Medical marijuana eases pain for terminally ill, family says
Rich Jester’s father Robert died from lung cancer earlier this year – a debilitating illness that can also leave patients in an opiate haze in order to numb the pain.
But Jester says he saw consciousness slip back into his father after he tried cannabis oil for the first time, which he got through an illegal underground dealer.
"He was positive, he was talking, he was eating, he was requesting food, like, ‘I want Popeyes, I want this,’ but prior to that, he didn’t want anything. We could barely get him to drink soda or water," he said.
Eventually, Robert Jester tried to get a medical marijuana card through his doctor, who refused to write a prescription and threatened to end chemotherapy if he found THC in his bloodstream.
“The doctor lost it and threatened if dad tested positive in any blood test that he would discontinue treatment and recommend them to the authorities and when you’re halfway through chemo – about 10 or 15 rounds in – you’re not going to just stop,” Jester said.
His father later returned to fentanyl, phenobarbital, Oxycodone and, ultimately, a morphine drip towards the end of his hospice care, sapping him of the energy Jester says he got through using cannabis oil.
Just this year, the General Assembly unanimously extended medical marijuana treatment to children under 18 to treat intractable epilepsy and dystonia.
Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate both support this bill, which could bode well for its chances later this year.
State officials are also mulling applications to potentially open a second or even a third dispensary. Patients in Kent and Sussex Counties have long complained about the travel distance between them and the lone dispensary just outside of Wilmington.
Those negotiations should wrap up by the end of the summer, officials say.
The bill is scheduled for debate in a House committee Wednesday afternoon