A Coventry woman is campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis as she claims that the drug cured her of terminal cancer.
Joy Smith, 52, was diagnosed with stomach and bowel cancer and given just six weeks to live in 2016, but, two years on, she is close to being declared cancer free.
She attributes this miraculous recovery to regular consumption of THC cannabis oil, a substance that is illegal in the UK.
“When you’re told you have six weeks to live you’ll try anything, trust me,” says Joy, who had several inoperable tumours in her stomach and bowel.
“I was a bit sceptical about the oil at first as I’d never taken drugs or anything like that – but I know I would not be here today without it.
“I want to tell everybody. Cannabis oil should be legalised for medical purposes – people are dying and the chemotherapy isn’t curing them.”
Joy had previously been attending chemotherapy three days a week, every two weeks, but her treatment was stalled after she developed sepsis from it.
Her friends encouraged her to try THC cannabis oil after researching it online. One of them gave her a tablet to start her off.
“She (her friend) said ‘open your mouth’ – I didn’t want to take it at first, I didn’t know what it was. Afterwards I felt drunk, all the nurses were looking at me and I was trying to act normal. I couldn’t speak, my words just slurred out,” explains Joy.
THC is the active ingredient in cannabis – the part of the marijuana plant that makes users feel high – and is as such illegal in the UK, whether in leaf form, resin or, as Joy consumed, as cannabis oil.
Joy researched the drug further online and her friends managed to source her a regular supply of it. She read on the internet about a case in the United States in which a woman had been cured of cancer via cannabis oil and spoke to her doctors about the potential for her to try it as well.
“I was looking for reassurance. I wanted to know if anyone had ever been cured by it,” she says.
“I was taking it on and off. But when I’d been having it three to five times a week, the scans were getting better and then when I stopped taking it the scans showed no change.
“At first I was only taking a tiny drop the size of about half a grain of rice. Sometimes it takes hours to kick in and sometimes it’s straight away. You do get stoned and you get very tired. It made me want to sleep so I tend to just stay in bed when I’ve taken it.”
On top of her recovery, Joy says that she entered a competition while high and ended up winning herself £84,000 (US$116,000).
“I would have been stoned in bed and I entered an ITV competition, it must have been a text to win one. I went to Spain for a scan to see if they could pick up where the cancer had started because the doctors here couldn’t tell me.
“When they saw my scan, they told me the cancer had disappeared. I’d saved myself by using cannabis oil. I’d just got back from the trip when Loose Women phoned me to tell me I’d won £84,000 – I thought they were winding me up!”
She was already in the process of working through her bucket list – everything that she had wanted to do before she died – when the cancer began to recede and she got her winnings.
Joy concluded: “I did everything I wanted to do. The money doesn’t even feel real at the moment, it’s just so surreal. It’s been a whirlwind.”