Faithful readers know I am on a cross-country trip with my canine companion Tango. Some of those faithful readers, but not all, know that I have a long history with the medical cannabis issue (to learn more please visit aliceolearyrandall.com). I have kept medical cannabis out of my Alice’s WanderLand blog for various reasons but primarily because I am not a 24/7 cannabis person. There is so much more to life than cannabis (aka, marijuana). Alice’s WanderLand is my touchstone with the wonders and beauty of life…either through pictures or words.
But medical cannabis is often wondrous and beautiful. That statement was brought home vividly today in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where I finally met a family who, 37 years ago, were battling the unimaginable — their three year-old had cancer.
Things were very bad. Young Josh couldn’t eat and if he did manage to eat the chemotherapy made him vomit. When you’re 3 years-old you don’t have a lot to lose in terms of body weight. Janet and Jack realized they must do something. They were watching their child die.
It was 1980 and medical cannabis wasn’t the national issue that it is today. Still, there was plenty of information out there about cancer chemotherapy patients having good success with using marijuana to quell the nausea and vomiting associated with their treatments. A friend sent Janet a magazine article about the topic. Janet immediately made some calls to friends who could help her get marijuana. Then she brewed the cannabis into tea and baked it in to brownies.
Josh, who was readily compliant with other medications, balked at the odd tasting tea and didn’t much care for the peculiar brownies. But he ingested them and the results were “miraculous.” While other children on the cancer ward vomited into buckets, Josh would ride his tricycle up and down the halls.
Janet called NORML looking for help and I was working there at the time, heading up the Medical Reclassification Project. Later Janet would help Robert and I when we formed the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics in 1981. She provided testimony in the historic DEA Rescheduling hearings before Judge Frances Young in the late 1980s. The judge was clearly moved by their story and extensively quoted Janet’s affidavit in his decision that cannabis should be re-scheduled.
After Josh beat his cancer, Jack and Janet returned to their lives and we lost touch. In the intervening years I found myself wondering what happened to Josh. Facebook helped me track down both he and his mother. While Coeur d’Alene wasn’t exactly on my route, the detour seemed a small inconvenience given the chance to meet a family that had given much to an important issue. The medical cannabis issue is far from being solved but things are so much better, in part because of Janet and Jack Andrews, who had the courage and love to fight for their son, Josh. ❧