Brent McCarthy is a long-time Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) patient advocating for Cannabis consumption for chronic pain and cancer.
After he lost his aunt to cancer and his fiancé was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (a type of kidney cancer), he uses his voice to help others who might be in the same position.
McCarthy is an avid Cannabis-user and supporter of furthering the research of the plant’s healing potential. He smoked a few times a kid but was more into drinking at the time. It wasn’t until McCarthy was 32 when he started using Cannabis consciously. The legality of Cannabis made it difficult to consume consistently and the threat of punishment after consumption kept many potential users at bay.
He started using Cannabis medicinally later in his adult life, after an industrial accident while working as a commercial construction worker. He broke his T-12 and T-1 vertebrates, and additionally broke his hip and femur.
To top it off, McCarthy was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a common issue that affects a person’s GI tract – often related to stress.
After dealing with chronic pain stemming from brutal accidents on the job, McCarthy opted for an official OMMP card in 2002. In McCarthy’s experience, Cannabis strains with the cannabinoid CBD work best to manage his chronic pain.
“HE STARTED USING CANNABIS MEDICINALLY LATER IN HIS LIFE, AFTER AN INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT AS A CONSTRUCTION WORKER.”
“I prefer some CBD in there. Stephen Hawking’s Kush by Alphakronik has been a godsend – or, a hard indica. I love purples and Grand Daddy Purple [GDP] is one of my favorites. I’m a big fan of the old strains like God Bud or Panama Red too,” said McCarthy.
CBD is an excellent cannabinoid for those dealing with chronic pain. CBD is recognized as an anti-inflammatory ally for those who want to skip opioids, but still, keep pain levels under control. The Cannabis genetics company Alphakronik created an entire CBD seed line for medical users like McCarthy. McCarthy sticks to full-extract Canna-bis oil, or FECO and dabs mostly. Full-extract oil is an excellent choice for patients who are on a budget but still want a powerful dose of Cannabis. McCarthy said he relies on “FECO for long-term pain issues and dabs for acute pain relief.”
After he lost his aunt to cancer almost five years ago, McCarthy became an outspoken advocate for Cannabis treatment in cases of cancer and helps patients with access-ing the medicine they need to heal. His fiancé Marissa, was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma, a kidney cancer that originates in the lining of the proximal convoluted tubule, a part of the very small tubes in the kidney that transport primary urine. RCC is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults, responsible for approximately 90 to 95 percent of cases. “She has been fighting this cancer for six years and moved to Oregon from Chicago for Cannabis access. She and I just had a child by a surrogate, so we can harvest stem cells from the umbilical cord and hopefully save her life and get rid of cancer for good. I never thought in my wildest dreams at 46 I’d be a father again. But you’ll go to any length for someone you love,” he said. Despite McCarthy’s success with using Cannabis, there are challenges to using Cannabis as a treatment option in today’s climate.
McCarthy said access is much more difficult nowadays when you need large amounts of material for daily medicine. The limit of one ounce (28 grams) of flower per day that was changed back in August of 2018, has affected OMMP in Oregon dramatically, pinching their access to higher quantities when buying from local retailers. When dealing with massive amounts of chronic pain or cancer (like McCarthy’s fiancé), OMMP patients must have access to the amounts of Cannabis they need to heal themselves. Recent draconian changes ushered in by the OLCC at the expense of medical patients, who are unfairly blamed for “unregulated market activity” in recent months. Patients like McCarthy, his fiancé Marissa and patients in similar situations, are put at a serious disadvantage due to the state’s insatiable regulatory greed on all things Cannabis.