Imagine yourself powerless as you watch a good friend struggle with a mental conundrum! It is as if he is under the influence of an unmitigated psychotropic experience that’s onset caught him unaware. It has taken between twenty and forty minutes for him to explain the significance of something that is very real to him. And imagine, as it turns out, the statement that he is making means a great deal to you too? While listening you find myself tripping over yourself self trying to guess the word that his recently injured brain is trying to submit verbally in order to carry forward the thread of the conversation you have been having.
“Whenever we speak of the mind - making up our mind, improving our mind, changing our mind - we are actually referring to activities carried out by our brain” said neurologist Richard Restak, MD, in his National Geographic published book Mysteries of the Mind. “Mind” he goes on to say, “is simply a commonly employed descriptive term for the operations of the brain.”
So as your friend speaks you sense that his brain has a “vision” of what he wants to express, there is a tangible spark of the thought that is front of his mind, but as the thought arrives at the place where the idea needs to be vocalised, the thought finds itself enmeshed in a kind of traffic jam the likes of which you find in say India's New Deli during rush hour! That chaos appears to rob him of a key word that finishes his sentence, and this happens just as the word is about to leave his lips. This embarrassingly causes him to halt suddenly while in full stride.
Why is this happening?
Insert yourself into a hypothetical situation where you are having an intense conversation with someone who is close and as you speak the word that “in your mind” was ideally suited and perfect to express the point that you are making suddenly disappears!
So where did the word go? Hypothetically the enigma is like a metaphoric highwayman suddenly jumping into the road in ambush, abruptly robbing a word that was there a fraction of a second ago, and with the loss of the word, so too disappears the coherence of the sentence!
Now in your mind look into your empathic crystal ball while you as you participating in the conversation and try, as you guess-gaze into the near future, then quickly using your guesses, try offer suggestions that you know are pathetic attempts to read another person’s mind as they talk. This is no easy task. By trying to guess and insert the word for him, all you are doing is creating negative self awareness, and making it even harder for your friend to state his case. It might seem to you that all you have succeeded in doing is drawing more attention to the titanic struggle involving a panicked word search within his brain. This knock on effect is significant enough to cause embarrassment and a loss of dignity that only results in escalating levels of stress and frustration.
Typically, since you are well acquainted friends, one tends to naturally jump in motivated by the empathetic desire to help, but ends up making the situation more difficult. Speak of the road to hell being paved by good intentions!
Never-the-less our friend is not the kind of guy to give up easily. On the contrary, he shows a kind of tenacity that the Americans refer to as grit and bears a well intended spirit that is always in control of his emotions. You confirm this as you observe his outwardly chilled demeanour, while internally he is activating the neurological processes that are involved in deconstructing that hypothetical traffic jam. Imagine as you watch, you see in his eyes, as he is slowly redirecting and finding new pathways, creating order in that neurological chaos. Our friend is a classic engineer and sports a temperament that for his lifetime, has been geared to problem solving. Grabbing his cell phone he points to a low resolution calendar of last year and points to the day when he and his fiancé discovered that he had a cocktail tomato sized tumour growing in the Temporal Lobe on the left hand side of his brain. He explains in broken phrases, coming to the point eventually, and in the process described in broken English that he is very lucky to be alive.
The brain cancer diagnosis was the culmination of a long agonising process where his behaviour was changing inexplicably in ways that led to a collective realisation, between him and his fiancée, that something was terribly wrong. The pinnacle for him, came he said, on the day when he was writing a final on-line exam for a post-grad qualification on property management and development. He was adding this somewhat minor accolade to a Masters in Engineering and an MBA, so the course, one would assume, this puny test, should have been a walk in the park?
But this was not the case and he explained how he found that he was really battling to recollect information from memory during the exams. These were learnings that should have been instantaneously available, but were very difficult to remember at the time of the test.
A cascade of medical appointments with appropriate medical specialists followed, that included the scan that identified the tumour. And then, by the focused effort of his fiancée, a sheer miracle occurred when a “top 5 in the world” neurosurgeon - only due to an unforeseen cancellation in the doctors schedule - was able to perform urgent life-saving surgery.
At the moment of the operation in July 2022 the collective medical consensus was that our friend had less than five months to live. The changes in his behaviour were caused by the slow pressure to his brain brought on increasingly by the invasive tumour that had birthed above and behind his left ear.
The human brain is the most incomprehensible part of the body and there is much about its nature that is yet to be understood. It follows that having a world class neurosurgeon available to perform a surgical procedure at short notice, in South Africa, is nothing short of a miracle. Following a harrowing 4 hour surgery and eventual discharge, our friend slowly dealt with the incredulous reality of learning to read and write again. His family rose to the occasion and stood by him every step of the way
Then in early December, adding insult to injury, a follow-up CT scan just under six months after the first surgery, the doctors saw in the scans some unexplained tissue in the area of the original tumour. This marker was of such a concern that they put the already traumatised man under the knife yet again. However, second time lucky and the prognosis following the second operation was positive. The biopsy results showed that the second tissue removed was largely Necrotic tissue - dead cancer cells!
Talk about good news where only bad had existed up until that point! Good but mentally expensive news. Why mentally expensive you might ask? The answer to that question lies buried in the complex nature of the Brain and the myriad of functions that it performs. After a major insult to the brain such as the swelling tumour, followed by two visits to the surgery, where after a myriad of post-traumatic conditions can potentially exist, imposes twice the risk of long term neurological harm.
When injury causes the whole Brain’s system to be traumatised we imagine metaphorically the effect on the hard drive of a dropped computer, some of the the files, particularly those in the area of the trauma, have lost their connective pathways to the central processor. The information is there in the files but the connections are no longer joined.
In order to repair itself, the Brain has a very special healing potential that neurologists refer to as Plasticity. This is an aspect of healing where the brain learns about and develops new pathways around the area that has suffered the damage, involves working around the traumatised area, reconnecting the system and slowly regaining functionality. This does not mean that the “old” person comes back and regains their previous practicality however. Rather it means is that there is a new person who emerges on the other side of the injury, and that, with time and work on redeveloping the neurological pathways, this process of brain plasticity potentially offers a degree of healing . And so, a new person is now emerging into the world.
Add too to this story an aspect of healing that is so unconventional in that our friend has been systematically administering a Cannabis extract product that was developed initially, in isolation from traditional medicine to assist with managing Brain injury induced epilepsy. Our friend has witnessed first hand, with his engineer’s curiosity, how another person’s healing occurred over decades of recovery using the product that we call Entourage Oil. So with some irony, he is familiar with Entourage Oil and trusts that there is value in it’s application in his own healing process. Alongside the pair of radical surgical procedures that he has endured there was no hesitation towards using a medicinal plant extraction as an adjunct to the conventional Chemotherapy and Radiation medicine that he has been treated with, post operations. A twice a day consumption of Entourage Oil is on his list of “To Do’s”. This self medication began from the moment of the first Cancer diagnosis. Our friend is not the first to use Entourage Oil in such circumstances either, see the blog articles presented here previously - read the story of our favourite Cancer survivor and subsequent Iron Man finisher.
During the conversation our friend explains that he believes that he has experienced a direct benefit and much improved healing, that has flowed as a direct result of rigorous application of Entourage Oil. The neurologist who produced the second post-op report said that he was amazed at the amount of healing at the site of the surgery to remove the deeply seated tumour, and this surgeon he said, was surprised by the existence of so much necrotic tissue - dead cancer cells.
We understand that due to the allopathic lack of faith in Cannabis as a therapeutic, and readers of this article will likely understand, that the will to do such research is not backed by the funding required in this field, we will all agree that none of us know for a fact what effect Cannabis has Cancer cells. Our next step, having a few such questions and a hypothetical list of boxes to tick, is to use the internet and do some investigation and would you know it - there are multiple examples of published, peer reviewed scientific papers that speak to this issue. Here is an example - the renowned Neurologist and researcher of the therapeutic potential of the cannabis sativa plant, Professor Ethan Russo in a paper that he published in 2018 entitled
Cannabis Therapeutics and the Future of Neurology
The paper is easy to read and to some extent understand, and it covers the basics of cannabis therapeutics including
the list of active ingredients found in cannabis extracts and the popular the Cannabinoids THC and CBD, and the Terpenes or essential oils, such as Caryophyllene and Pinene that Lab Tests indicated where present in abundance in Entourage Oil. This combination of synergistic ingredients are obviously found in cannabis plant stains or chemovars of cannabis sativa plants that are used in the manufacture of Entourage Oil. Prof Russo’s paper clearly indicates what biological actions these chemicals have and what neurological maladies they might be used to treat.
Here is a short except from the “Abstract” section of the paper:
“This review will examine the intriguing promise that recent discoveries regarding cannabis-based medicines offer to neurological therapeutics by incorporating the neutral phytocannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), their acidic precursors, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabis terpenoids in the putative treatment of five syndromes, currently labelled recalcitrant to therapeutic success, and wherein improved pharmacological intervention is required: intractable epilepsy, brain tumours, Parkinson disease (PD), Alzheimer disease (AD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI)/chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).”
Professor Russo alludes in the section in the paper on CANNABIS AND BRAIN TUMOURS to the idea that humans have used cannabis as a plant based therapeutic since the time of the Ancient Egyptian Copts, so this is nothing new. In the paper he speaks about how THC has been shown to be cytotoxic to cancerous tumour cells. Among all the other neurological conditions discussed that might benefit from cannabis therapeutics, there is a section on CANNABIS AND TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY and here we find an explanation of the wonderful neuro-protective antioxidant effects of cannabinoids THC and CBD. Effectively we have ticked two boxes related to the subject of this discussion by simply reading those two sections of Professor Russo's scientific paper.
So there is a growing abundance of knowledge available on-line - use Google - such as this wide ranging paper that was published in 2018 in the US governmental website Pub Med Central under the section Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience and many of them are free to view, download and print.
At the conclusion of the discussion our friend made it abundantly clear which side of the cannabis healing argument he rests. His journey, along with many other Entourage Oil supporters, have felt a remarkable wellness effect and that is certainly a point worth making.
Russo EB. Cannabis Therapeutics and the Future of Neurology.
Front Integr Neurosci. 2018 Oct 18;12:51. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2018.00051.
PMID: 30405366; PMCID: PMC6200872