Cannabis vs. cancer: Dr. Kumar sees reasons for hope

Part Two of two
OKEECHOBEE — Oncologist Dr. Ramesh Kumar has witnessed firsthand the remarkable improvements that might be possible routinely for terminal cancer patients — if they had access to experimental treatments using medical cannabis. An oncologist treats the most hopeless disease to which humans are susceptible: the Big “C” — cancer. It comes in a multitude of forms that afflict nearly every internal organ and process that sustains human survival. Normally, from what is taught in the traditional medical schooling developed in the United States, they use chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery to get rid of the malady. That’s Job #1, American medicine teaches.

But Dr. Kumar has focused more on improving the quality of life for terminal cancer patients all his career, he says. In the past few years with the certification available in Florida for medical doctors to prescribe medical cannabis, he has done so for a number of patients. In that time, he’s seen astounding responses from some who were at death’s door that daily give him great hope for the future.

Asked whether he’s observed anything like a cancer cure from cannabis treatment, Dr. Kumar answered: “Yes, I have. I had one woman who’s in her 70s come in last October with cancer spread all over, ready to go into hospice. There was nothing I could do. And she was so frail; she weighed, like, just seventy or eighty pounds. And she did not want any chemo. She had literally given up.”

His first inclination, he said, was to try to see how he could improve her life — the quality of whatever number of days she had left. “The husband brings her in, and then I feel, well, I’m focusing on the quality of life. Get her some cannabis,” he ordered.

The couple walked out with a prescription for enough cannabidiol extract oil, cannabis oil, vape cartridges and other marijuana products to use in trying to improve her situation for several months.

When he sees her now, every time his hope is renewed.

“Since October, she’s put on weight. Yes, she’s still around! She still comes and visits me every couple of months … and her quality of life — my God, if you look at her now, she looks like a normal human being! She doesn’t look sick, and every time she shows up, I look at her like the ghost that came back from the dead.”

Dr. Kumar, though, doesn’t do any experimental treatments of any sort; they are prohibited under federal law. But, through the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, he learned: “The research on cannabis has been off the charts in Canada and Israel. They are way ahead of us … and we in the U.S. are sort of in the stone ages when it comes to cannabis research. Why? Because the federal government does not allow the free use of cannabis to do research.”

He cited results of a study from Israel.

“They have taken out cancer cells, lung cancer and cancer of the brain — you know that Senator John McCain died of this particular cancer called glioblastoma. Those people survive for about a year at best with the treatment that’s available right now. They have taken cancer cells from the brain … and tried to figure out if there’s a particular strain of cannabis that has a kill effect on these cancer cells. And they found that there are some unique strains that are very, very individualized to kill specific cancer cells from ‘this particular patient.’ It’s very, very, very specific,” Dr. Kumar explained.

“You really have to test things out to figure out what exactly it’s doing to those cancer cells. So you’ve got to test each individual cancer cell from a particular patient and find out what strain is going to work on that particular cancer cell. You cannot generalize this. But this is the best part: So the scientist made a statement saying that the extent of cancer kill that they saw was better than the best chemotherapy available for that particular cancer.”

He let that sink in for a second. Profound.

“These are resources that are available to you or anyone else. Go to the Society of Cannabis Clinicians page, and go to resources, and there are a bunch of videos … that I want people to watch about the effect of cannabis on cancer. The scientist is from Israel. And he talks for a good two hours about the effects of cannabis on cancer. And that is the one that is so amazing. That changed the way I look at cancer patients.”

So there is no such thing as a cannabis clearinghouse with information on the advances being made elsehwere, he says. “It doesn’t work that way,” said Dr. Kumar. “If I had a close family member with cancer today, you know what I’d be doing? I’d be frequent flying. If we can isolate the cancer cell, I’m going to go beg this guy to do some testing on this cancer cell; find me the strain that works, if it works; and then use that on that particular patient. And that’s it!”

He says there is, sadly, no current path to such research in the U.S.A., and he doesn’t believe it will happen anytime soon. Much less the major medical insurance companies covering medical cannabis. “No, I don’t think so. And the reason is that it will give a lot of room for abuse.”

But he says he will keep trying to help his patients to the extent of the law.

“I do acupuncture, I do medical cannabis; but again, I’m looking for permanent solutions, not a Band-Aid solution,” Dr. Kumar finished.

“All I can give you are examples of improved quality of life. I see it day in and day out. But at the same time, I’m hoping and praying to God that maybe this stuff is actually killing cancer, even though I can’t prove it.”

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