Despite it being considered one of the most healing plants on the planet, it’s only been in the last few years that South Africans have really sat up and started taking notice of the medicinal benefits of cannabis. We spoke to Ballito ‘cannabis guru’ Kelly McQue about how the, now legal, use of marijuana can help treat and prevent health ailments.
When Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago, at the age of 34, she knew she wanted as little ‘conventional’ medical intervention as possible. “I watched my grandfather go through chemotherapy and saw what it ended up doing to him. I didn’t want that for myself.”
Instead, Kelly started researching online. “I stumbled onto a video made by a man named Rick Simpson where he spoke about making and using cannabis oil and I literally believe this saved my life,” she says.
Kelly’s daughter Libby was 18 months old at the time and, she says, she was still struggling with post-natal depression. Despite this, and her recent diagnosis, Kelly made the decision to take her health into her own hands and starting experimenting with cannabis oil.
“This was 2012 and there was nowhere to buy it from. I had to make it myself. I started trying different recipes and came up with my own version. Three months later I went for another scan and we saw that the tumor was shrinking. It was very exciting!”
The process was all very ‘trial and error’, says Kelly, who admits to having taken too much at first and having to learn about her dosing. “I started feeling better emotionally, and was able to leave the house, become more organised and start eating healthily and sleeping again.” All of this, she believes, contributed towards her healing process.
When Kelly heard about a family friend with renal cancer who was going through chemo, running out of medical aid and getting sicker by the day, she encouraged him to take the oil with her.
Eight months after her initial diagnosis Kelly was given the ‘all clear’ from her doctor. The family friend in question is healthy and turned 90 years old last year.
“My entire cancer treatment cost me less than R2000 from beginning to end. The message I want to get across though, is that while cannabis does heal, it isn’t a ‘quick fix’. It brings you to a place where you are able to cope with life and make better choices regarding your health and lifestyle – all of which contribute towards you healing yourself. You can’t keep behaving in the way that made you sick in the first place and expect to get better.”
Since then, the use of cannabis oil has spread like wildfire. “It’s quite a thing, considering this was once one of the most ‘hated’ plants on earth,” says Kelly. “And the high court ruling in September last year, which said it is our constitutional right to grow and use cannabis in the privacy of your own home, has been a game-changer.”
After her personal experience with cannabis, Kelly was inspired to educate and help as many people as possible. She started a blog, consulted with and taught people how to make and use their own oil and eventually started her Facebook page called ‘Canna Kitchen’. Here she inspires people to use cannabis in different ways – whether it’s smoking it (clean of course, without any tobacco), using it as medicine or cooking with it. She is currently working on her first book, At Home with Cannabis, which is being published by Penguin Struik and will be out early next year.
Kelly has also started hosting cannabis wellness retreats, which combine the use of cannabis with yoga, meditation and plant-based meals, while staying at a beautiful getaway destination.
“I am passionate about helping and empowering people to grow their own plants and make their own medicine. This is arguably the safest medication in the world – no one has ever died from it. I was able to heal myself without help from doctors and others can do it too. Mine is not a unique story, you just have to trust yourself.”
In honour of Women’s Month, we asked Kelly for some examples of how cannabis can be used specifically for women:
* For breast or any hormonal cancer;
* For anxiety, depression, stress and sleep problems – all common amongst women;
* For the management of menstrual pain;
* To clear the body of toxins;
* It helps stimulate brain regeneration and reverse nerve damage;
* Helps with pain management;
* It’s less addictive than both coffee and chocolate!
Details: www.thecannabisguru.co.za / [email protected]
Text: Leah Shone