Pubdate: Fri, 26 Sep 2014
Source: New Age, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2014 TNA Media (Pty.)
Author: Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Note: Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP is president of the Inkatha Freedom Party
Page: 21


The Medical Innovation Bill pursued through Parliament is not to 
legalise cannabis but rather to provide alternatives for cancer patients

RECENTLY a debate has been revived on the Medical Innovation Bill 
introduced in Parliament by the late Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, an 
IFP MP and a close friend of mine.

Dr Oriani-Ambrosini fought a long and courageous battle with terminal 
lung cancer, during which he ploughed all his energies into 
researching cancer and how it might be stopped.

He rejected the conventional cancer treatments of chemotherapy and 
radiotherapy, for they offered no cure and would only prolong his 
life for a few months, while robbing him entirely of quality of life.

For anyone who has walked the road of cancer themselves or with a 
loved one, the debilitating effects of traditional cancer treatments 
are familiar.

Nausea, hair loss, pain and overwhelming fatigue are externalities.

What may be less visible are the fear, anxiety, anger and even guilt 
experienced by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy because it is 
expensive, often ineffective and prevents them from being the wife, 
mother, father, friend or employee that they are accustomed to being.

In the final stages of cancer, medical practitioners commonly 
prescribe morphine for the enormous pain which can rob the family of 
conversations they need to have and farewells that need to be said, 
because the patient is hardly conscious or able to express their 
thoughts. Surely, there must be a better way? Why is it that hundreds 
of years of medical science have come up with nothing better than 
chemotherapy and radiotherapy? OrianiAmbrosini believed they were 
working with the wrong paradigm.

He also discovered that South Africa's legal framework prevents our 
medical practitioners from trying anything different or innovative.

On his journey to seek an effective treatment, he undertook intensive 
research and used his own body for experimenting with alternative 
treatments wherever he was convinced that the science behind it was plausible.

He travelled to Italy to undertake a promising and very simple 
treatment, being illegally administered.

He explored ancient herbal treatments which were sent to him by the 
Dalai Lama, who had heard of his illness.

He investigated developmental treatments in the West, using vitamins 
and ozone therapy, as well as dendritic cell therapy.

In his favour, Dr Oriani-Ambrosini had resources that few ordinary 
South Africans have.

He also had a brilliant and questioning mind, a sound background in 
critical thinking and research and a wide network of scientific and 
medical professionals who were waiting for someone to ask the 
necessary questions.

That question revolves around the clear absence of innovation in a 
country so perfectly suited to finding alternative solutions.

South Africa has thousands of legally recognised traditional healers 
who already use plants and herbs as part of cancer treatment.

If there is any country in the world that should be open to exploring 
alternative treatments, this is it.

And if there were ever a time to do it, it is now. Presently there is 
a worldwide shift towards medical innovation and towards exploring 
the potentials in the natural world. This bodes well, for one in 
three people across the world is now being diagnosed with cancer. In 
the coming years, every family will face this battle.

Among the alternative treatments that Oriani-Ambrosini discovered was 
the widespread use of cannabinoids present in the resin of the 
flowering cannabis plant, in their active constituent forms such as 
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), CBG (cannabigerol) and 
CBC (cannabichromene).

Extensive medical testing has proved the efficacy of these 
cannabinoids in treating many forms of cancer as well as diabetes, 
HIV, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and a myriad of other diseases.

Convinced by the research, Oriani-Ambrosini began using specially 
processed cannabis oil, in the form of suppositories.

He understood from the research that smoking marijuana would not 
deliver the beneficial effects delivered by cannabis oil.

Just as one would not brew tea from the roots of a tea plant, or eat 
the stalks of a mielie, the different parts of the cannabis plant 
have different purposes and different effects.

It was very important to him that he maintain clarity of mind and he 
carefully monitored the psychotropic effects of cannabis oil.

Again, the research bore out. Cannabis oil does not produce a "high".

It does not affect the mind and is non-addictive. It is, in fact, 
entirely different to smoking marijuana.

Even in his final days, Oriani-Ambrosini was clear-minded. He was 
able to have important conversations with his family and friends. He 
could say his farewells when there was no longer any hope of a cure.

The pain relief offered by cannabis oil and cannabis creams was a 
godsend. Towards the end, when cannabis cream was rubbed onto his 
back, where the tumours were evident as lumps in his skeletal frame, 
he visibly relaxed and the look of anguish was erased.

However, cannabis oil is not only for pain relief.

It has been proven in medical studies to shrink tumours and decrease 
the number of tumours. This would offer a wonderful alternative to 
those who are forced to undergo radiotherapy to shrink tumours before 
they can be surgically removed.

Throughout his long and difficult journey, Oriani-Ambrosini was 
acutely aware that the average South African would not be able to 
access all the treatments available and would likely not even know about them.

Travelling from one end of the globe to the Recently a debate has 
been revived on the Medical Innovation Bill introduced in Parliament 
by the late honourable Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini He rejected the 
conventional cancer treatments of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, for 
they offered no cure Nausea, hair loss, pain and overwhelming fatigue 
are externalities. In the final stages of cancer, medical 
practitioners commonly prescribe morphine Surely, there must be a 
better way? other to find the best individualised treatment is just 
not feasible.

Thus he began to pursue a one-stop centre for medical innovation and 
innovative treatment within South Africa.

Through the Medical Innovation Bill, he sought to establish a 
dedicated medical facility where anyone diagnosed with cancer can go 
to explore their options, receive information, and be treated.

At this centre, medical practitioners would be legally free to 
innovate and could try alternative treatments, with the informed 
consent of patients.

Patients would not be guinea pigs for irrational experimentation. On 
the contrary, patients would be empowered with sovereignty over their 
own body, while innovative treatments would be peer-reviewed on site.

If we are going to find a cure for cancer, it will happen at this centre.

It is therefore critical that people understand the intent and the 
impact of the Medical Innovation Bill.

Unfortunately, in our newspapers the shorthand of journalism often 
refers to "the dagga bill" and "the legalisation of dagga". This is 
not what the bill suggests. Instead it provides a way to regulate the 
use of cannabis for medical treatment, allow those who need it to get 
it and ensure that it is good quality, properly checked and properly 

Presently, anyone seeking cannabis oil is forced to go underground to 
find people who provide it, which compromises the safety of patients. 
There are also no controls as to the quality of the oil received, 
which creates a serious health risk.

Why should cancer patients be made to feel like criminals when they 
search out the treatment that offers the most hope?

And why are doctors' hands tied in the pursuit of a cure?

I support the Medical Innovation Bill because it seeks to right these 
obvious and damaging wrongs. I firmly believe that South Africa must 
become the centre of medical innovation.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom