Tracknum: 3097.013501c28bf5.dd9d09e0.f2c4fea9
Pubdate: Thu, 14 Nov 2002
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2002 Newsday Inc.
Author: Jimmy Breslin
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


"What do you think?" I asked her.

"I think I've felt better."

"Can I do anything?"

"Nope. I'll get some pot and it'll be better."

We were on the wet street outside Memorial Sloan-Kettering where she
had just had a transfusion. She is Rosemary Dunne, a relative from
Connecticut, and she has been living on blood transfusions every two
weeks for several years. She has a low red count and nobody knows why.
That's all there is.

"I'm mad at myself," she said.


"Because I didn't bring it with me. I left it home."

We were looking for a cab. It's always a delicate scuffle. The
sidewalk is crowded, and most people are sick, and you never know how
sick the person trying for the cab with you is.

"I find it so offensive to prove that something works for me. A lot of
people do. And some don't. But patients who smoke pot to help nausea
can find the pot helps. Put me down. All I want is a couple of puffs
when I come out of here.

"I hate it when they use the word 'anecdotal' about this. That was
what this Barry McCaffrey said when he was running the drug program in
the White House. The most ridiculous man I've ever seen. He said that
feeling better from pot was 'anecdotal' and didn't count for a
scientific investigation. Was he saying this because drug companies
don't want patients turning to pot?"

"He was afraid that somebody with cancer smoking pot would get
addicted to it. Be a danger to society," I noted.

"I'm in a cancer hospital and they think I'm planning a

"Now I know where to find pot, but why should I have to go and hunt?
What about all the people that don't? I do nothing illegal in my life,
except this. I buy the pot illegally.

"I'm afraid to travel with it, so sometimes like this I don't have it.
I just battle the nausea by lying in bed for five or six hours.
Nothing like what that methotrexate did to me. It made me throw up 17
times between 11:30 at night and 9 in the morning. Half the time I
stayed on the bathroom floor to wait for the next time or I crawled
from the bed. The only thing that helped was a few puffs of pot and a
few sips of Coca-Cola."

"Can't they give you something upstairs?" I asked her.

"They gave me the latest and best prescription drugs, Compazine and
Zofran and they didn't work. In fact, Compazine made me sicker; I
don't know if I told you that. If I start getting queasy, I use a
combination of a tiny bit of pot and a little Coca-Cola. Don't give me
Pepsi or any other soda. My body only wants Coca-Cola.

"Some cancer patients respond to pot and are able to eat and put on
weight they need. Some patients aren't like that and don't respond to
pot. But how is that different from me not responding well to the
prescription drugs, and they are quite expensive. I know Zofran was
when it first came out."

We caught a cab, and what at least was irritation came out of

"I just can't believe that there is another side to using pot for
medicine. I have no respect for anybody who is against this. None.
They're so full of it. Let them have the experience themselves or
their wives or children and they'd be clamoring for pot.

"I can't listen to these people discussing it on television or in some
magazine. Because I'm bored with the topic and sick of it. I'm too
busy trying to stay healthy. Several serious doctors I've spoken to
recommend that I smoke pot when I need it. One doctor told me that
starting about a decade ago at UCLA, some doctors recommended pot and
took it from patients and put it in high powered microwaves before
giving it back to them so they could avoid the fungal infections from
the pot.

"I've talked to other patients who have had success with pot and
others who haven't. Some like it. Some don't. But that's the same as
it is with prescription drugs. Like anything - chemotherapy,
prescription drugs - some work on some people, others don't. Two
people with almost the same cancer at the same stage can respond
completely different to treatment. Why wouldn't patients' response to
pot be the same?"