Standing in the bathroom of my work office, I stare at my reflection urging myself to just hurry up and get it done.
“But what if someone walks in?”
My hands scurry in my handbag, searching for the little esky that contains my $1,300 syringe. I wait a few more moments.
“Okay, I don’t hear any footsteps. I don’t think anyone’s coming.”
I rip the black syringe out of my bag, promptly popping it into my mouth to push eight rice grain-sized lines underneath my tongue as quickly as possible. A little bit of the black, tar-like substance gets caught on the side of the syringe.
“Fuck. Okay. It’s fine. I think I can save it.”
I try to maneuver and twist the pesky rice grain only for it to stick to the side of my tongue and the other side of the syringe.
It’s all a mess. I’m frustrated and my panic is rising. I’m paranoid that someone’s going to walk in. I quickly grab my handbag and scurry into the middle stall. I prop my phone up against my bag, open the camera app and get on my knees to see my reflection.
I look at myself for a moment, struck by the reflection that I am on the goddamn bathroom floor because I’m so afraid that someone will walk in and catch me in the act. In the act of what, you may ask? Medicating myself… illegally.
I’ve been treating myself for an incurable cancer since March 2018. It is my fourth diagnosis of cancer in my 22 years of life, and my third occurrence of this aggressive and rare malignancy. In 2016, cannabis oil put me into remission in only three months. This time it’s been taking a bit longer, but nonetheless has kept the cancer completely stable with no spread. This rare, aggressive and unpredictable cancer is untreatable by all Western standards, yet this beautiful and misunderstood plant that I believe Mother Earth gifted us to heal ourselves naturally has been keeping it at bay for the last seven months.
I think there is a hell of a lot wrong with the way we treat cancer these days. We’re injecting liters and liters of cytotoxic poison into the veins, destroying the immune system, eradicating fertility, damaging organs, killing all healthy cells in its path and blasting and burning the body with radiation therapy in the hope that it will kill the primary cancer… only before the treatment gives you a secondary cancer years later. In my case, four years later. We can keep applying band-aids in medicine or we can start looking at how to feed our body the tools to heal itself and restore back to its natural state of health.
I’ve been taking high strength CBD and THC – what has been referred to as Rick Simpson Oil – in an attempt to restore balance in my body and disintegrate this tumor. Cannabis oil has given me my everyday life back. I have all my hair, I have enough energy to go to work, to run, to weight train and to socialize with my friends. I’m not sick or vomiting and I have a healthy appetite that allows me to sustain a consistent weight even on a strict vegan diet. I’m not cooped up in hospital – if anything, I sometimes take too much THC and have to take a little nap or go to bed early. I get the munchies. I have times where everything is funny and I just can’t stop laughing and I feel mellow 99 percent of my life. I am so grateful for this plant and yet here I am, forced onto the ground in a bathroom stall administering.
In my country, cannabis is illegal. Even hemp seed consumption was a criminal offence until only this year! Of course I was still eating them. Everyone was, but with legalization more people are now open to eating hemp who were unaware of its health benefits. I could go on and on all day about my frustrations regarding this medicinal plant being a schedule one drug and a criminal offence to grow, sell, smoke, vape or ingest, but I know this is a collective confusion.
I, for one, am sick of feeling like a criminal in this country, worrying about who will see me when I’m administering the medicine during my lunch break. I’m sick of taking paranoid train trips into the city with $3,000 worth of “drugs” in my bag just waiting for a sniffer dog to alert police that I’m breaking the law. I’m sick of driving my car anticipating a random drug test around every corner. I’m sick of having to tell everyone I’m just “focusing on my nutrition and taking natural supplements” and having to do this all on my own. I’m sick of spending thousands and thousands of dollars to pay a dealer instead of having medication given to me in hospital or bought for a subsidized amount from a pharmacy. Why can we openly sell opioids that are clearly damaging to the body and addictive, but we cannot sell a plant that has never caused a single death and heals so many ailments? It’s hard not to create a dark view on a world that seemingly cares more about profit than it does about humanity and the value of human life.
If you think I am a criminal for taking cannabis oil then I am here to tell you the only crime I’m guilty of is wanting to live past the age of 22. Locking me in a jail cell or fining me over possession says more about the legal system and the government’s intentions than it does about me. It says in big bold letters “WE CONTROL YOU” and they abuse that power to the absolute max.
Jessica Olson is a freelance journalist from Sydney, Australia who advocates for a healthy and happy lifestyle fuelled by nutrition and cannabis. She previously treated terminal cancer (3 month prognosis) with high strength THC and low strength CBD in 2016 and achieved full remission. She now uses her experience, knowledge and drive to educate others on the benefits of holistic health and how cannabis can assist healing. @jessicaleaolson