12/09/16 Nishi Whiteley

Cultural Baggage Radio Show

Texas Senator Jose Menendez submits medical cannabis bill, Anon Texas mother of 2 year old describes powerful benefit of cannabis + Nishi Whiteley author of Chronic Relief - A Guide to Cannabis for the Terminally and Chronically Ill & Data on Tex Med Ctr Conf on Cannabis in Hou 12/13/16

Audio file


DECEMBER 9, 2016


DEAN BECKER: Hi folks, this is Dean Becker. Thank you for being with us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. We've got a great show lined up for you, crammed full of medical marijuana information. A bit later, we'll have an interview with Nishi Whiteley, she's author of a great new book, Chronic Relief: A Guide To Cannabis For The Terminally And Chronically Ill. And in general, this show is going to focus on the use of medical marijuana, specifically within the state of -- Texas?

TEXAS SENATOR JOSE MENENDEZ: My name's Jose Menendez, I'm a senator from San Antonio, District 26. This morning, we filed Senate Bill 269, which will be a comprehensive medicinal cannabis bill. I filed this bill because doctors, not politicians, should determine the best treatment for severely ill Texans. This is a legitimate medicine. It can help a variety of sick people, from a grandmother suffering from cancer, to a veteran coping with PTSD.

Today, I've received various messages from -- one gentleman who has moved to New Mexico, called himself a medical refugee, who wants to move back to Texas and to his family. Another gentleman said he's suffering from multiple sclerosis and is seriously considering moving his whole family to Colorado.

Last session, Texas created the Compassionate Use Program. I felt it was a good bill, and I co-authored it. However, unfortunately it left many patients without access to medicine that their doctors know that they need. It was exclusive to intractable epilepsy and compassion should never be exclusive. If it's good for intractable epilepsy, why can we not allow patients with cancer, PTSD, MS, Parkinson's and other things it could benefit.

SB269 would bill upon the medical conditions eligible to treat with medical cannabis. A few examples of these debilitating medical conditions would be, as we've mentioned, PTSD, cancer, muscular dystrophy, glaucoma, and once again epilepsy. Patients could only receive cannabis if they've consulted with their doctor, medical doctor, and have a signed recommendation on file with the state. The bill would also remove the arbitrary THC and CBD cap. Dosage and amount should be determined by a patient's doctor.

Many of these patients will tell you that they are fine with the oil version, that this is not something that -- they want the medical benefits. I think the compassionate use program should continue to run under the strict supervision.

You know, whatever the state decides is the best way to get a medicine to the patient. I don't understand why this particular set of molecules, that make up cannabis, are any different than an aspirin or the hydromorphone, or anything else that's required. You know, it's just a set of molecules. We need to stop, as one doctor told me the other day, the personification and the prejudice of this particular set of molecules.

The goal of the program is to provide safe, reliable, and legitimate medicine to patients who need it. Twenty eight states have already recognized the medical benefit of cannabis, including those, and I say this very much tongue planted in cheek, those liberal states like Arkansas, Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota, which we all know are very conservative. But it's time that Texas step up to the plate and allow many of our sickest patients to have access to the medicine that they want, and that their doctors feel that they would benefit from.

DEAN BECKER: Well, as Senator Menendez indicated, Texas may indeed have legal medical marijuana here in the near future, but we're in Texas, and it's still illegal, and we're going to speak to a woman, a mother of a two year old boy, who has epilepsy, among other maladies, but she shall remain anonymous, because of the situation in Texas, and I want her to please tell us about her son. What are his conditions, and what has been the prognosis up until recently?

ANONYMOUS: He was born with hydroencephaly and hydrocephalus. They told us he wouldn't make it past birth. He is now two, but he's had ten surgeries, and he has intractable epilepsy, so he seizes about a hundred to 200 times a day.

DEAN BECKER: Now, does that remain true? I understand you were able to obtain some cannabis medications. How have they performed with your son?

ANONYMOUS: The first day that we gave him the cannabis, he only had two seizures.


ANONYMOUS: And then, the other night, we tried a different kind of cannabis, and he smiled, and laughed for the first time in about six months.

DEAN BECKER: Now, that's not complete relief, if you will, but it certainly puts a smile on your face as well, I would think.

ANONYMOUS: Yes, it does.

DEAN BECKER: Well, tell us about how you use it, how it has performed over the last few weeks, please.

ANONYMOUS: One form we put through his G-Button, and he gets it twice a day. And usually early in the morning, and around bedtime at night. And the other form we, you spray some in his mouth, and then we have some that you can rub on his legs, that seemed to stop the tremors that are usually all day long in his legs.

DEAN BECKER: Now, this is, you know, from afar, I'm smiling here, just hearing this, but, tell us what you would desire from the state of Texas so Senator Menendez's bill, and the other representatives, what would you like to say to them?

ANONYMOUS: I mean, they have to look at it from a point of view that I would. When you have to watch your child seize that many times a day, it's heartbreaking. And even if it's not your child, if it's your mother or someone in your family, it's hard to watch. And when there's 7 different seizure meds that you've tried, and he's on all seven of them at one time and they're not doing anything, it seems like you have no hope there, and there's nothing else you can do, and the doctors are telling you that, you know, if you don't stop the seizures, eventually it's going to kill him, because there's nothing stopping the brain damage.

I think it needs to be legalized, because it would help so many people, not just people with epilepsy. It helps with other things, too, like fibromyalgia, and arthritis, and stuff that people don't get relief from the pain.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Now, I want to back up again. Early on, you said he was having hundreds of seizures per day. And then you indicated that the first night, it lowered to two seizures. What has been the ongoing result, I mean, hundreds versus, what is an average day now?

ANONYMOUS: Probably about five to 10, if he's having a really bad day, but they're not bad seizures. So, with intractable epilepsy, you have multiple different types of seizures, that range from grand mal to partial complex seizures, and just complex seizures. Some of his seizures, he jerks really bad during the seizure, and we haven't seen any of those. We've just seen the ones where just his eyes kind of move real quick back and forth, and then he's okeh, and they only last for a few seconds.

DEAN BECKER: Now, we had talked a few weeks ago, that up until about six months, he was developing better, if you will, that he's now been unable to stand for quite some time, and I guess what I'd like to bring forward here is that these epileptic seizures are in a way kind of like mini-strokes. They impact and slow down the utilization of the brain, and reversing that now, you have hope for the future, I'm certain, right?

ANONYMOUS: Yes. He was for the most part developing normally. There was some delays, obviously. He's missing most of his brain, he only has a small part of his brain that is intact. So, we knew there was going to be development issues. But he was normal for the most part til six months. He rolled over at two months, he was laughing, smiling, babbling, and then he started having seizures when he started trying to crawl, and they just progressively got worse, and when they have seizures, and they don't get better, they just seem to keep throwing medications at them that cause more developmental delays, because they're sedatives and benzos and stuff like that, but, it's not good for an adult, much less for an infant that's six months old.

DEAN BECKER: I want to thank you for having the courage to speak of this situation, and the progress that you are seeing. You know, we can hope that the Texas legislature decides to truly be compassionate, and to move this bill to where it could help your son. Any closing thoughts you'd like to share there, dear lady?

ANONYMOUS: I mean, people just have to realize that it's, that medical marijuana is not a bad thing. It's a medicine, just like any other medication, and it doesn't come with the risks that the medications I give my son do, as far as him going into respiratory failure or cardiac failure, or liver failure, stuff like that, that all of these meds carry risk with. Medical marijuana doesn't have that.

DEAN BECKER: It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Nausea, heart burn, development of bleeding ulcers, vomiting, swelling of the brain, extensive liver damage, difficulty with mental functioning, Reye's syndrome, and death. Time's up! The answer: aspirin, another FDA approved product.

All right, folks, you heard some of the benefits that can be obtained through the use of cannabis, though one means or another. And I'm proud to be next speaking with Nishi Whiteley. She's the author of a brand new book, Chronic Relief: A Guide To Cannabis For The Terminally And Chronically Ill. And with that, I want to welcome Nishi to the program. Hello.

NISHI WHITELEY: Thank you, Dean. I'm honored to be on your show.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Nishi, right back to you. You know, you open your book with a dedication to your mother, who, you know, eventually found relief with cannabis, and dared to share that information with her friends, and to boldly proclaim that it was working for her. That's where you started, I guess, that's what gave you the impetus.

NISHI WHITELEY: Sure. My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, and over the course of more than two years she tried a variety of therapies, and used a lot of nutrition and supplementation as well as traditional western medicine. So, at the end of her life, the nausea and the vomiting were unbearable, and there was absolutely nothing that the prescriptions were doing to address it. And for my mother, this was the greatest indignity. So, at that point, she finally decided, she had always been open to it, but hadn't thought that she really needed it.

At the time, we were ill-informed. If, you know, if I knew then what I know today, my mom might actually still be alive. But, we thought that it would just help her with her symptoms. We had no idea that cannabis can help change disease progression in certain disease states. So, we used it, or she used it, specifically to address the nausea and the vomiting. And had it been successful for that, it would have been a huge win for me and my family. But instead, it did a lot more.

So, greatly controlled the nausea and the vomiting, stimulated her appetite, reduced the agitation that's common when someone has a terminal illness. Also, it addressed her neuropathic pain, which none of the opiates or other prescribed medications were able to successfully address. And so, it made it possible for my mom to be both present and more comfortable in the last weeks of her life, which was an extraordinary gift to her and to all of 0us who, you know, we wanted to spend quality time with her before she passed.

DEAN BECKER: Sure. Sure. And I've got to say this, Nishi, it brought to mind, my mother passed almost ten years ago. She had a major stroke, and I've heard that if a person gets a dose of cannabis immediately following that stroke, that it helps to diminish the brain swelling on down the line. Well, I was unable to do that. I, you know, I regret that possibility as well. And, as you are aware, the prior guest was talking about her two year old, that, you know, was just deteriorating, and very recently they tried the use of cannabis and have found it to be of enormous benefit. I mean, what is the price of a child's smile, for god's sake?

There's no way in the world that we can get through this book. I want to alert the folks, this book is a to z, this book talks about the history, it talks about the science, it talks about the scientists and the maladies and the means and the medications, and it has a great cook book at the end to help prepare many great dishes for those that may be suffering from various maladies.

You know, you talk about, is it snake oil, or is it real medicine, and that's what we're up against now, isn't it? Many of these politicians are proclaiming snake oil, and the scientists are saying real medicine. Talk about that, please.

NISHI WHITELEY: Okeh. Well, I appreciate the question. I -- at the beginning of this project, I thought that medical cannabis should be legalized, of course for sick people, hard to say it isn't a medicine. But I wasn't on board with recreational use. But, at this point, because of the safety of cannabis, and because we have so much solid science, it is impossible, or I should say it is my opinion, that it is impossible to be informed about cannabis and remain against cannabis legalization, especially for medical use. It's just not possible, because the science that exists is extraordinary, and I have heard several prominent doctors say that, you know, we have more information about this plant than we have about the vast majority of FDA approved medicines.

I actually say in the book that we have more, we know more about the cannabis plant than 95 percent of FDA approved medicines. There's more research done on it, and, you know, the volume of science that has come out from the time I stopped writing to now is also extraordinary. And so, you know, the, every day we are learning so much more about the components of the plant, and how the plant works in the human body, and all of the different ways that we might be able to use it to help people live better and die more comfortably.

DEAN BECKER: And that's it, too, it's a matter of dignity.


DEAN BECKER: In many ways, that it, it brought your mother dignity towards the end of her life. It's brought dignity to that two year old kid, it's brought dignity to so many people, and for it to just be cast aside as the devil's drug, without looking at the science is, well, it's evil, isn't it?

NISHI WHITELEY: I agree completely, and I think that the most important thing for people to understand about cannabis and why it is in fact such a safe and versatile medicine is that the components of the cannabis plant, THC, cannabidiol, and terpenes, and all of those components, are critically important to health and healing. But the cannabinoids themselves actually mimic chemicals that are produced in the human body which are required for health and homeostasis. Homeostasis is a state of balance, and so these chemicals in our bodies, that mimic chemicals in the cannabis plant, we call them endocannabinoids, or the cannabinoids within. And those chemicals are part of a larger system that we call the endocannabinoid system, and it helps control, regulate, or modulate every single major biological function in the body.

And it is for this reason that cannabis is such an effective and versatile medicine. You know, when we look at what are the common denominators of disease, that's going to be inflammation, oxidation, and most commonly pain. Right?


NISHI WHITELEY: And so, cannabis and components of the cannabis plant are incredibly effective at addressing all three of those things, because they're working with the natural systems in our body, your system in our body, the endocannabinoid system, which is tasked with regulating those functions. So this endocannabinoid system is working on neuroprotection, or protecting brain cells. It's reducing inflammation throughout all the system of the body. It's helping with nausea, vomiting, pain control, temperature, all kinds of things.


NISHI WHITELEY: And so when people understand that, all of a sudden cannabis isn't so scary. And I think that that's a critical thing that I've wanted to communicate in my book and my work as a cannabis advocate, that, you know, it's effective because our bodies make similar chemicals to those of the cannabis plant, that we have to have to be healthy.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly. Once again, friends, we're speaking with Nishi Whiteley. She's author of this great new book, Chronic Relief: A Guide To Cannabis For The Terminally And Chronically Ill. You know, I'm looking at a chapter here in the book talking about the risks and the side effects that you might feel, what to expect. And it seems that the media has walked away from much of their reefer madness, but they continue to talk about marijuana overdoses, as if it were a potential death situation. But that's just not the case, is it?

NISHI WHITELEY: No sir, it's not.There are not enough receptors in the part of the brain stem that control heart beat or breathing that are going to be activated by cannabis to kill somebody. So this is the completely opposite case from opiates, you know, we're hearing in the news a lot about this opiate overdose crisis in this country, but, people are dying because they're taking a prescription drug, and either there's a drug interaction or they think, well if I take a little bit, then -- if a little bit's good, a lot might be better. Or they take the prescribed amount and it was just too much for them ,or it didn't work for their body because they either slow their heart rate to the point that it stops beating, or it slows their breath to the point that they stop breathing, and that is not the case with cannabis.

And in the thousands of years that human beings have used cannabis for, whether it be medicine, intoxication, or spiritual practice, there's no recorded deaths associated with the overuse of cannabis. And I will add that in addition to its safety profile, or the fact that you can't die from it, or it hasn't happened yet, it's also, has -- it's considered to be a low toxicity medicine. So that's not the case with things like chemo, or of course a wide variety of FDA approved drugs.

And so when a person stops utilizing the cannabis, it -- it, those chemical components finally leave their body, well, that happens quickly, and there's no long term or permanent side effect from using it.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly. Well, Nishi, you know, I'm happy to see that you have tried to motivate people. That's what I've been trying to do on this radio show for over 15 years, is to educate them, and then give them a kick in the butt, it's their turn. They need to speak up, right?

NISHI WHITELEY: Yes, I agree. I want to address that, if I could go back just for a second and discuss risk and harm reduction. I don't want to say that there are no risks using cannabis, because that's simply not true. But comparatively speaking, when we look at cannabis compared to the vast majority of prescription medicines, cannabis is safe. Its safety profile is actually better than that of aspirin, which is considered one of the safest medicines available.

And, it's these types of things that we're talking about here, the fact that cannabis works with our own innate harm reduction system, the fact that it's a very safe, low toxicity medicine, these are the kinds of things that people who care about this issue need to be sharing with their legislators. And for us, regardless of what state you live in or what country you live in, if we're going to get these laws changed so that they're reasonable, beneficial, economically viable, it's going to take all of us to let the people who represent us know that we want access to this safe, legitimate medicine. It's up to us to give them the courage to take action, legislative action, to change these laws.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly right. Well, so quickly the time flies. Folks, if you want a book that will educate you on the use, the components, the science, the doctors, and give you, golly, a couple of dozen great cook book ideas, please, pick up a copy. Chronic Relief: A Guide To Cannabis For The Terminally And Chronically Ill, by our guest, Nishi Whiteley. Closing thoughts, Nishi?

NISHI WHITELEY: It's time that we dissolved the cloud of shame, secrecy, and controversy around the use of this legitimate medicine. Please contact your legislative representative and ask them to support quality cannabis legalization legislation today. And Dean, I thank you so much for the opportunity to be on your show, and I'd love to offer to your listeners my website as a free resource, for science based information about cannabis. You can find us at MyChronicRelief.com

DEAN BECKER: Vyripharm Biopharmaceuticals will host an event at the prestigious Texas Medical Center in Houston to discuss the expansion of the state of Texas's Compassionate Use Program. This happens this coming Tuesday, December 13th, at 10:45 to 2:30 pm. You're invited to attend this event, which will feature Texas state lawmakers, corporate executives, Texas Medical Center doctors, scientists military veterans, and patients, who will convene and discuss the inclusion of other forms of epilepsy, PTSD, cancer, and other debilitating disease.

Noted physicians and scientists from Texas and abroad will discuss with lawmakers and with the public the opportunity to expand and integrate medical cannabis treatment with traditional medical treatment. Dr. Elias Jackson, Vyripharm's director of scientific public relations, said, quote, "early studies have shown a positive impact on resistant forms of cancer. We are carefully analyzing these results before we formally release this data. These preliminary studies, conducted by Vyripharm on the efficacy of cannabis for cancer therapy indicate that Texas and the Texas Medical Center could be an important step in advancing cancer therapy." End quote.

Now, Vyripharm is please to announce Professor Lumír Hanuš as the keynote speaker for the event, addressing "why is medical cannabis a successful medicine?" Professor Hanuš, a native of the Czech Republic, is a professor of medicinal chemistry and natural products at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Professor Hanuš, who is a world expert on the endocannabinoid system, contributed to the isolation of the first endocannabinoid neurotransmitter, anandamide. He studied under the father of cannabis chemistry, Raphael Mechoulam, who identified tetrahydrocannabinol, THC.

Professor Hanuš will be sharing his lifelong experience in the research of medical cannabis and its curative effects directly with the scientific community, patients, and public. Further scientists presenting will be representing UT Health Science Center, Houston; University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; Baylor College of Medicine; and the University of Houston MD Anderson Cancer Center. The event will be hosted by Vyripharm Biopharmaceuticals, again on Tuesday December 13th, and will be open to the public, 10:45-2:30 pm. Event location Vyripharm Biopharmaceuticals at TMC Innovation Institute, 2450 Holcomb Boulevard, Houston, Texas.

You can find a link to this event via the 120916 Cultural Baggage program, which can be found at DrugTruth.net. Again, I remind you that because of prohibition you don't know what's in that bag, please be careful.