Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, admits he traveled to a neighboring state to obtain medical marijuana while he was receiving chemotherapy, as it was not yet legal in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania senator speaks of his experience with medical cannabis and cancer treatment
Philly Voice reports on an interview held by The York Daily Record with Sen. Folmer, who sponsored the bill on medical marijuana signed by Gov. Tom Wolf in April 2016. One of the 17 qualifying conditions in Pennsylvania is cancer.
Patients will be allowed medical marijuana oil, pills or ointments, but sales are only expected to start taking place in mid 2018.
Cannabis and cancer
Folmer firmly believes medical marijuana helped save him from cancer. He says it definitely made his road to recovery a little less severe, and much more bearable.
He says medical marijuana helped him keep his appetite, which meant he could steer clear of treatments which would have caused him to be “man down” for at least six months.
Medical marijuana advocates were in awe of Sen. Folmer at the time.
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Many agree on cannabis as cancer treatment
Many will agree with Sen. Folmer. One such cancer patient is Jeff Moroso, who lost part of his intestine to colon cancer. His oncologist prescribed medicines for nausea, anxiety and insomnia when he was told he would have to undergo 12 sessions of chemotherapy.
Coffee infused with cannabis
Moroso couldn’t afford losing workdays, and was feeling really weak after the chemo treatments. The medication prescribed by his oncologist made him feel even worse. A friend suggested medical marijuana, and he started reading up on it. By the seventh round of chemo, Moroso was using coffee beans infused with 5 milligrams of cannabis. He was up and about as happy as could be. The 70-year-old Moroso has been cancer free for two years now.
One medicine for everything
Another who would agree with Sen. Folmer is Dr. Abrams, head of hematology-oncology, San Francisco General Hospital. He says he sees cancer patients on a daily basis who are suffering pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, insomnia and depression. Marijuana is the only medicine which seemed to increase appetite and relieve nausea, help patients sleep and lift their mood. He says he would have to prescribe six different drugs to do all that, and these could clash with each other or the chemotherapy – besides possibly causing side effects.
Funding for research
Dr. David Casarett, also from Pennsylvania, and professor at the University’s Perelman School of Medicine, wrote a book with the title: Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana. He says supportive research is still lacking because medical marijuana is very helpful in palliative care, but to date there has not been much funding for studies on palliative care. This is starting to change, but it is still easier to get funding to look into disease modifying therapies, he says.
According to Casarett, although people can do well in terms of surviving cancer, there is still a lot of suffering along the way, which needs to be looked at. Many patients take control of the disease and manage symptoms with medical marijuana when the health care system can offer them no relief.