Paul Lawrence is a 53-year-old cancer patient from Australia who says medical marijuana is the only way to treat the pain he lives with after surgeons removed massive tumors from his back. And to help spread the word, he’s just released shocking photos of the massive tumors that once threatened to crush his spinal cord.
Six years ago, Lawrence was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors soon discovered a rare kind of tumor called a chordoma. The tumor was about the size of a soccer ball, and it covered vast portions of his back.
Doctors initially told him they wouldn’t be able to remove the tumor since it was too close to his spine. They predicted he had no more than one month to live.
Eventually, though, Lawrence found a doctor willing to give it a shot. To get rid of the tumor, the surgeon had to cut out three vertebrae, which he replaced with an elaborate system of titanium rods.
And while Lawrence is happy the tumors are gone, he’s had to deal with excruciating pain every day as a result of the operation.
Doctors initially gave him a cocktail of prescription painkillers. But Lawrence said the pills caused even more problems. That’s when he turned to medical marijuana.
“That sh*t doesn’t fix itself. That sh*t hurts every single day,” Lawrence said.
” were making me ill. They were killing me. I had a hangover for 2.5 days and vomited violently and sweated for taking sleeping pills and painkillers for too long.”
But after he began smoking medical marijuana all that changed.
“Just smoking pot gives you the opportunity to psychologically break a little bit away from the pain and bring about a pain-free barrier. It’s just giving your mind the opportunity to drift away from it.”
After his experiences with both prescription drugs and with medical marijuana, Lawrence is becoming an outspoken advocate for legalizing cannabis.
He released photos of his tumors and his surgeries in the hopes that it would inspire people to get on board.
In the U.S., the National Institute on Drug Abuse recently updated its official fact sheet on cannabis. The change came after some animal studies found that marijuana could be used to kill certain types of cancer cells as well as to shrink some brain tumors.