the visit

So he gave me the notes and I picked 'em up, was reading 'em in the car, and the note basically said, "this patient is dying

"I've scheduled her for palliative chemo, "and there's no hope for her

" (somber piano music) I started screaming, this guy sucks

So I thought, I'm going somewhere else, and we're getting another opinion, so I went to a new doctor and he said, "we can treat this, you are very sick, "but we can treat this

" The other doctor, the reason he didn't want to give me the treatment that the new doctor gave me, because he said it was too aggressive

And I said, I'm 30 years old and I'm dying, like I don't care

Like, give me something

So I did that treatment

It made me very, very sick

I'm already pretty thin, I lost like 20 pounds in two weeks, and I couldn't keep anything down

- I only did three treatments of chemo, and it was under extreme duress that I did it

I was actually threatened with action by DCFS

They threatened to take my kids, if I didn't submit to a toxic treatment, because they said that my kids would likely suffer more, watching me get sicker and sicker, and if I was denying treatment for myself then that would denote some kind of like mental deficiency, and unless you have ever been forced to do it, with the knowledge that it also can cause secondary cancers years after, they don't tell you that

You get advice from well-meaning people in all corners of your life, also shaming you and coercing you and being like you really should for your kids

You really should? You see how it feels

They make you take shots of stuff that's supposed to boost your immune system, called Neulasta, that will make you sick almost immediately after

It's literally like everything that they demand that you do, will make you sicker

And it feels, it feels like you're living in a nightmare

- They said, "if we keep giving you this treatment, "you're gonna die from the treatment

" So they said, "we're gonna go ahead and stop it

" And I said, okay, great

And then, I didn't do treatment for probably four or five months, and then all the tumors were stable, they weren't getting better, but they were just stable, and then they started getting bigger

So they said you need to do a clinical trial

You've already failed three treatments, well four treatments

We're gonna put you on this clinical trial

And I said, all right

There's got to be like something else, I'm feeling all these like super-advanced kinds of medicine, they had all just come out and they were saying all these great things about 'em, but none of them were working for me

And that's when I contacted Pete

- My wife had been researching RSO oil

So she says I want you to try this, and I talked to a couple of friends, and they were talking about gimp oil, cannabis oil

We didn't know where to get it, so I just happened to have a nephew that knew Pete

- I've been giving people my version of a blend of RSO or FECO is, it's the holy anointing oil

- This is a tough one

There are huge believers and advocates, and the problem becomes, at what point is any medication toxic? We don't have a toxic, or a lethal dose right now, in terms of THC or CBD, but at some point we have to stop and say, if a chemo treatment was making you nauseous and vomiting and sleeping all day, and giving you poor quality of life, you would call that chemo treatment terrible

Why is it that we don't have the same feeling about Rick Simpson Oil? It is a hugely concentrated, very expensive medication, that may be helpful for some

I can't tell you

I can't stand behind something that makes my patients feel so unwell, when the whole goal of treatment is to give them less nausea, less vomiting, better interactions with their family and friends, more time being awake, and less time sleeping

If we can give them that without having the negative side effects, by all means, I'm looking forward to finding the quote-unquote curative treatment for cancer, but until we get there, and until we do this matching up with cancer and cannabis treatment, then I have a really hard time getting behind it

- A gram of cannabis a day, a gram of cannabis oil that all the fats and stuff's been removed, so it's like pretty pure oil

It's really strong

Especially some people are really sensitive

If you didn't use cannabis for years, most likely what happened is when you were in high school, you smoked weed and had a bad reaction, and said oh I don't like that stuff

It's not for me

And then later, when I tell you you have to get over this hump, man sometimes it's hard for people to get over that hump

It's not the easiest thing because, like I say it makes you hallucinate

It's really, really strong, it's not an easy task but once you get past it, there's this hump you get past, then it's okay, but you gotta get over the hump, man, it's hard

When I first started taking the oil it was for my blood pressure, and my blood sugar

I was trying to get off of the 15 pills from big pharma I was taking a day

And so I worked with my doctor to slowly take away those medicines, while I upped the does of cannabis, and that doctor's now retired but, I'm eternally grateful for him working with me, because doctors at that time weren't doing that

- So when I talk to my colleagues, my other fellow physicians, about cannabis, I get a lot of this

I don't know

I get a lot of, well I can't talk about that because it's illegal

I get a lot of, I can't attend that conference because they're talking about cannabis, and that would create a problem for my practice

All of these fears that have been instilled in us as a medical community, I am working diligently on proving wrong

Healthcare providers in general right now are not doing a very good job of discussing it, and part of the reason for that is that we've been told this myth, that we're not allowed to

And the first thing that comes out of my mouth, when somebody says, I can't talk about that is, "do you talk about heroin with your patients?" And guess what, a lot of physicians talk about heroin with their patients, you know why? Because the medical board requires us to talk about heroin with our patients, because we're at an all-time opiate epidemic, where patients are dying

So not only can we not not talk about heroin, we are mandated to talk about heroin, and that we're mandated to prescribe antidotes to heroin, and regular opiates as well, depending on how many pills a patient is taking

But that comes from the top down

And what happens right now is that the top down is still not talking about it, because it's still federally illegal, because things are not changing at the same pace as the patients are, so patients are changing rapidly, and we're seeing rapid movement in what they're using, but we're not going through medical education routes, because they didn't want us to talk about this

So, it becomes a real challenge

When are we are we going to be encouraged to talk about this with our patients? When is this gonna be required? When is this gonna be taught in medical school? In residency, and internship, and fellowship? When is it gonna be part of the discussion? When is it going to come to the table besides under the guise or the fakeness of recreational use? When will we start talking about the medical indications? And that's been on the shoulders of the patients for a long time

- My sister knew Pete, and she was like, "go see this guy

"He'll tell you what you need to know

" And I was like, all right I'll go see him

So I went to San Francisco and met him

He was like the most warm individual

When I came through the door, he's like, I'm a hugger, give me a hug

I said okay

And we sat down and he basically told me what, I told him my story up until that point, and he just said, "okay, this is what we're gonna do

" And he sent me on the way with the oil, and it was really tough

I have never done any kind of drugs in my life, and I remember, I was living with my mom at the time, and I was taking like a drop a day

And I would call her from my bedroom, and be like, you have to come check on me, something's wrong

And she'd come up, she said, "no, you're just stoned

" I said, okay, okay, I'm fine

I'm just stoned

So eventually I got up to what he recommended, and then I was dumb and I thought that once you got up that amount, you didn't have to take the CBD anymore

And it was working, like my tumors weren't getting bigger, some of them were shrinking

- With cannabis, I make the holy anointing oil, like Skunk Pharm Research does

It has cinnamon leaf oil, cinnamon bark oil, myrrh gum oil, olive oil, and cannabis oil

Most people won't understand what I'm saying, when I say the holy anointing oil is from the Bible, it's from Exodus 30

In the Bible it talks about how they had to make with kaneh-bosem, cinnamon

Back then the perfumers would have used the whole tree, so in our recipe, we use cinnamon bark and cinnamon leaf oil, so you get both

The myrrh gum oil, and the olive oil

And so they used to give it to the priests

They used to give it to the priests and they would anoint people, and it would heal them back then

And so that's where our recipe comes from, and the craziest thing is every single person I've given it to has gotten better

Every single one gets better, even if they don't make it, they're still better than they were before

I learned how to do all that from Skunk Pharm Research

That recipe that I use, is from them

They were talking about how it cured cancer, and it was on the IC Mag, it was on a bunch of the bulletin boards back then

- One of my favorite topics

So, cannabis and cancer

It is crazy how much is on WebMD, Google

Everybody these days gets a diagnosis of cancer and immediately the next thing that they're gonna do is go online and Google it, and try and figure out what is going on and what they need to do, and what sorts of treatment

And there is so much that is being talked about, in terms of cannabis treatment, with cancer

I like to take a very different perspective on this

And one of my perspectives is, is first of all, we know for a fact that this is going to be helpful for nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy

We know it's gonna be helpful for pain

We know it's gonna be helpful for anxiety and depression

Those are three things that very commonly affect people with cancer, as they go through treatment

Now there was a recent article by Doctor Abrams out of UC San Francisco, I believe, who stated almost exactly the same thing

Instead of treating patients with three different types of pills, to treat each one of those things, we can treat them with just one thing, and that's cannabis products

And wouldn't that be a nice way to just ease off for patients, instead of adding to their pill load? Because there is a pill load

People come in and they say, well which one of my 50 pills do you want to know about? And I want to know about all of them

But what I want to do is actually simplify that regimen, because every time you take a pill, I promise you, people feel depressed, and I promise you people feel like they're broken, like they're not whole, like they're going through something, and they're struggling with something nobody else understands

And so if you can help simplify that regimen, in of itself, you're doing somebody a great benefit

- I didn't believe it

I didn't believe it at first

I thought the stoners were just trying to keep their weed, and then I met my first patient that cured their cancer with cannabis

And once I looked someone in the eye that actually did it, and they told me their story, and I believed 'em, I knew that I was kind of in a unique position to help people

I knew that I could get the things required to make it

I had family that had grown pot for years, and threw away the part that we would use to make the oil, which, we call it trim

They trim the buds to make the pretty flowers that they put in the bags that they sell to the stoners

Well all the trimmings are what we use to make the oil

It's still good, it's still good medicine, just they trim it off the flowers so I could get it free at the time

Once I found out that it worked, then I wanted to try

So then I made some, and started looking around for a cancer patient

And the Skunk Farm way was to give give medicine free

Medicine shouldn't be charged for

The first class I went to, there I met my first cancer patient that had taken the oil, and gotten all the way to remission, and she had a horrible story about how she got there

I bought a machine that day, and made the commitment that half of everything that would go through my machine, I'd give away free

I've given away more than half that's come through that machine, but that was the original intent was at least half give away free

The problem is, most cancer patients don't have money

Most real patients don't have money

If I have eight patients that don't have money, and two that do, that's enough

I'm not worried about the money

When I first started I had family that had grown for years, and they threw away their trim

They didn't use it

No one was really using it then

No one cared about trim

So when I first started I went, and I got like 50, a hundred pounds free, and I would just turn it into oil, and I'd have all the oil, any time anyone needed it, I'd just give it away, whether they had money or not

And it just worked out, I never had to tell anyone no

(soft jazz music) - He gave me this oil, and he wanted me to get down to 12 drops a day

At first, I took one, there was no big deal

Two, it was okay

And then when I started taking more, I started getting super high

Like he said, I called him up, and I was like, I was only taking like two drops, and I was supposed to take two more

Wow, I can't get any higher than what I'm getting

It got to the point, my wife couldn't even go to the bathroom, because I didn't want to be left alone

You know, just so paranoid

It depends on your personality, how it reacts

Some people relax, some people get nervous

I get nervous

- Pete saved my life, because, like I said, I thought I had access to really great medicine, and a good consistent supply of it, and I didn't

- Give me a little bit of the same leeway, as we give to physicians prescribing narcotics

We don't have the same leeway right now

If I write this recommendation, I'm coming under strict, super-strict, rules and regulations, even more strict than my colleagues, and even myself when I was only in the emergency department

- I had gone to the doctor, and at first this Votrient that I was taking, kind of worked a little bit, and then it quit

And it was kind of useless, I couldn't keep nothing down, nothing tasted good

It was terrible

I quit taking it

And I told him, I'm not gonna take it any more

And he says, "well what do you need me for?" And I said, well just to monitor to see where I'm at

But I didn't tell him that I was starting to take the CBD oil

And then so after a couple of CT scans, I started getting better

And he finally says, "are you self-medicating?" And we started laughing, I said, yeah

And we told him what we were doing, he goes, "oh sometimes it just, people just reverse

" But that wasn't the case

- I see so much going on in the hemp/CBD world right now, in the US, because of the recent Farm Bill Act, and now it's kind of been this huge upsurge with CBD and cancer

And what I like to remind people, it's one part, or one chemical part of the whole plant, and up until very recently, we weren't even paying any attention to it

Because most of anything you thought of as cannabis, prior to 2010 really, was THC

It was just a matter of how much THC we're getting

And it's really been in the last decade that we're now starting to see this new surge in data, this new surge in interest, in something different, and mostly because it's not intoxicating

The problem becomes that just because it's not intoxicating, doesn't mean it's the right fit for everyone

So I do gently remind everybody that CBD is a great medication, in and of itself for the right purpose

But it is not a one-size-fits-all answer

CBD and cancer can be very helpful in terms of pain management, in terms of anxiety management, and we try to basically maximize where we can get benefit from this

So depending on what somebody's going through with cancer, the problem becomes when we stigmatize THC, because we think CBD is the answer

And that's something really important to avoid doing

THC is not evil, it shouldn't be stigmatized against

When used appropriately it has profound results and profound usages

And again, as we delve deeper into this, into this book of cannabis, we start seeing THC-A, and CBD-A, as being other potentials, as well as things like CBG, and CBN, and hopefully soon one day, CBDV

As we continue to grow and expand this field, I think we're gonna see a lot of benefits from things that we didn't know even existed, until recently

- The lung tumors were growing, so the doctor said, "we need to take this one, "a specific tumor, out, "because it's causing a lot of trouble

" So it was a really large tumor in my left lung, so they took out the left lower lobe, but I still had tumors, in the left and in the right, and in my neck

But at that time they said, we don't have any other options for you

I figured with Pete, I didn't have anything to lose

I was either gonna die, or I was gonna do everything Pete said to do

- I would say this

If you have cancer, and it's not brain cancer, or estrogen-positive breast cancer, get a thousand milligrams of THC in your body a day, for at least 90 days straight

I would say if you have estrogen-based cancer, or breast cancer, or brain cancer, get a two to one ratio CBD to THC, and take a thousand milligrams a day for at least 90 days

In both cases, remove all sugar from your diet

Eat food with nutritional value

If it's not working get rid of the meat, and just eat veggies

And try to think positively too

I believe that helps

- And then that's when I kind of got really serious with the diet and everything

I cut out like all sugar, I had a list of like every food, and like every gram of sugar that would be in that food

I wouldn't eat fruit, I cut out bread, pasta, soda, I only would drink water

So I had the lung surgery, and then three months later, with just doing what Pete told me to do, all the tumors were gone

There wasn't any evidence of tumors left

- I started putting on weight, and I gained 25 pounds in two weeks

And the doctor went crazy

My regular doctor

So anyway, in a matter of about I don't know, six months, I was back to my weight, or 160-170 pounds, then just recently at like 205, so I kind of cooled it

But instead of going to the doctor every month, or every week, I go every six months now

He just says, that I was a walking miracle

- For some reason, when I used their recipe of holy anointing oil, magic happens faster than with regular FECO

Since it's proved itself, I stick with what works

- I asked the doctor, I'm like, well what do you think about this? He said, oh it's probably the treatment coming back around and working

I'm like, no it's really not, 'cause I failed the treatment, tumors were growing on the treatment

It doesn't just flip a switch

(upbeat jazz music) - I was eight

I was with a friend, and we were in a tree house down the street, Tony Garish had some weed

I didn't know what it was

I was eight

I just took a couple of puffs, and then I don't even remember what happened, but I liked it

I smoked weed ever since then, until I stopped, like I never imagined there would be a time in my life where I didn't smoke weed

When I got clean, I still didn't have anything against weed, I just, when I'm staying clean I didn't want anything

I wanted to just try nothing

I was really scared to try cannabis again when I tried it, because I was scared I'd wake up the monster

Fortunately, I did but it went the positive way

I woke up the monster and became obsessed on helping people with it, rather than waking up the monster and becoming a crack head with it, right? - Pretty sure I was smoking weed in a schoolyard, out of an apple

The old apple pipe with a couple of friends

And I remember feeling like oh shit, my grandma's totally gonna know I'm high

And I was about 13

- You know, you know what, I remember smoking weed when I was a kid

I said, you know what, this might not be so bad

But then the dosage you had to take

Then it got bad

Like I never hallucinated or anything like that, but boy I'll tell you

I would take it before I went to bed, and then, I'd fall asleep

But I would got so high, that it would wake me up

And I worried about things I did in the third grade

- When I used cannabis the first time in 15 years, it was 100% medical

It was not recreational at all

It was only after about nine months of using cannabis that I started enjoying it like that

I don't want to say 'non-medical', I believe that all cannabis use is medical

But sometimes that medical benefit is just relaxing me

(soft piano music) I lot of the people I helped, they're not cannabis people at all

A lot of the people I help are either people in recovery, people in recovery's parents, people in recovery's family members, and people come to me because they know that I can address their concerns with using cannabis

They know that they can trust me to tell the truth, even if it's not what they want to here

I'm blessed with the ability to connect with people

Like I don't know how, but like I'm lucky

When I meet someone and they're sick, and I talk to 'em, nine out of 10 times I feel like they hear me

And if they hear me, then we got a chance

I have a four-part plan really, and it's not that hard

It's only one part cannabis

And if you change a few things in your life, you got a chance

- The plan Pete had for me was, like he said, the four-part plan

I cut out the sugar, soda, I was an avid soda drinker, so that was really rough giving soda up, but I followed the diet to a T

I did, the first part of it, I did 12 drops of the oil a day, and then when the tumors came back, I called him, I said, what'll I do? I need something, and he's like okay, "we're gonna increase you to 18

" So I was doing 18 drops a day

After a while you get used to it, but it takes, especially for someone who's never done it before, it takes a long time

And the diet, did like vegan, for the first four months I was vegan, and then I did vegetarian for probably about a year, and then I slowly started adding like organic meats, and organic vegetables, and all that back in

- Some people can't take the oil, it's just too much, right? They get too anxious, they do all these things, and sometimes in order for me, if I have a patient like that, and they're open to it, sometimes I suggest suppositories, because with the suppository, you could do twice a day, do a half a gram in a suppository

Other than that, I don't think dabbing is gonna cure cancer

I don't think smoking flower is gonna cure cancer

I think ingesting oil is probably one of two ways to cure cancer with cannabis

I want someone to take at least a thousand milligrams a day, for 90 days, at least

Now, I have some patients that have used higher doses of a tincture that I've made with CBD, and THC-A, which will get them to where they don't have the anxiousness

It's a little lighter load

But I'm a proponent of the high dose, I definitely believe in the high dose

At least a thousand milligrams a day for cancer

(somber piano music) If it's brain cancer, or certain types of estrogen-based breast cancer, it's been shown that a two-to-one ratio, higher CBD, to THC, is the answer

But in my experience, every other cancer, is better the exact opposite of that

Like more THC and some CBD

I've learned that through helping people along the way

Sugar is cancer food

You gotta get rid of sugar

Sugar, if you don't get rid of it, it's gonna feed your cancer

So that's the first thing you've gotta get rid of, is get rid of sugar

I say carbs

I say get rid of the carbs, for at least three to six months

You can still have a little

I have patients that'll still cheat, and still mess around and do a little but, it's hard to be perfect, especially if you think you're dying

You're like, why should I eat like crap like I hate, if I'm dying anyways, shouldn't I just eat what I want? But then, if you eat right, you've got a better chance

Alkalinity, you have to be cognizant of your alkalinity

I usually tell people to buy the alkaline diet cookbook, and read it from front to back, and what that'll do is it'll explain what foods metabolize more alkaline

100% of cancer patients, they're too acidic

So alkalinity will help

There's some people that are anti-that, right? But I still direct people towards it

If you eat alkaline, you're basically eating veggies anyways, so that's what I'd rather them eat

The next step is 100% of cancer patients are nutrient-deficient

So I always tell 'em to get a juicer

And if you just juice once a day at least, a good healthy green juice, you're gonna be better off nutrient wise than if you don't

So it's only gonna help

In some cases, I tell 'em, when you can't get anything, you should go all the way vegan

Almost every time, food is the cause of most peoples' problems

I kind of believe that eating foods without nutritional value for a long period of time, cancer will develop in anyone

The way to fix that is to eat foods with nutritional value, and get your system running again

- So I was raised by my maternal grandma

We call her Grambo Ronnie

She was like five foot two, real poofy hair

Just picture her like perfectly coordinated, like impeccable outfits, but like a little old lady that could chuck a log across the yard

Like that was Grambo

Grambo raised a bunch of kids that turned to hard drugs, and Grambo always considered weed the gateway that took them down that path, so Grambo would find my weed, find my bong, find my pipes, dump it in the trash, break the pipes, leave it out like on the table for me so I'd see it, break my heart

My grandma got diagnosed with terminal lung cancer

As a female non-smoker it was caught late and it spread fast

They told her that she had six weeks to live, and she managed to last for six months

And in that time I became her caretaker

I learned how to like apply for all these programs and get her medication, and she tried Marinol, which was the synthetic-THC only form of medicine that was available to cancer patients

Back then this was like in 2004? And my grandma was a Jehovah's Witness, so she was a real religious lady, and didn't like people who liked getting high

She thought it was bad

And she always took my weed and did bad things with it, so when I suggested that she take the Marinol, she was scared, but because her doctor told her that it might help her with stuff, she did

And she didn't like it

So I ended up making her some weed butter, and I made her some buttery noodles and that was the first meal that I watched her eat that was a whole meal, in six months

And she was able to sleep shortly after that, peacefully, and the whole bowl of noodles was gone, so that was a win in my book

I didn't tell my aunt though

I was afraid that my Aunt Lynn was gonna find out, because that would have been like more family drama

But the next morning my grandma woke up, and she was like crying, and I was like, what's going on? Are you hurt, in pain? And she's like, no

She's like, I'm sorry I threw away your weed

But she used to call it pot

She used to call it all the old-lady words for weed

But in the end, I realized that if I could my grandma to accept cannabis as medicine, then there's a way to convert even the most staunch prohibitionist

Like it's really like, it's worth it to try

Even if you just leave like little information here, a little article there, give grandma the green

They'll like it

- THC is the secret for most cancer, it's not CBD

My job, when I'm helping someone, is to get their CB1 and their CB2 receptors firing at maximum

And if you don't know what that is, everything with a spine has an endocannabinoid system, and it's tied to your nervous system

And at the end of this system is receptors, and these CB1 and CB2 receptors are perfectly designed for cannabis, like they're made for it

- The endocannabinoid system is our body's response to both cannabis, the plant, as well as our endogenous, or the parts or the chemicals in our bodies that actually respond to and react to all the different things that are going on in our bodies

So, let me simplify

The endocannabinoid system works to accept outside plant material, as well as to react to our inside body's chemicals called the endocannabinoids, as opposed to the outside chemicals, which are the phytocannabinoids

What we think of with the endocannabinoid system, is more of a return back to normal, or a return back to baseline

And that's why we're seeing a lot of people not understanding all things cannabis because they say, well how does this energize me, but also make me more calm? How does this give me less anxiety, but also make me feel like I want to get up and move in the day

Because a lot of those things are very conflicting for patients

And what we find is the endocannabinoid system tends to re-regulate our brain back to the middle, so for patients who have anxiety, or they feel like their system is stressed out and up, I find that endocannabinoids, as well as phytocannabinoids, the part of the plant, bring patients back to the middle, or bring them back to a calm

For patients who are already naturally calm, and don't have anxiety, it can help with things like pain, where we don't again, make people sleepy, or make people tired, which is a very common side effect of other types of pharmaceutical medications

There was a really interesting article that came out in the past year

This woman went to the hospital, and had a surgery on her wrist, and the wrist surgery she had done is notoriously painful, it really, really hurts, especially the day after surgery, once the anesthesia wears off

She ended up leaving the hospital with zero narcotics, and this is unheard of in this particular type of surgery

So the doctors all scratched their heads, and said, there's something different, let's figure this out

They went through a battery of genetic testing, and what they found was, this woman was naturally missing the enzyme that breaks down her endocannabinoids

And this specific gene, that naturally breaks down her endocannabinoids, caused her to have a huge surge of endocannabinoids in her system

And what did that do? So what do these endocannabinoids do naturally in your system? One of those things was she had very little history of anxiety, just overall across her, I think she was 60 or 70 years old, across her lifetime had very little anxiety

She had very little pain overall

So she naturally had fallen, and gotten bruises or cuts or problems over the years, and none of those times did she need extra-strength or strong painkillers

She at no point needed narcotics

The other thing they did notice as well, was that her memory was not so great

So one of the things that we talk about in terms of, specifically with THC, is memory

We do see short-term memory loss in patients who use THC chronically, and sometimes even with patients who are using large amounts, but for short time periods, so what we think of as recreational usage

You do see memory changes in those patients

And likewise, we saw this in this woman who had her natural endocannabinoids, at a higher level, which was pretty remarkable

- When you keep those receptors firing, the patient has a chance to get to homeostasis, you can get to where your body operating at an optimum, given what condition you're in

It was probably the internet

And being at the time, I was like a long-time member of NA

I was an active member in recovery, that would talk about recovery on social media, and talk about that stuff and then, every now and then I'd be talking about cannabis

And then, people would be like, what the hell is he talking about? Like he's not a weed guy, he's a total NA guy

And then a couple of people would engage me, and then I found one

And I found one and I just came down and gave him oil

I gave him oil, nine months later he's remission

My first remission phone call changed my life

I'll never turn back

The feeling you get when you get a call, and someone that was dying, is like, I'm okay now, thank you

That's heavy

There's no way to describe it in words

Like I can't even tell you

And just the day before we came down here for this, I got the call from my 61st remission, and it was my first international remission

I gave a guy meds for his mom, and he got 'em to her out of the country, and we discovered that she's in remission

And it was my first one

There's a lot of obstacles

In 2014 I tried to grow, I grew for a year, and I found that I'm not that great of a grower

Again, the money guys always seem to be the problem

Everyone always wants to come in and try to help, but then they always just want to try to profit from it

And, you can't

There's no way

I don't know every many cancer patients with money, do you? Most cancer patients already spent all their money trying to get out of their problem, and usually get to cannabis as the last resort

I get people that are like ready to go to hospice

They already signed their house away to their kids and stuff sometimes

And they don't have money

If they do, I'll get like maybe a $100 donation for $800 worth of medicine or something

I never blink, I never blink, because any penny is a blessing and it'll all work out, and it always has

Like I said, I've never told one no

When you say resistant, I would say, uninformed

And if you lead people to the information, for them to absorb it, and figure it out, and even if they start slow

Sometimes if you start slow, then it gets easier anyways

Especially if you have regular cancer, and you're not used to cannabis at all, you have to start slow

It's too powerful

It'll knock you down

I've had people hallucinate, I've had people tell me like, I lost 18 hours, or different things

There's so many things that happen

And that's with like half of a drop

And I'm telling them, we need to get to 12 drops a day, right? And it's not easy

I've had patients that would set up the alarm to get up at four in the morning to take a couple drops, because they need to be able to get through the day, and maybe if I take 'em in the middle of the night, I could get through, they're spacing it out through the day a little better

This is really hard

I have California Botanicals Direct, which it was a collective in California for years, and that's where I met the guy who introduced me to this

I took highest CBD at a Secret Cup, and that opened a lot of doors for me within the cannabis community, because remember I was not really in cannabis before that for a long time

I was in NA

So winning that cup really helped open the door to the community for me

And once that happened, it all just kind of took off

So now, as of January 9th, they took away the collective defense, and they outlawed me giving away medicine

They made it to where if I give someone medicine, that I owe the retail value of the tax for that medicine, for medicine I give away free

So what I did is, I had a few choices

I could either give away all my recipes to some profiteer guy, to run with it and make millions, or walk away, or start something myself

And what I chose to do is incorporate California Botanicals Direct, as a hemp conduit, for legal hemp products, and try to make that into something beautiful, that's where I'm at right now

That's the stages I'm at

And it's going really well, I've got me first round of money, and the website's about to go active

I got the banking, I got everything I need, so it's kind of moving fast right now, and it's kind of scary, but I'm pretty confident with where I'm going, and I hope everything works out

(soft piano music) It makes you feel good, and what it does is it relieves your anxiety, and it relieves pain

I've seen it work for so many people for so many things, I don't even, I don't want to put it in a box, because it helps everybody, it's crazy

Sometimes, like we were talking about food, right? And if sugar is cancer food, and I tell you that you need to stop eating sugar, and we set it up for you to not eat sugar, and you still do, then sometimes they don't make it

I had a patient in Oregon, he is in a house with all vegan food

He was in there, and he was in a position to do it

I gave the medicine, they had the food, they had specific instructions, and the guy would get up in the middle of the night and walk two miles to the gas station and buy chocolate milk and donuts and then come back, like he couldn't not, and he's one of the ones that didn't make it

And then, I have others ones that fought, even though, I have one that he's lost over a hundred pounds, since the sugar is cancer food

And it's like, he's another miracle

If you take it serious, then miracles happen

I've seen it over and over, like I say, 61 as of yesterday

- Another big perspective you're gonna see online, and you're gonna see around and about, and there's some research coming through about is cannabis for the cure, so to speak

Can we use this term, first of all? No, we cannot, it is not appropriate just yet

It's not responsible as a clinician, as a doctor, it's not responsible to use those words

What I can say is that we're seeing people get through chemo treatments better

We're seeing people get through radiation better

We're seeing them not struggle as much

We're starting to see on a molecular level, and on rat levels, that they're doing research to evaluate, how individual parts of cannabis, so be it CBD, be it THC, be it THC-A, be it CBD-A, be it CBG, CBN, and we can do the little dance of the alphabet soup here, but we won't, because what ends up happening is, is there's so much we have to look into, and to simplify it, to just calling it cannabis, is doing both the plant a disservice, as well as our patients with cancer a disservice

So we really need to get to the bottom of all this, and part of this is to encourage your state, encourage the federal government, encourage everyone to allow for this type of research

Because what we are seeing is that those patients who do use this, again here in California, it's been legal medically for cancer patients for 23 years, and those patients overall fare better, whether it's lasting longer, whether it's a complete cure in conjunction with chemo and radiation and surgery, if that's appropriate for the individual, or be it that they're just getting better quality of life throughout their cancer treatment, we are seeing benefits

And to undo that, or to not discuss that with patients, would be doing everyone a big harm

- I don't want to make any claims about anything

I would say, try it

Try it, and get your receptors firing, especially if you've never done it, especially if you've never tried it

If you're older and you got aches and pains, and you've never tried it, start there

- It's been two years, and I've been cancer-free, and they just recently reconstructed the whole half of my face

So, I still don't have nerve function or anything, but I'm pretty now

- I mean there's 61 people that say that I helped them get to remission

And some I was more involved with than others

Some I wasn't able to give medicine, but I gave all the information for them to get exactly what they need to do the regimen I told them

And I count those ones too

- Pete is an exceptional individual

He has, I don't know if he learned it from somewhere, of if it's just who he is, like a wonderful bedside manner, and he just knows how to talk to people, in general, and he also knows how to talk to people who are sick

I think that's something that's really hard to find

Most doctors do not have that

I think Pete should teach a class, and teach them, like this is how you listen to people

- I would like to say that with the way that the market is going, find a reliable source of good medicine

You need to find a good source, because there's a lot of people that don't care, and they don't care how they make it

They don't care what they put in it

- I would like them to know that they don't have to feel bad for feeling better

When I worked at the collective, 80% of the time I would spend with people on the phone, was encouraging them to take control of their own health, and to stop feeling bad for feeling better

People have this notion that, enjoying the high, or enjoying the THC and the effects that it has, makes them a bad person

And that kills me, because that are in so much pain, and they're being encouraged to take such horrible medicine, with such bad side effects, they still are being made to feel bad for feeling better

You know, feel better, take the medicine

Just try it, because you have nothing to lose, and what's the worst that can happen? You're gonna end up laughing for a few more minutes instead of puking your guts out, or not being able to go to the bathroom for a few days

- My original dream status was to open a cannabis healing center, to find a retirement home that's going out of business, and find a way to buy it, and make it a world-class cannabis healing center

It could also be a detox center, and a spa, and a lot of things

That would be dream status, to have a giant healing center

I don't want to say like hospice, because I'd like to say the exact opposite, the way out of hospice, a way to not have to go to hospice

But not all of them are ever gonna make it, but to make it good enough for them, on the way out

Some of those places suck

Have you ever been to a hospice? It's horrible man

I'm a lucky guy, man

(solemn piano music) Now, they've changed the laws in California, so I opened California Botanicals Direct

What I'm doing is I may, I have 13 products now, that I'm putting out, and making available and shipping nationwide, within the next, way before this is out, I'll be shipping nationwide

Like I say, try to find a trusted resource of good medicine

I'm in this film, because I am a trusted resource within my community

People refer people to me

In the cannabis community, I'm the one that like people say, oh you have someone that's sick, call Pete

Call CDBP, go do that

I don't even know how that happened

I helped a couple, and then people saw that, and it's just grown and, like I say I'm fortunate

It's never hurt to give away oil

If it doesn't hurt, why not help? - You know I really appreciate Pete for what he's done

In his interview you can tell, he has a servant's heart

The man really has love for people, and I just feel blessed that I was able to meet Pete

And like he said, the money got tough, because people, they do go through their money trying to get well

Like I said, it worked for me

- This woman, had cancer, and she was looking on the web, and she found Skunk Farm, and she interacted with Gray Wolf, and Carla, and they gave her medicine, and she let her doctor know, she was gonna try cannabis

And her doctor let her insurance company know, and her insurance company called her the next day, and said if you test positive for THC, we will not pay for your chemo

So she didn't take it, and she went through nine months of chemo, until she got to the point where they're like, you know there's nothing we can do

Get your affairs in order

You're not gonna make it

And she remembered that oil that she had gotten

And she started taking it, and 90 days later she was in remission

And she looked me in the eye and told me that story, and it changed my life, actually

I didn't believe it was true

What I knew is, if it was, I could save some lives

And I have

(solemn piano music)

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