Cannabis ideal drug for fighting cancer — Dr Vendryes

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Acclaimed health practitioner Dr Tony Vendryes has proclaimed that cannabis, the plant that has for decades been vilified, is perfectly suited for the treatment of cancer patients.

“When it comes to cancer... cannabis just seems tailor-made,” he told doctors in Montego Bay on Sunday.

Dr Vendryes promoted medicinal cannabis as a potent antidote for pain.

“It's extraordinarily good for pain, including cancer pain. It is good for depression, helps you to sleep better. A cancer patient would often be faced with many of these problems — this is an amazing intervention,” Dr Vendryes said.

He also pointed to, among other things, the positive impact that cannabis has on improving appetite, which augurs well for cancer patients who oftentimes refuse to eat.

“On the one hand, it powerfully improves the immune system function, which is critical in the fight against cancer. On the other hand, it helps to improve things like appetite. Many, many people who suffer from cancer end up dying from malnutrition. They lose their appetite, they can't eat and so their deterioration gets worse — cannabis helps that. It helps to deal with things like nausea, and even if you were taking chemotherapy drugs for cancer, cannabis will reduce the problems that the drug causes.

He was sharing the benefits of medicinal cannabis to medical practitioners at a Doctor's Breakfast put on by Zimmer and Company at the Wexford Court Hotel on Sunday.

Dr Vendryes noted that members of the medical profession will eventually be forced to accept the value of cannabis as a potent medicine.

“I believe that the profession will be forced, even if they are unwilling to pay attention to medical cannabis. It offers such a useful way of improving people's health and well-being with minimal side effects that we just can't ignore it. Cannabis is an amazing plant with lots of medical benefits,” he noted.

“Of course, particularly in Jamaica here, where there has been so much prejudice against cannabis, [there] is understandably a resistance but the mounting medical evidence has been so overwhelming and positive that it would be virtually intellectually dishonest for the profession to turn its back,” Dr Vendryes continued.

However, he was quick to note that cannabis should not be looked at as a panacea.

“Don't look at it as a magic bullet because there are natural things you can also do to improve your own endocannabinoid system: diet, exercise, getting sunshine, [and] having adequate rest. There are a whole slew of things.

“There are also other kinds of herbs that help this system to work better. The cannabis that your body makes is made from omega-3 fatty acids. So, for instance, supplements from omega-3 fatty acids would help that system to work better. So the amazing thing is that we can find ways to improve the function of this built-in cannabinoid system in the body —many things will work better. Taking cannabis is one of many ways you can achieve this,” Dr Vendryes argued.

Based in Montego Bay, Zimmer and Company has secured its pharmacy wholesale distribution licence, which permits legal sale of its more than 50 hemp-based cannabidiol products, such as vape, oils, tablets, skincare products, to pharmacies, doctors and hospitals on the island.

— Horace Hines

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