Without cannabis, cancer will kill me Mother-of-two who grew drug pleads for law change
A CANCER patient who added home-grown cannabis to her breakfast smoothies to combat her condition has called for a change in the law.
When Jacqui Ritchie, 49, was struck by a rare form of cancer, she endured a double mastectomy and the debilitating effects of chemotherapy – wasting away, shaking uncontrollably and in unbearable agony.
In desperation, she began to self-medicate with an oil made from home-grown cannabis. But although she insists cannabis made a near-miraculous improvement to her health, her selfadministered treatment put her on the wrong side of the law.
When police discovered four plants in her garden, she was arrested and last month pleaded guilty to growing the drug. Now she has demanded a change in the law, believing the drug makes the difference between life and death.
She said: ‘All I want is my life back but it’s been taken away. It hurts to walk, I’ve lost my appetite, I ache all over. I need the cannabis to keep the inflammation down in my body. If my body is inflamed the cancer cells will grow and if that happens I’ll be dead really quickly – that’s the end of it.’
Last night, Tory MSP and Shadow Secretary for Health Miles Briggs said: ‘There are an increasing number of cases like this. It is time to reconsider the justice system’s approach.’
Hairdresser Ms Ritchie of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, a mother of two, grew four plants from seeds bought on the internet.
She has never had a criminal record and – until she was diagnosed with cancer at 46 – was not a drug user. Even now she does not believe that recreational drugs should be legalised.
In 2014, Ms Ritchie was diagnosed with two types of aggressive breast cancer and had a double mastectomy at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
After nine chemo treatments she shrank to seven and a half stone, her toenails turned black, her eyelashes fell out and her mouth filled with sores.
In a bid to ease her symptoms she turned to the internet and found that cannabis might help.
Rather than smoke it, she prepared an oil by soaking the buds in alcohol and boiling it down. She either took a small drop of oil under her tongue before bed or added leaves from the plants to her breakfast smoothie.
Within a week, she saw astonishing improvements as wounds from her mastectomy began to heal, her sleep
improved, her tremors stopped and her nails regrew. Initially shocked at their mother’s decision, children Tegan, 16, and Connor, 15, saw her mood and energy change. Ms Ritchie said: ‘It made me feel human again. I could move, watch a movie with the kids, take them out – it made a real difference.’
But in March this year police arrested her for production, possession and intent to supply cannabis.
She admitted growing four plants at Aberdeen Sheriff Court in August. She will be sentenced on Tuesday.
Researchers are already investigating cannabis in cancer treatment.
The Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow is trialling a drug called Sativex, containing similar levels to cannabis of active compounds THC and CBD.
And Dr Wai Liu of St George’s University of London, has concluded that cannabis can actively cure cancer, as well as treat the symptoms.
ARREST: Police found the plants that Jacqui Ritchie had planted in garden