Pubdate: Fri, 05 Aug 2016
Source: Langley Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Langley Times
Author: Dan Ferguson


Medical marijuana advocate battles cancer with cannabis

At first, he thought it was a shoulder injury.

When the pain in his left shoulder started, Randy Caine thought his
days working in construction had caught up with him.

"I thought I had a rotator cuff injury."

Then, in June of last year, Caine noticed a lump on his

It was lung cancer, what is known as a Pancoast tumor, a slow-moving
growth that had spread into nearby muscles and bone.

After more than two decades of advocating for medicinal marijuana for
people with serious medical conditions, Caine was now a patient himself.

The 62-year-old married father of two is a recognizable public figure
who has run for council and for mayor of Langley City. He is also a
successful businessman who operates three HEMPYZ Gift and Novelties
shops in both Langleys and White Rock, founder of a city marijuana
dispensary that closed down after running into trouble with the
authorities, and the Releaf Compassion Centers that provide counseling
to people seeking to use cannabis for medical purposes.

He describes himself as an "old hippy" who started dying his long dark
hair after it began to turn grey (pictured, left).

About 14 days after his first chemotherapy and radiation treatment his
hair started falling out, so he shaved it off.

He began to use everything he had learned about managing pain and
nausea with cannabis.

"I was going to apply that knowledge to myself."

It is now August, and a tanned and healthy-looking Caine is sitting in
a Langley City coffee shop, talking about the effectiveness of
cannabis in helping him cope with the impact of chemo and radiation

"I wouldn't say it's the end-all and be-all, but it is a part of the
overall therapy," Caine says.

His comments become a blizzard of hard-to-follow technical language
having to do with different types of delivery systems, strains of
marijuana and other acronym-laden information.

What it boils down to, Caine says, is that people need to have the
option of trying different types of marijuana and different ways of
ingesting it so they can discover what works best.

To limit patients to single varieties also limits the potential
benefits, he believes.

"It would be like only having one pain medication."

Caine is now undergoing a trial of an experimental cancer treatment
that seems promising.

"I'm a lab rat," he says, cheerfully.

It is a double-blind test, which means some of the subjects are
getting the treatment and some are getting a placebo.

It could be that he is getting the actual treatment, or it could be
his body's natural resilience, but Caine has noticed a substantial

He has regained all of the muscle he lost and his left hand, the hand
he uses for writing, is functional again.

"I couldn't even pick up a piece of paper (before)," he

"(Now) I can actually write with it."

He has regained the sense of taste he lost during his chemotherapy and
as a result has become very conscious of the quality of food he consumes.

"I have no interest in food that tastes even marginally

The most obvious change has been his hair.

When it started growing back, it came in thicker and

His decision to keep it short and grey has become a source of
entertainment for Caine, watching people who haven't seen him in a
while do double-takes.

Strangers react differently, he's noticed.

"The world was a much more hostile place for me previously (when I had
long hair)," he says.

"The world has become much more calm, much more peaceful (with short
hair). I'm the same guy."

His cancer is smaller but remains inoperable, Caine

"It's not that bad. I'm okay with it."

He doesn't know exactly how much time he has left, but he has
long-range plans for the years ahead that include continuing to
advocate for marijuana.

Caine says his diagnosis has made him more aware of all the things he
has to be grateful for.

"I've had this amazing life," Caine says.

"This has not been a sad story. This is about a journey of life."
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