Nature’s Healing Herb
By Rev. Leeroy Campbell
Cannabis Culture Magazine, 05: May 01, 1996.
The great remedial and healing properties of herbs have been recognized and appreciated by humankind since time immemorial. People have been diverted from truly healing herbal remedies by superfluous advertising, mass media indoctrination and criminal prohibition. These things have allowed false science to succeed through deception, but only for a time.
this article is intended to highlight some of the many medical uses of marijuana and prove beyond the slightest doubt that the cannabis plant was created for the natural healing of mankind. Prohibition is an immoral attempt by the government and big business to substitute herbs with destructive chemical alternatives. They do this for one reason and one reason only. . .money!
I have been healed by marijuana, and have continued to maintain a positive, healthy lifestyle with marijuana since 1983. I can state unequivocally that my mental and physical condition over the past twelve years has so improved that I have dedicated a good portion of my time to spreading the good news so that others may enjoy a similar blessing.
Since 1983 I have interviewed thousands of other marijuana users, many of them seniors who have been using marijuana for more than fifty years. The quality of life they enjoy is a testimonial to the beneficial properties of this healing herb.
Millions of others around the world have experienced similar benefits from marijuana, yet thay are reluctant to share their experiences because of the fear of persecution. Thankfully, some are not intimidated by the immoral Narcotic Control Act, and are willing to share the good healing news of this wonderful plant.
Some of these brave people will tell you their stories on the following pages. Let me now introduce you to Gerald Hopcraft, Brian Johnson, Wayne Harms and Brenda Rochford.
My name is Gerald Hopcraft, I am fifty years of age and reside in Vancouver, British Columbia. I am legally blind, with no sight in my right eye, and I am living with a situation that is threatening what little vision I have remaining in my left eye.
I was injured in a tractor accident when I was sixteen, thirty-four years ago. From what I can gather, my skull was crushed. The tractor bucked and the steering wheel impacted the right side of my head. The optical nerve in the right eye was severed, and the fifth and sixth nerves were damaged in the left eye. I also have a dry socket in the left eye, and that is where my problem begins.
From 1961 to 1975 I used eyedrops, and managed to maintain blurry but workable sight. I had quite a few corneal ulcers, but other than that everything was OK. I entered the work force in 1964 and worked until 1975, when the pain and blurriness in the eye caused me to lose everything. The pain was so intense that in 1976 I asked the doctors to take the eye out if they could not stop it. Between the constant burning pain and the unstable vision I could see no other options.
In the summer of 1976 I moved in with some friends in Toronto and begun a push to get some help from surgeons at Toronto General. One night, in an effort to ease my pain and calm me down, my best friend at the time gave me some marijuana. I had used everything from large amounts of codeine to Darvon to ease the pain, and when the marijuana was offered to me my only thought was that it might get me away from the pain for a little while. It did that, but I also noticed that my vision was clear, something I hadn’t experienced in almost three years.
Regretfully, I was too messed up emotionally to realize the significance of what had happened. Later that summer I had surgery to straighten the left eye and had a taursorophy done which reduced the pain to where I could handle it, and while my vision was blurry I could see well enough to get around. I used marijuana when the pain became unbearable but never really made the connections. I still didn’t know what was irritating the eye, and I stopped using marijuana in 1977.
When I almost lost my sight in 1981 because of an ulcer, an ophthalmologist in Orillia realized that I had become allergic to the eye drops that were suppose to moisten my eye. I tried saline solutions and even distilled water in an attempt to keep the eye wet, but the burning and blurriness continued, as did the ulcers.
It was then that I realized that marijuana might be an answer if I could determine the dosage. After some experimenting I found that seven grams, dried and powdered, would give me clear vision for a month if I inhaled a very small dose every four to five hours. The marijuana remedy worked so well that I managed to get my job back and worked for the Government of Ontario until 1985, when as a result of a change in government, I was forced to go on a pension. I then began to design educational software which I hope to be marketing in the next couple of years if I can see well enough to fin ish it.
In 1984 I received a document from the Federal Government authorizing the prescribed use of marijuana for my condition. I was told by a lawyer this year that the document is still valid. The College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario refused to allow their doctors to honour the federal document. When I relocated to British Columbia in 1989 I ran into a similar road block. In 1995 the same problem remains.
In 1989 my wife and I moved to BC, and my supply of marijuana ran out about two months after we got here. I couldn’t get any. I didn’t know anybody, and didn’t want to start asking the wrong people.
before they would prescribe marijuana.
I discussed the options with my wife, and then became a “criminal” in order to save my sight. Fortunately, I located a supply fairly quickly and I began to use marijuana illegally once again.
When I visited the same specialist in September he told me that the abrasions on the cornea had cleared up and that the growth’s progress had stopped. He also said that if I wanted it to stay that way I would have to keep the eye wet. He knows what I am using, and although he can’t prescribe it he has told me to continue doing what I’m doing. We both know the alternatives.
The college of Physicians and Surgeons in British Columbia told me that they would let me lose my sight before they would prescribe marijuana. Something is terribly wrong in this society, where a person cannot choose a natural substance to save his sight.
I am interested in working together with others who also use medical marijuana. I can be contacted through this magazine.
My name is Brian Johnson. I am a thirty nine year old male WASP, conservative, capitalist to the core and father of four bright civic minded kids. I have never smoked pot and I’m against the spreading threat of hard drugs. I scored my first quarter ounce of pot in August 1994 for one hundred dollars from a street drug dealer.
What caused this middle aged yuppie, whose last brush with the law was at age twelve when I egged a neighbours front porch, to turn to illegal drug use? The answer is chronic Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder marked by fifteen to twenty bowel movements a day, constant pain, weight loss, nausea and passing of blood in the stools.
I was diagnosed as having Crohn’s about two years ago. I had many hospital stays, dozens of painful and humiliating tests, and was prescribed medications so strong they had to be discontinued for a week after two weeks of use, to allow my body to recover. I had steroid therapy that caused mood swings and irrational behavior. The pain persisted and recurring bouts of diarrhea prevailed. I felt horrible and looked worse. This disease not only ruined my health and finances, but was taking its toll on my family as well.
Doctors narrowed down the cause to the probable ingestion of a parasite from some tropical source. It could have been picked up any where in my travels, the normal vacations in Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica. It was also noted that the disease was not responding well to conventional therapy.
A neighbor, originally from Jamaica, came by to visit and expressed concern about my health. She told a story of similar symptoms being treated back home in Jamaica by brewing ganja leaves into a tea and drinking it three times daily. I quickly discounted this remedy as being too simple. Over the next two months I heard similar stories from others of different ethnic backgrounds. Indians, Peruvians, Romanians, Estonians and Poles all mentioned marijuana or hemp as the common home cure.
Coincidence possibly, but worth looking into. Someone was kind enough to send me copies of Hempfest Times newsletters outlining some of the medicinal properties of the marijuana plant. I decided that it must be tried, illegal or not. My doctors warned me against doing so, but only for the reason that marijuana was illegal and I could get arrested.
and according to law my only choice was to await death.
I am now convinced that there are medicinal properties in the cannabis plant. Prohibition of its use and the continued denial of its vast healing potential by the government amounts to criminal conduct that denies citizens their basic right to choose quality healthcare.
I’m also greatly disturbed by the fact that my efforts to heal myself are considered illegal, which could result in my freedom being restricted. Traditional medicine was tried and failed, and according to law my only choice was to await death. This makes me mad as hell. Although I am not aware of all the research work done with marijuana, a supposedly dangerous drug, at no time did I ever get stoned while healing myself with the tea. I did, however, sleep more restfully at night.
The government has blindly refused to do anything at a time when many countries have in some way legalized or are in the process of decriminalizing the plant. Many thousands of Canadians could benefit from the medicinal properties of marijuana if it were made medically available.
Current laws must be changed, but how? My sending a letter to my MP would surely result in a visit from the RCMP, so I sit in quiet fear of the day that the cops will kick my door down, storm into my house, slam me to the floor, manacle my hands behind my back, seize my few grams of pot and haul me off to jail. Not for an immoral or criminal act, but only because politicians and big business have conspired to make my health choices for me, regardless of the consequences to my well being.
I am Wayne Harms. I am age 43, and I’m writing this story about myself and my 39 year old partner Brenda Rochford. We live in the province of Ontario.
My health problems, which started at birth, have left me with chronic backpain. My natural parents, a couple of drunks, would tie me in an upright position in a baby carriage and leave me alone all day while they were at work. They would also put me in a high chair and kick it down the cellar steps. At least, this is what I am told by my adopted family. My adopted parents also told me that I suffered from rickets, (a softening of the bones caused by lack of sunlight) and that it took my adopted father six months of staying up nights to get me to lie flat.
When I was ten I started seeing a specialist who prescribed a back brace of metal and leather that must have weighed thirty pounds. This monstrosity was more like a portable torture chamber, and its size made it highly visible. I had to wear this miserable, awful burden all through high school.
When I was seventeen I was told I had Lumbar Sclerosis, which means that some of the lower vertebrae in my spine had holes in them. An operation could be performed to insert plastic into the holes, otherwise the likelihood of my being unable to walk after age 65 was questionable. As the operation would have required a year lying on my stomach in a hospital and could take away as much as 80% of my mobility, I was less than enthusiastic.
I tried different doctors and different drugs to control the pain. The pain can be extreme at times and makes full concentration an unknown. Staying in one position for too long stiffens my joints, so staying in bed for five hours is tops, unless I’m exhausted. Even then I get to pay for it the next day, when it takes three to four hours to limber up enough to feel almost normal. Sitting in school for six to seven hours each day was pure hell. School desks are not known for their comfort.
and somewhat functional was marijuana.
In 1974, when I was 22, I met Brenda Rochford. Brenda had a whole basket of problems that made mine pale by comparison. She suffers from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a condition that affects the collagen fibrils that constitute the building blocks of our bodies. There are some ten variations or subgroups to this condition, and she seems to have most of the negative ones.
Brenda’s eyesight has always been poor, and she is legally blind, having already lost the use of one eye. Her cond ition makes her prone to glaucoma, which, according to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, is the number two cause of blindness in Canada. She also suffers from muscle spasms that are very painful.
Brenda found that when she smoked marijuana many of these symptoms were kept at bay. It also lifted the depression of having to deal with this discomfort on a daily basis. She has had numerous operations on her eyes, back surgery to install a Harrington rod (a stainless steel bar attached by hooks to her frame work), had her gallbladder removed, and on numerous occasions was only alive by the force of her will.
What kept both of us almost pain free and somewhat functional was marijuana, and so when we moved into a house together we started a garden and have kept up our supply most of the time.
A couple of years ago we got busted, and for a first offense I was sentenced to six months. I took full responsibility so that Brenda could get off the charges. Last September (1994) we got busted again and have decided to fight. Brenda is more afraid of the pain than she is of the law, and since November has had to fight panic attacks as a result of being arrested.
Six weeks after getting busted last September, Brenda suffered an arterial venuous fistula (a ruptured artery). At the time I thought she was having some type of seizure as her muscles were all rigid and just kept getting tighter. She stopped breathing for a time, and I had to perform mouth to mouth while calling for an ambulance.
At the hospital her symptoms seemed to indicate a burst appendix, but when they opened her up she was full of blood. They closed her up and shipped her to University Hospital in London. Here the only course of action was to give her blood and wait, because her tissue was so fragile that trying to sew it could easily cause more damage than what they were trying to repair.
Brenda’s doctor thinks it strange that
the times when he sees her at her worst is when the
police have taken her plants away.
At this same time she developed a blood clot in her right leg which complicated matters even more. For a rupture one can prescribe something to clot the blood, and with a blood clot something can be used to thin it out, but the therapies cancel each other if you have both. We mostly had to play a waiting game, hoping that her tissue was strong enough to repair itself. This time it was.
Brenda’s family doctor thinks it strange that the times he sees her at her worst is when the police have taken her plants away. And what caused her blood pressure to go up so high that she almost died? What stress could there be? Couldn’t it be from just being busted? Or from worrying about court? Or having to deal with an unsympathetic society? Or being deprived of her basic right to security of the person?
So far we have gotten through the preliminary, and the charges against me were dropped because I wasn’t home at the time, and no one provided any evidence as to my residency. We have had a lot of time to get ready for this and have read everything we could get our hands on that deals with the subject, or with human and legal rights. The more we read the angrier we get, and the more determined.
One hears all too frequently about the side effects from some new drug that an unsuspecting public was led to believe was harmless. Nothing we do is harmless, but we can reduce the duress under which we labour. Growing your own medicine is not only good for the body, but is also good for the soul.
I get the distinct feeling that I am not in control of my own life. Some clowns in Ottawa are allowed to make personal choices for me which limit my freedom and my personal security. They require that those who seek to heal their own minds and bodies be thought of as criminals and enemies of society. Prohibition is based on spurious reports, while common sense will tell anyone that these reports are all lies.
Ideals can not be legislated, they must be lived. Politicians and others who are placed in positions to make decisions affecting other people’s lives should function at a level of integrity that reflects individual freedom of choice.
A note from Brenda Rochford: We went to court on November 22nd, 1995, and my lawyer announced that we were putting in a constitutional challenge. Before we left the courthouse the crown aproached my lawyer and said that he was going to withdraw the charges if the arresting officers agreed.
We were very angry about this. They didn’t give a damn about my health, they were just afraid they could lose.
Our next plan of attack is to apply for a legal prescription. When they turn that down we will take them to court. We owe legal aid $6000 on top of the $6000 we have already paid. I would like to be able to have Paul Burstein represent us, he is working with Alan Young to represent Chris Clay, and has suggested that I might be able to use the same expert witnesses.
I would regret missing the opportunity to get a legal prescription for many reasons, most importantly to allow others to gain access to the medical benefits of marijuana.
“. . . it is important to recognize that [marijuana] has not been recognized by the medical community in Canada for the treatment of medical conditions. In order for a drug to be approved for use, a sponsor must provide scientific evidence to my Department to prove that the drug is safe and effective for the claimed use. In this manner, cocaine and heroin have received approval for use under specific conditions. To date, no sponsor has provided the required evidence for the medical use of marijuana.”
David C. Dingwall
Minister of National Health and Welfare Canada