Young Cancer Patient Dies After Government Cuts Access To Cannabis
Sivan Maimoni’s death should make us pause and reconsider which matters – party politics, or making sure people have access to the medicine they need to feel well?
Credit for Feature Image: FB
Sivan Maimoni was initially prescribed cannabis oil in an effort to “stabilize her condition” notes an Israeli Breaking News Release. However, following a change of mind on behalf of Israeli medical authorities, her access to the medicine was cut off; and she has since died.
Funeral attendees were vocal, blaming her death on misguided reforms by Israeli health minister Yaakov Litzman (UTJ). Litzman’s administration has already seen criticism for these reforms, sometimes leaving thousands of patients stranded without access to medicine. One report describes an attendee at Sivan’s funeral screaming that “She died because of the health minister of the state of Israel,” and swearing revenge.
Sivan’s Cancer Treatment
Sivan’s treatment of choice was Rick Simpson oil, a highly potent oil Simpson claims saved his own life from skin cancer. She had already beat cancer once using conventional treatments and couldn’t face the chemotherapy when the cancer returned.
“She decided to take Rick Simpson oil. And it worked and she healed. The oncologists saw that she was healing” Says Roni Chanukah. Chanukah’s daughter was in the same oncology ward as Sivan. Chanukah adds that the 26-year old was winning her second bout with cancer when she lost access to treatment.
Chanukah reports that before Maimoni lost access to her treatment, she was functional and “felt good.”
Israeli Cannabis Reform
The Israeli government has come under fire multiple times. Most recently they received criticism after enacting measures to force medical cannabis provider, Tikun Olam to move, effectively stranding between 5,000 and 9,000 people without their medicine.
Tikun Olam blamed needlessly stringent government reform standards, and the Israeli health department argued that the company didn’t move quickly enough. Either way, thousands of people were used as a bargaining chip while being unable to access their medicine.
Dana Bar-On is the CEO of the Israeli Medical Cannabis Association. Bar-On suggests that situations like this are the hallmark of a poor relationship between government and suppliers. “This is just the implementation process. This is how much consideration they have for patients. They had no problem leaving 8,000 patients, some of whom are dying, with no medicine.”
Rick Simpson Oil and Cancer Treatment
Sivan’s medicine of choice in her final days was Rick Simpson Oil. Simpson is a Canadian cannabis advocate who made a name for himself after producing hemp oil he claims cured his skin cancer. Following his treatment, Simpson provided his oil, free of charge, to over 5000 people. All of this in spite of multiple police raids, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police destroying his plants multiple times.
While some skeptics dispute the cancer fighting abilities of hemp oil, Simpson has thousands of devoted followers. Simpson’s naysayers usually contend that the majority of research evidence we do have focuses on mice, or even just cell cultures; and is therefore simply too early to say what different cannabinoids do to cancerous cells. While human clinical trials of cancer and cannabis are set to go underway this year, it will still be years before we have conclusive findings even from these trials.
Cannabis Helps Cancer Patients Like Sivan Maimoni
In the meantime, we know that cannabis has huge benefits for many people fighting cancer. Cannabis is often called a cancer-patient’s best friend; because it works in synergy with common cancer treatments. Not only does it undeniably help the nausea and vomiting of chemotherapy; it also undeniably helps reduce pain.
Further, early evidence also supports the argument that CBD might work in tandem with chemotherapy. A recent study found that cannabis disrupts the pathways chemotherapy drugs use to exit tumors. In that study, cannabidiol kept chemo drugs in prostate tumors longer, letting it do further damage to the tumor; and of course performing the other medicinal benefits mentioned above (and more). These findings and others suggest that cannabis is an excellent companion for chemotherapy in cancer treatments; and therefore something horrible to be without, when you’re fighting cancer.
The Important Fight to Keep Cannabis Treatment
Ultimately, Sivan Maimoni’s is a very sad case. Losing your treatment for any condition is a terrible loss, and governments and health agencies need to work together in order to keep access to medicine constant, especially once one or the other has promised treatment.
The research on cannabis and cancer is still out, but positive anecdotal reports pile up. For now, one of the most important things cannabis provides is even simpler than nausea-relief, pain-relief, or a good night’s sleep: hope. The hope of healing through cannabis is what so many patients need. This is what can be truly devastating when the government removes it, like what happened to Sivan Maimoni; or when the government never provides it, like what has happened in the United States for decades.