However, they came up when Chett Goldin, nutritionist, motivational speaker, and healer, fielded queries like these from the audience, mostly senior-citizen members of the UJW, and definitely an unlikely band of potential cannabis users. He spoke about Healing with Cannabinoids.
The audience was packed, but this is no surprise, considering that medical cannabis and its sidekick CBD oil (the plant without the THC ingredient which causes the high) is now so mainstream and its therapeutic medical benefits like pain-relief, anxiety, and insomnia-relief are so widely touted.
In fact, the crowd just happens to be the perfect audience for the subject matter, says the former boy from Orange Grove in Johannesburg. “Cannabis works very effectively on slightly older people. Because aging causes metabolism and digestion to slow down, a little will work far more efficiently than on a younger person who will need to take a lot more to try bring their body into balance.”
Israeli studies supports its efficacy on the senior-citizen demographic. Research shows that among 2 000 people aged 65 and older with cancer symptoms, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder among other conditions, 90% reported that medical cannabis helped ease their symptoms by about 50%.
Other Israeli studies show that besides alleviating the side effects of cancer, cannabis eases some symptoms including seizures and depression in children with autism.
In fact, Goldin says Israel is a pioneer in medical cannabis research.
Goldin altered his life path after a life-changing prognosis. “At the age of 20, I woke up and couldn’t move – my back had locked. I was diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis.” The doctor told him that by the age of 30 he would need to be on chronic medication and by 40, he would be in a wheelchair.
“But it kicked me into gear. In that moment, I had a realisation – an awareness – that that prognosis wasn’t going to be my reality. No one has the right to tell you that this is going to be your future with any certainty.”
You see, Goldin is a believer in miracles. “They occur all the time. I’ve seen them happen.”
He says at that point he started asking himself, “What if being healthy is just a choice?” So, Goldin, now wary of Big Pharma and more conventional medical doctrine, went on a study fest to try to understand himself and his new disease. “Until that time, I had little respect for my body,” he says.
He soon qualified as a registered holistic nutritionist, and went on to research Western and Eastern medicine, energy healing, counselling, biokinetics, as well as counselling and occupational therapy.
He believes, however, that healing is not just about hitting the books, saying, “Knowledge without awareness and intuition is a blunt tool.”
After throwing himself into the study of the healing properties of cannabis, he formed his company Clinical Cannabis Consultations, where he integrates supplementation, diet, exercise, lifestyle, hands-on-healing, and natural remedies. He will mix a bespoke cannabis cocktail for a patient – “drops are good, so people can start off with small doses” – depending on the symptoms. “There is no one-size-fits-all formulation – every person is unique.”
He’s also, importantly, studied how cannabis reacts in combination with other drugs that a patient may be taking.
When asked whether cannabis is suitable for insomnia, Goldin’s answer is a definite yes. And, he doesn’t believe that going to get a doctor’s prescription for a sleeping pill is the answer. “That is not dealing with an underlying issue: the stress and the cause of it. I always wonder, ‘What is this person choosing, that if he didn’t choose it, would change everything?’
Goldin believes stress is the cause of many diseases. “When a person gets stressed, their brain chemistry changes, and cannabis oil will help balance it. Cannabis mimics a hormone called anandamide: the bliss hormone, creating a sense of tranquillity which moves through the whole body.”
But he also strongly recommends yoga, deep breathing, exercise, and a good diet “to help make better building blocks for a better body” and to help counter what he calls “toxicity stored in the body”.
If you’re just looking for a quick high, Goldin may not be your man. He cautions that he’s always looking for the middle line – not a high itself, just a sense of well-being and relaxation.
Drops are increased incrementally or suppositories used to avoid feeling drugged-up. (Although he concedes that some terminal cancer patients can benefit from a high.)
As for relief from cancer symptoms, he believes cannabis and chemotherapy work very well together.
Goldin, who describes cancer as the “body serving you divorce papers”, nevertheless says that cannabis in itself will not cure anything. “You are the cure. The choices you’re going to make are the cure.” He believes that we have to all wrestle with the question: what is causing this particular disease?
“Cannabis is the bucket that helps you scoop the water out of your life raft that is now sinking because it’s got a puncture in it. But there comes a time you’ll have to fix the life raft. Cannabis will help, but it’s not a silver bullet.”
Still, it’s devoid of toxic side effects. “You’re not destroying your liver or kidneys as with some chronic medication. Not only is cannabis going to be able to shut down your pain, bring brain chemistry back into balance, help you sleep better, and elevate your mood, you don’t need to take a drug to combat the side effects like you would with some pharmaceutical drugs.”
Certainly, when Goldin’s body spoke, he listened. And just as importantly, there was no wheelchair in the room.
- The Constitutional Court ruled last year that personal cultivation and use of cannabis is not a criminal offence.