Grass Roots America Magazine - September/October 2019

Page 42

TREATING CANCER WITH

CANNABIS in the OUTDOORS BY BEN OWENS

In the summer of 2003, my perception of cancer would change forever. Every year, we picked a place to go camping for a couple of weeks each summer as a family, exploring local areas, seeing the sights, and spending time in the great outdoors, away from familiar settings and routines. These trips bring back fond memories, even as I write this. That summer was different though; it was during this trip that I learned that my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The news came as a shock to both my sister and I, having been sat down by our parents during one of the last nights of the camping trip. We had been told that the trip might get cut short but weren’t told why; now we knew. My mother’s doctors had said that they would not recommend waiting any longer. Cancer changes things. It not only affects those diagnosed with it, but also those that feel the ripple effect of those changes. Cancer quite literally cut my summer camping trip in half (we went on the second “half” a few days later) and I will always remember that summer trip to the Outer Banks as full of those poignant moments where you try to soak up as much time with your loved ones as possible. Whether you or your loved one received the news by a campfire or in a hospital bed, a diagnosis of cancer changes everything about your life. Specifically, it reignites a desire to spend as much time as possible with those that are closest to you, doing what you love for as long as you are able. When my family received the news of my mother’s breast cancer, we could have stayed home, avoided any extracurriculars, and basically reduced her life to hospital beds and looking out of a window, but we didn’t. Instead, we packed up our belongings for

the second time that month and headed out for another camping trip, this time to the mountains of Asheville, NC. As a family, we decided that “making the most” of our time meant doing what we loved, and what she loved, as long as we could. For many, cancer seems like a cruel sentence, handed down by those on high, explicating that you are no longer supposed to enjoy your favorite activities with the people around you. Thanks to cannabis, many patients now have an option for extending the time that they have with their loved ones and retaining their ability to go hike, camp, run, or even take a walk in the park. Not only is a cannabis regimen helpful in mitigating symptoms and enhancing quality of life during treatment, spending time in nature has also been shown to have an impact on a patient’s ability to fight diseases and expedite recovery time.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND NATURE’S IMPACT ON HEALTH Studies have shown that the belief in nature’s healing powers isn’t just an old wive’s tale; there have been countless studies in the United States and worldwide that explicate the benefits of spending time in nature. One study examining twenty years’ of data on the role of nature in cancer patients’ lives found that the primary themes that naturally evolve from the research: “Connecting with what is valued; being elsewhere, seeing and feeling differently; exploration, inner and outer excursions; home and safe; symbolism, understanding and communicating differently; benefitting from old and new physical activities; and, enriching aesthetic experiences.”1 These themes suggest a variety of benefits that patients experience when outside or exposed to nature.

The Japanese regularly encourage people to visit natural areas to help relieve stress and improve health in a practice known as shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” where you are encouraged to take in all that the forest atmosphere has to offer. The study mentioned above goes further, offering the following conclusion based on two decades of scientific research:

“Nature provides patients with unburdened physical and psychic space invested with personal significance. Findings propose nature’s role as a ‘secure base’ offering patients a familiar and nurturing context from which new perspectives can emerge and caring connections can be made with themselves, others, the past, and the future. As such, nature supported patients to navigate the clinical and personal consequences of cancer. Comprehensive representation of cancer patients’ nature experiences identified patient values and care opportunities embedded in clinical and personal environments, which may be considered for future research and care service development.”1 42


Articles inside

COOKING WITH CANNABIS |

1min
pages 68-69

MAXINE TAYLOR'S CELESTIAL EVENTS

5min
pages 66-67

FITNESS + CANNABIS

3min
pages 64-65

THE USUAL

1min
page 63

STOMACH CANCER | Types & Treatments

3min
pages 60-61

CANCER OF THE SKIN

5min
pages 58-59

DisLIST

1min
page 47

UNDERSTANDING LEUKEMIA + THE BENEFITS OF CANNABIS

4min
pages 54-55

LIVER CANCER + THE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS

3min
pages 52-53

FIGHTING BREAST CANCER WITH KNOWLEDGE

5min
pages 50-51

BRAIN CANCER | Is cannabis the answer?

3min
pages 48-49

CANNABIS IN THE OUTDOORS

7min
pages 42-44

YOUR AD HERE

1min
page 40

Mara Gordon

8min
pages 36-39

Landon's Story

8min
pages 30-34

Bonni Goldstein

8min
pages 24-28

CANCER SUCKS | Cannabis Helps

4min
pages 19-22

RESEARCH CORNER

1min
pages 16-17

CBD + CANCER

4min
pages 14-15

CULTIVARS | Formally known as strains.

1min
page 13

Let's GROW!

1min
page 12

Medical Minute

4min
pages 10-11

GRAM Featured Writers

2min
page 7
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