A SCOTS woman battling terminal cancer wants to travel to the Netherlands to receive controversial new treatment with cannabis in a last ditch attempt to cure herself.
Margo Morrison, 63, was diagnosed with lung cancer and secondary liver cancer this time last year after being treated for a chest infection.
However after a fall three weeks ago, doctors discovered a 3.5cm tumour in the Dunfermline woman’s brain and said that there was now nothing that they could do to cure her – only prolong her life as best they could.
But 39-year-old daughter Alana, who acts as Margo’s carer and also runs the family hotel, thinks that the unorthodox drug treatment of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the only thing that can save her dying mum after being let down by the NHS.
Even dad Alan, 63, and brother Brent, 34, who were completely against the use of drugs “no matter how good a reason”, have had a complete change of heart and are doing what they can to get to Amsterdam.
Alana said: “We don’t know how long mum’s got left. All we know is we have to act as fast as possible.
“The treatment involves hemp oil that’s derived from cannabis and is therefore illegal in the UK.
“But I want to take her on a 90-day course of treatment at a medical marijuana pharmacy in Amsterdam.
“My brother and father were against drugs no matter how good a reason have had a 180 degree change after reading the research on it – now they fully support mum and will do whatever it takes to get her on this treatment.”
The treatment has been pioneered by scientists from Harvard who treated lung cancer in mice who found that the introduction of hemp oil killed cancer cells as the body’s natural chemical receptors reacted to the treatment.
When the oil from a cannabis plant is heated up and placed in things like cookies or marijuana cigarettes then it is said to be psychoactive – this is what gives the user the ‘stoned’ feeling.
But if the oil is used straight from the plant then it has significant natural healing effects – as was seen in the mice trials and with other humans around the world.
The THC treatment that Margo is signing up for already has several success stories of people who have been able to not just cure cancer symptoms – but eradicate the disease completely.
It was also reported last year that a young US boy’s brain tumour had been “cured” after his father secretly gave him cannabis oil through his feeding tube.
Alana added: ”It is completely non-toxic and 100% natural plant extract and prescribed by real physicians. I’m borrowing a caravan but reckon we need to raise around £8,500.
“Under the circumstances I need to organise this fairly quickly and I am hoping that people might be able to contribute to our cause.”
A Horizon documentary even suggested that it was this natural digestion and reception to cannabis thousands of years ago that allowed humans to use tools and learn linguistic skills.
However, Cancer Research UK points out that there is “no robust scientific evidence” to show that cannabis or cannabis oil can successfully treat cancer.
It has also dismissed internet claims that the pharmaceutical industry deliberately suppressed natural remedies to ensure prescribed drugs’ profits remained high.
But Alana thinks that the level of care available to cancer patients is “ridiculous”.
She said: “My mum was completely mucked about.
“She was transferred from ward to ward for over 25 hours, doctors lost her medication cards, she was left without pain relief and no one checked in on her for over four hours.
“How can it be that the current level of chemotherapy available to cancer patients is the same that was seen in 1974? It’s ridiculous.
“Doctors and even (cancer charity) Macmillan will tell you that the hemp oil treatment of cancer doesn’t work – but it’s only to keep doctors in jobs.
“They see it as being more financially responsible and cheaper to maintain people’s level of sickness rather than fork out the cash to cure them.
“Everyone on the cancer care forums talk about amazing the response is to cannabis treatment.
“When we come back from Amsterdam, we will be campaigning for the legalisation of hemp oil to be used in medicinal cases – it’s ludicrous that it’s not getting used if there’s case studies where it works.”
American medical marijuana champion Dr Lester Grinspoon, who is associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said:
”There is little doubt that cannabis now may play some non-curative roles in the treatment of this disease (or diseases) because it is often useful to cancer patients who suffer from nausea, anorexia depression, anxiety, pain and insomnia.
”However, while there is growing evidence from animal studies that it may shrink tumour cells and cause other promising salutary effects in some cancers, there is no present evidence that it cures any of the many different types of cancer.
”I think the day will come when it or some cannabinoid derivatives will be demonstrated to have cancer curative powers, but in the meantime, we must be very cautious about what we promise these patients.”
Another medicinal form of cannabis, sativex , is used to treat multiple sclerosis.