Diagnosed a year ago in July, Harold Pearman and his loving wife Debbie are fighting his Renal Cell Carcinoma with the help of hard-pressed cannabis tablets. Harold lost his right kidney from the disease years ago. Now, it’s reared its ugly head again in a batch of x-rays doctors took of his body last year. “It’s in my rib cage and spine and the doctors say it’s metastasized,” he said. It’s Stage 4 at this point.
Harold receives chemotherapy pills and radiation, but it’s his recent addition of cannabis pills to his regimen that is bearing the most apparent results.
“Good news from the docs,” says his wife Debbie, who also started taking the cannabis pills to battle her own issues with insomnia and anxiety. The most recent MRI reveals one of Harold’s tumors has shrunk in size! “We are even overachieving, in one doctor’s opinion.”
The 60-something-year-old couple aren’t tokers by any means. “He wouldn’t have smoked it (cannabis),” said Debbie, “and I don’t think at my age I would either.” Debbie quit smoking cigarettes 20 years ago so she is adamant about keeping smoke out of her lungs. “Pot pills don’t do that at all,” she says.
Debbie and Harold believe it’s the cannabis pills that is healing them both. Admittedly, they say it could be radiation or chemotherapy, but the timeline of medications shows huge improvements in health once marijuana was introduced into their routine as a medicine.
Marijuana pills are an untapped product in the legal marketplace. According to BDS Analytics, cannabis pills experienced 180 percent YTD growth from 2015 to 2016. In comparison, chocolate edibles saw a mere 4 percent and other marijuana candies experienced 84 percent YTD growth over the same period.
Companies like Stratos and Altus are interested in expanding the cannabis pill offerings within the cannabis market. The Colorado-based marijuana company, Stratos, started in 2014 when the edibles market was known for its inconsistent dosing. Bradley Orr is the CEO of Stratos, and he remembers the times when people would take a gummy feeling nothing and then take another, with both eventually hitting the system and feeling that overwhelming effect. “With our product, its consistent. The variance batch to batch is less than 2 percent.”
Stratos considers themselves a medically-minded company, with a team of employees formerly employed in the pharmaceutical industry. They have people on board who were previously tasked with formulating, developing, and validating highly scheduled DEA and FDA regulated medications.
“Pills are a product that people are familiar with,” says Orr. “For better or worse, people love to take a pill to fix their problems.” Some advantages of hard-pressed pharmaceutical tablets and their unique formulation of delivery mechanism is that they have anecdotal testing that shows it’s extremely consistent when it comes to dosing.
Some benefits of cannabis pills:
- Precise dosing
- Sugar free, vegan, gluten free
- Consistent delivery mechanism
Understanding the bioavailability of a product is so important when it comes to cannabis oil – it’s how efficiently the body can take the medicine into one’s system. If you have THC inconsistently distributed throughout a chocolate, for example, you’re relying on a globule of chocolate to hit the stomach lining and hoping the ratio is there to get a gradual uptake. With the pill delivery and the formulation, Stratos has worked for years on their ratio for a clean, even uptake.
Stratos also grows their own cannabis because vertical integration is important to Orr. “We attempt to do everything right and use our own high-quality trim and flower.” They use CO2 in their extraction process and adhere to the highest standards of GMP; they even have their own Stratos processing and delivery drivers.
Before taking the cannabis pills, Harold’s doctors prescribed big pharma’s ‘fake-cannabis’ called Marinol to enhance his appetite and help with his nausea. The 2.5mg of Marinol didn’t help. “There were no benefits and I didn’t feel anything,” he said. “And with 100 percent certainty when I was on Votrient I had gastrointestinal problems.” Harold started using the cannabis pills and 90 percent of his stomach issues were gone in 24 hours and in 48 hours, he says he was 100 percent normal.
Prior to the pills, they tried using a concentrated cannabis oil. But Harold never used pot before in his life.
“To get a drop of it and have it measure the same amount was impossible, it could be a 50 percent difference from the way you dispense it,” he explained, “so we didn’t like the back and forth.” His main complaints were that the oil was extremely hard to dose and he was getting really, really high. “He didn’t last long on the oil,” said Debbie. “He was seeing Elvis.”
Today, Harold continues to take the Stratos brand pills. He takes the CBD pills during the day and two of their ‘Sleep’ pills (10mg) every night. “Helps with pain a little bit and my stomach problems are gone – I’ll stay on it to just stop the stomach problems.” Remember, everyone’s dosing is different and they should consult with their medical professionals.
Debbie takes a 10 mg ‘Sleep’ pill as well for insomnia and anxiety. She was taking either Ambien or Lunestra for 20 years before she swapped them for the cannabis pills. “It’s great to get off the toxic garbage the doctors give,” she says. “I ate in the middle of the night with the Ambien and would text people and not remember.” Once, on a trip to Florida, Debbie had no idea she was sleepwalking to her car until she woke up the next morning and saw the owner’s manual taken from the car to her counter inside. “It’s scary not to know your whereabouts.”
For their purposes, Debbie and Harold are at a place where it’s not affecting them in a negative way. “We’ve both been very open-minded and intrigued since we first started reading the news about what Charlotte’s Web strain was doing for patients,” Debbie says. “There’s a story not getting out here and we hope to change that by telling our story because there must be millions of people fighting these same issues we are having and there’s a possible cure with cannabis.”
If there’s one point Harold wants to get across it’s that chemotherapy patients don’t have to suffer the side effects of the poison. “I was so happy and pleased with the performance it had on my stomach that I wish other patients going through chemotherapy would have access to this to help fix this problem immediately.” Unfortunately, due to federal barriers in research and development, there are no clinical trials for medical marijuana. “They force your hand to do your own trial and error and dosage is a guess,” says Debbie.
For now, Harold will be staying on the cannabis pills for at least another year and see how the cancer improves. “Did the pot pills cure me? I don’t know, but it’s making me feel better.”