The Founder, Niola Cancer Care Foundation, Mrs Eniola Akintunde has called on the federal and state governments to legalise marijuana, as this would help cancer patients beat the pain associated with the scourge.
She said cancer patients in Nigeria experience unimaginable and excruciating pain because there are no dedicated palliative hospices for them.
Stating this during a chat with THISDAY recently, she said Nigeria has more late stage cancer patients than hospitals can manage, adding that such persons were supposed to be taken to hospices where their pain can be managed.
She said: “We shouldn’t allow our late stage cancer patients on palliative care to die in excruciating pain. We have cannabis which can help their condition, yet we are silent about it, which has given room for other persons to use them in a negative way.
“The benefits this substance will have on cancer patients are enormous. Governments should think this through and make it available for the sake of our brothers, sisters and children who go through the pain of cancer.
“Governments should find a way to enhance the benefits of cannabis. We know it is a sensitive issue, but we have to start the conversation. We have this ‘medicine’ in abundance in Nigeria.”
Akintunde, who lost her husband to colorectal cancer years ago, said because of the intense pain that comes with late stage cancer, her late husband was taken to India where he was not allowed to experience pain before he died.
“What the government doesn’t know is that people are secretly growing them in abundance in many states and many youths are using them to harm themselves, but if this is controlled and regulated, it will only be used for the benefit of mankind.”
While marijuana, popularly known as weed in Nigeria, is a controversial topic in Nigeria, global health experts believe it has a side beneficial for medical purpose.
According to experts, marijuana has active ingredients called cannabinoids that can help regulate a number of biological functions in many organisms. Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid that has many potential applications in cancer and other serious medical conditions.