With­out cannabis, can­cer will kill me Mother-of-two who grew drug pleads for law change

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Femail - By Ge­or­gia Ed­kins

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.