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Cannabis, Cancer and Chronic Illness

Cannabis journalist and cancer survivor Sharon Letts shares her story about how for her, medicinal cannabis is relieving chronic disease related to environmental toxicity.
Written by
Haley Nagasaki
March 3, 2023
September 19, 2021

Cannabis journalist Sharon Letts makes herself known by asking all the right questions. Her questions push the envelope of the mainstream media because reporters often don’t know how to ask them, or they refuse to address the correlating topic of cancer treatment and cannabis use, even if it’s only anecdotal.

A lifelong backyard and professional gardener, as well as a features writer and documentarian, Sharon first began writing for the mainstream media and now contributes to publications around the globe, including High Times and Weed World Magazine in the UK. She currently resides in beautiful Baja, California.

Sharon focuses on cannabis as a remedy, and she creates original recipes, such as potent cannabis oil extracts and herbal stacking formulations, in her kitchen apothecary.

As a cannabis and plant-based patient herself, she tells Personal Plants, “Whether my subjects are celebrities or cannabis industry CEOs, my interviews often turn into interventions, sharing what I’ve learned from my own experiences and by interviewing cannabis patients for nearly ten years.”

Early in life, Sharon learned about the therapeutic power of cannabis. Through cannabis, she says she finds relief from an information processing disorder and can focus better due to having ADD. Sharon continues using cannabis for preventative measures, though as a triumphant cancer survivor she feels her body has returned to homeostasis. With all of her experience and knowledge, she continues helping others find relief from illness by publicly and privately sharing her story and insight gathered over the years.  

Letts Blossom into Cannabis Journalism

At age twenty-four, Sharon launched a landscaping business, designing, planting and maintaining perennial borders for her clients. She enjoyed growing vegetables and flowers at home in her spare time, feeding her family straight from the garden.

“Seventeen years later, the programming director of local TV in Southern California asked me to do a gardening show. This is when HGTV was really popular and people wanted to see everyone’s gardens. So, I produced, hosted and wrote a garden-visiting show for three years and I self-cycled it to all the local access stations, and that’s how I got into television and writing.”

As a youth growing up in Redondo Beach, California, Sharon developed her gift for writing in tandem with her discovery of the cannabis plant. She was a published poet by age nineteen, several years before entering the mainstream writing scene. The link she drew between industrial chemicals and chronic illness later informed her endorsement of the cannabis plant as a wellness aid. Sharon became aware of this by living with second-generation DDT exposure on her grandmother’s farm.    

Environmental toxicity became an important pillar in Sharon’s research, which really hit home after she developed breast cancer. She found ties between toxic pesticides such as DDT and neurological disorders, and correlations between the application of noxious chemicals and the staggering statistics of breast cancer in the United States. “While my sister underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, all I did was consume cannabis oil and it went away — that’s the difference.”

Cannabis Leaves and Extracts Help Put Ailments into Remission

Sharon finds that for her, of all of her medical cannabis applications, cannabis oil extracted using an alcohol reduction is the most potent and effective treatment. At first she ingested it orally, but she has since created an even more effective delivery method in the form of a suppository. People often find the oil too potent to ingest orally, making the suppositories a popular alternative.

By circumventing the stomach and liver and entering through the “back door,” the cannabis can be absorbed straight into the bloodstream without altering the mind. The medicine can also ease menstrual cramps and can be used by cancer patients of all kinds.  

At the time Sharon was treating her breast cancer, she also incorporated raw cannabis leaves into her diet, either in salads, smoothies, or juiced. From her doctor, Sharon also learned that juicing the leaves was incredibly helpful for one of her doctor’s patients suffering from the painful autoimmune disease Lupus.

“A young woman with Lupus came to [my doctor] from another state on twenty-three different meds. He ended up helping her start juicing and she went into remission within six months. She was previously told she would never be able to have kids, but ended up getting off all her meds, marrying, and having two children.”

Over the years, Sharon spoke to many doctors and physicians, collected case study data, and trialed treatments to help herself and inform others, all while encouraging the proliferation of her findings in the mainstream media.

While the media blocked her from publishing content about the benefits of cannabis because of the plant’s status as a Schedule 1 drug, she never stopped spreading the word simply because she believed it was the right thing to do. Sharon eventually got the green light and shared the story of the woman who put her Lupus into remission, and then she tried the leaves for herself. The benefits astounded her.  

“We had a little tiny grow in the backyard and I started putting [the leaves] in smoothies. I would chop them up and put them in salads, and after six weeks of that, I went to my first scheduled biopsy and part of the mass was gone. This was the summer of 2012. I told [the doctor] I didn’t want a biopsy if part of the mass was gone, I didn’t want anything invasive. I bartered six-to-eight more weeks and started doing the oil orally, and I slept a lot because it was really strong, but sleeping is healing. By the time the second biopsy rolled around, it was gone. Completely gone.”  

Serendipitously, the American Cancer Society then invited her to participate in a thirty-year survey on prevention. The first question asked, “Do you smoke marijuana?”  

“So I wrote the American Cancer Society and I told them who I was and what I was going through and why I was in the program, because I was never actually diagnosed. I said everyone on my grandmother’s farm, including my mom, her uncle, every aunt — they all died of cancer from DDT. We now know that DDT stays in the bloodlines for five generations; it does not go away.

Sharon Turns Over a New Leaf

Sharon’s truth-seeking determination coupled with her career in journalism spurred a tsunami of groundbreaking information that flooded the field of natural and alternative health. While there’s no conclusive way of saying that cannabis cures cancer, it can be said anecdotally that many patients with chronic illness find relief while using the plant. Fortunately for OG cannabis warriors like Sharon, this information that was once on the fringe has nestled its way into the mainstream dialogue for all to hear.

She continues writing cutting-edge content for many platforms. Her current projects include Kitchen Apothecary for Weed World UK and High Times’ Higher Profiles series, where she recently profiled Amanda Reiman, founder of Personal Plants. Sharon also writes a Women of Weed World series for Weed World Magazine and has now decided to turn her What’s in Your Stash column for High Times into a TV show with Montel Williams.

Sharon says it’s time to embrace book publication as the next step in her career, after having spent ten years working in magazines. With a television series coming down the pike, and a book in the works, Sharon is expanding beyond journalism tailored to the weed choir. By returning to the mainstream, her wisdom could make a powerful impact on first-time users and the canna-curious seeking to better their health naturally.  

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