It was reported this week that rock musician and cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge was recently arrested in North Dakota after police found cannabis oil on her tour bus.
The arrest took place on August 17 but was not publicized until TMZ broke the story yesterday. Like millions of people with cancer across the world, including myself, Etheridge has discovered that cannabis oil not only treats the after-effects of chemotherapy but also promote apoptosis, which prevents cancer from developing again.
In October 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer and endured a lumpectomy with five rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. It is not clear what her preventative regimen has been this past decade, but it is safe to speculate that cannabis oil has played a role in her continued remission as well as treatment for pain and nausea.
Etheridge looked confident after her arrest and can be seen with a huge grin in her mugshot photo. She pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.
Just weeks after her arrest, fellow rock musician Todd Rundgren was also arrested at the very same spot in North Dakota when police found two small vape pens filled with cannabis oil on his tour bus.
Cannabis oil is legal for medical patients who live in California, as Etheridge does, but the laws are still comparatively harsh in North Dakota, despite the fact that measures were recently passed in the legislature to start a medical marijuana program. As of now, North Dakota exists in a legal gray area because politicians are dragging their feet and bickering about how the program will be implemented.
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This situation is sadly common throughout the US. Even in my state of Maryland where I am fighting my cancer, medical cards are available so patients can avoid arrest, but the political process has stalled the establishment of dispensaries for over a year, forcing sick patients into the black market.
In the past several years, the science and strong anecdotal evidence proving the medical value of cannabis has continued to grow, especially in regards to cancer treatment. Just in this past year, we have reported on multiple incidences where studies have confirmed the healing power of cannabis, to the point where organizations tied to big pharma and the US government are now forced to reverse their position on the medicine.
Etheridge said in a recent article that she does not live a party-oriented lifestyle, but found that cannabis is one of the best medicines for a cancer survivor.
“Because I am a musician, people often assume that I must indulge in the fast-paced life that often comes with playing on the road. But they would be wrong. Coming up in the business in the 1980's, I saw plenty of drugs, but it never really appealed to me. I'm not even much of a drinker,” she wrote in her article at newapproachmissouri.com.
She continued: "But when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, I found that there was one substance that helped me through: Cannabis. My doctors gave me what they called 'dose dense' chemotherapy, which is stronger than usual. They could prescribe that level of chemo for me because I was able to take time off work to fight my cancer full time. Unfortunately, the dose dense chemo made the side effects even worse. My friends told me that medical cannabis could help me handle chemotherapy, so I gave it a try. It worked even better than they said it would. Not only did it treat my nausea better than anything else I tried, it alleviated both my physical and emotional pain. I continue to use cannabis to treat the lasting gastrointestinal effects of the chemo and to help me get a good night's sleep."
Etheridge is scheduled to perform the national anthem at the Chiefs vs. Steelers game this Sunday to raise awareness and funds for the "Crucial Catch" campaign, with the goal of helping unknowing patients catch their cancer early.