Medical Marijuana Cancer Patient Booted from UCSF for Using Pot

Categories: Marijuana
angel_raich.jpg
Angeljustice.org
You gotta go
Angel Raich is busy dying. The famous marijuana activist -- who took the federal government to the Supreme Court of the United States for the right to use medical cannabis -- was, earlier this year diagnosed with an inoperable terminal brain tumor, a condition that causes frequent seizures as well as constant pain and headaches.

Told by her doctors at the University of California-San Francisco that she should prepare to die, that's what Raich, 46, is doing, one day at a time -- with purpose as well as dignity.

Except for Monday night, when she was summarily removed from the hospital at UCSF's Parnassus campus for using marijuana, according to NBC Bay Area -- which showed up for an interview that was cut short when Raich had a seizure and had to be rushed to a (different) hospital.

Now might be a good time to mention UCSF also happens to be one of the nation's teaching hospitals that researches marijuana's efficacy in treating cancer and pain.


View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

Raich has lived with her brain tumor for some time, but earlier this year she was diagnosed with radiation necrosis, a complication from radiotherapy.

Details are scant, but it appears Raich was at UCSF for tests and was using marijuana via a vaporizer at the Parnassus campus when someone -- a doctor or a pharmacist -- took offense, and told Raich that they'd "call the Feds" unless she stopped using marijuana.

"The pharmacist said, you can't use cannabis in this hospital," Raich told the television station. "That's a death sentence."

Berkeley-based Dr. Frank Lucido, Raich's primary care physician, says that Raich needs to use marijuana every two waking hours, and denying her the drug amounts to "malpractice," according to a statement on Raich's website.  "Angel will suffer imminent harm without access to cannabis."

Television viewers saw exactly what Lucido is talking about, as Raich suffered a seizure during her brief interview with NBC. Raich was then taken to St. Mary's Hospital on Stanyan Street, according to NBC.

In a statement, UCSF said that their hospital is "a smoke-free campus and this includes medical marijuana."

"Any particles from vapor and odor could have an impact on other patients and hospital employees," the statement read. "Under federal and state law, a physician is at legal risk related to any activity that could be construed as prescribing medical marijuana to a patient."

Raich gained national fame as the medical marijuana patient who took the federal government to the United States Supreme Court for the right to use medical marijuana. Her husband at the time, Oakland-based attorney Robert Raich, was one of the attorneys who argued that state law should supplant federal law, and that seriously ill Californians such as Raich have rights under the Constitution to use marijuana for medical purposes.

The Rehnquist Court disagreed, with the majority saying that the Commerce Clause gives Congress the right to ban marijuana for medical use, state law be damned. Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas joined Rehnquist, who died later that year, in supporting Raich.

Raich sued the government after DEA agents raided in 2002 a Butte County residence that housed six pot plants that provided Raich with her medicine.

It's worth mentioning that Raich is currently involved in yet another Supreme Court case, though not one you might expect. Raich filed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit filed by the state of Florida which seeks to overturn Obamacare. Oral arguments in that case, Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, are scheduled to begin later this month.

Details on Raich's current condition, and exactly what happened at UCSF were not available as of Tuesday. We'll update this post as soon as we know more.

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46 comments
killahrick
killahrick

I did chemo here for colon cancer at the age of 15 (i'm 20 now) and I just vaped in the bathrooms lol :) or brownies always worked!! I wasn't ever kicked out for it though !! That's insanely stupid. You guys all know cannabis cures cancer right? Look it up it's literally a fact. I had cancer and beat it so I should know. It wasn't the chemo. In fact they said I did not have any cancer after removing the tumor that they could see and I've been cancer free and healthy for 5 years already ! I smoke about 4-5 bowls a day and occasionally use edibles for bed time since I was 16. I quit the chemo early because it was making my body so sick, that I unconsciously( I say unconscious because I was so out of it and on meds like ativan that I don't remember much of that time) quit it. I'm verrrry glas I did too or I would have suffered even longer lasting side effects from all of the bad drugs and chemo...

Jerry
Jerry

Marijuana can be made into butter. Is that going to hurt anyone?

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

Hey, I had a most interesting chat on this with a ***** named "Linda" at Patient Relations at UCSF.  She was pathetic . . .whining and sniveling about my calling her . .. well, as I told her, if listening to people with issues with UCSF is more than you can handle, this is not a good job for you.  If ya don't wanna look at anuses, DON'T  BECOME A PROCTOLOGIST.  Please cdall UCSF and tear Miss Linda a new anal orifice before her rectocranial impaction gets worse!  And if  anyone out there wants to have a fun, and funny, demonstration, hey, let's get it going, make it fun party!  Angel didn't deserve this and I'm reallty torqued off about the issue. 

elizabeth frantes
elizabeth frantes

I recommend you call UCSF and talk to the spindoctors in patient relations.  Bombard them and demand a response.  Anyone up for a demonstration at the Parnassas campus?

housemusicisstupid.
housemusicisstupid.

I demand you realize that only stoners have enough free time to demonstrate against reasonable hospital policy.  Can you really afford to leave the Occupy camp that long for another cause anyway?  You will likely lose your place as vice president of the deluded sponges....Sunshine or Breeze will probably take your spot.  You will come back from the two person rally and then they will have taken your spot and probably taken some of your stash too.  You should probably take your pipe and your stash with you when you go to the rally because they have been eyeing that shit for a couple of days.  You know those bitches are just waiting to sneak into your tent.  Just be careful is all I'm saying....

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

Housiewousie, I'm probably older than your mother and kids like you are why I never had any.  Lots of us can't work.  And that post really makes you sound like you're chemically imbalanced and reality challenged.  In a good rant, don't speak in tongues.  Just make you look like the village idiot on crack. 

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

**** No Smoking !! ****

Next time, use edibles.

Medicalguy1
Medicalguy1

      And I suppose alcohol swabs will also be banned because of a no alcohol allowed  in their hospital policy?  C'mon, give her a break, use some common sense and display a little spark of humanity.  It has a special purpose in this particular application.  Do these Physicians actually hold licenses??  

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

t should be pointed out that the AMA does not allow member physicians to be drug tested . ..and that docs abuse some really heavy shyte.  Dunno 'bout you, but I'd say a surgeon or gaspasser flying on synthetic opiates (often "borrowed" from the patient!)  is a lot scarier to me than Angel R with a vaporizer  ....

Tiffany Beasley Rock
Tiffany Beasley Rock

What a terrible terrible way to treat a dying patient who has ever legsl right in the state of california to us use cannibas.  Very sad.

johnny15150
johnny15150

some people have cannabinoid deficient metabolism , causing them to act like this nurse.

After the hell Raich went through  ,DEA  raids, you  would hope it takes more than a snooty nurse Ratchet!go getum A Raich!

Supporter
Supporter

More than likely the hospitals first concern is the federal monies it gets as a teaching hospital, must not makes the feds mad.

elizabeth frantes
elizabeth frantes

No, the pharmcorps can't patent pot so they want to propagandize whenever possible so they can push their pills, which kill and harm thousands every year.  No one ever dies from an od of pot (or smoked opium) and let's not even get into nosocomial infections!

supporter
supporter

The odds of anyone else being affected by the use of vapor in an isolated room probably 1 in 10000.  Surely the odds would bear out the peace and comfort given a dying patient in a controlled enviorment.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

You probably just pulled those numbers out of your ass.

chowster
chowster

 The more I consider this situation the more my heart aches for Ms Raich.....  UCSF, given the research they have done and the conclusions that they have arrived at regarding herbal cannabis, the pharmacist is left without excuse at least, without any compassion at worst. The trauma a patient goes through when having their caregivers turn on them and throw federal law bs in their face is devastating. 

UCSF's pharmacist should have shown far more compassion, and while realizing that Marinol is no valid substitute to herbal cannabis as the research bears out, offer suggestions to accommodate Ms Raich's medical need. And.... Ms Raich really could have used far better judgement and simply asked. The answer would have been an emphatic no, then "other arrangements" could have been made.

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

Say, chowderhead, your real name isn't linda, is it?  And you work for Patient Relations at UCSF which is why you know more than actual medical professionsal who have to use their real names?

BMTRN
BMTRN

Patients can't be in the hospital and just take their own drugs.  We give them a lot of medicines, and there are often negative interactions between two medications, so the pharmacist needs to screen the interactions first.  In addition, we are completely responsible for the patient when they are in our care.  If they have a negative consequence from the drug or from being overly sedated, or anything along those lines, we are responsible.  That is because we live in a litigious society, and that's okay, but we have to take extraordinary measures when your life is in our hands.  In addition, marijuana vapors are incredibly harmful to our other patients that have severely compromised immune systems, like our leukemics in blast crisis and bone marrow transplant patients.  It can cause aspergillosis, which is an overgrowth of the fungus Aspergillus.  In several of the oncology & hematology areas, flowers are not even allowed because of the fungal infection risk.  Fungal infections like Aspergillosis can originate in the lungs, which impairs breathing and damages the lungs, and can also spread to the sinuses and brain causing nodules and affecting neurologic status, vision (blindness), and other vital functions.  So please understand that the healthcare workers have to protect ALL of the patients on the unit, not just one.  If marijuana is beneficial to a particular patient, we have marinol (which is a pill form of marijuana) available that does not come with the same risks as the inhaled version.

Thank you for taking the time to read a healthcare worker's perspective.

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

WEll, I guess I'll have to get a copy of this and ask UCSF is you're working for them and/or using their equipment.  Because no real healthcare professional would say what you did, and would not be anonymous.   And if you think that vaping is that bad, you should be trying to ban all vehicles because the pollution from that parking garage is off the chart.  That is, if you really care about patients.  I don't think you work in the healthcare field but if you do, you're why malpractice is such a big thing

elizabeth frantes
elizabeth frantes

If you are claiming expertise then provide us with your name, your qualifications, and provide a few sources.  As any real medical professional would do. 

Wendy
Wendy

My father takes nebulizer treatments. I'm sure many hospital patients do, too. Periodically during the session, he takes it out and gives his mouth a break. His equipment  provider tells him this is normal and acceptable. While it's out of his mouth, the vapor is free to mingle with the air in the room. Now I don't know vaporizers as well, but a quick websearch leads me to believe they are very near cousins to nebulizers. So my question to you, a professionsal healthcare worker is: How is it that medicines with no studies of the likelihood of "getting out" in the hospital air are okay, while medicines that have shown to be insignificant are not?

And on a related subject, for everything in a hospital's pharmacy, given the vastness of medicine, there's probably been SOMEBODY with who has SOMETHING that a doctor prescribes for a patient that a hopsital may not have. What do you do about that?

Paft
Paft

Boy, what a selfish patient, insisting on medicine that keeps her alive and functioning.

Why can't she just quietly seize up and die like a good person?

joeyrockx
joeyrockx

Marinol doesn't work, that's why its almost never prescribed. Where did you get your degree, a comic book?

chowster
chowster

Very well said.....  

It is too bad when some here seem to think one patient is more important than all other patients.  This type of ego centrism should be reserved for the opposition to cannabis, but unfortunately it seems to be infiltrating the ranks of cannabis users/patients. Furthermore, when they apply this ego centrist behavior to the facilities that are proponents of cannabis, I have to step back and evaluate what exactly is their stance.

This is the very first time I totally disagree with the so called proponents.  UCSF put two steel rods in my spine and have given me my life back, and they acknowledge and support my use of cannabis for pain control.  UCSF must look out for all the patients.

Chas Holman
Chas Holman

" If marijuana is beneficial to a particular patient, we have marinol (which is a pill form of marijuana) available that does not come with the same risks as the inhaled version."

What a load of crap..

All this talk of 'today's marijuana is stronger than when we were kids'.. and Mairnol is 100 percent THC and can be overdosed on and is toxic in that pill form, unlike cannabis it's self which is not.

You may be a helath care worker, but you know very little about marijuana. Your statement about marinol says it all.. marinol is a dangerous drug, people can overdose on and die. Marijuna is not. And yet you call the marinol SAFER than cannabis? What a whacky whacky thing to say.

BMTRN
BMTRN

I appreciate your feedback, however I think you may have missed the point of my comment.  I wasn't saying that the pill is not without risks, but the risks are different and I have administered marinol many times over the years and have not had a negative experience with it when people have a history of using marijuana.  We need to protect all patients on our hospital units, not just one.  Thank you.

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

What is your name, what are your qualifications, and where do you work?  Otherwise you should have your access yanked. 

elizabeth frantes
elizabeth frantes

Who are you, what is your job, and what are your qualifications to make these statements?  I know of no actual healthcare worker who would spew the sort of codswallop you are, and do it anonymously, at that. 

meee
meee

You are missing the point and latching onto one of the details.

Chas Holman
Chas Holman

The risks are different?yes, Marinol can be deadly and marijuana is not.

I have been lucky enough (sarcasm) to go the marinol route, and not only did it NOT work, it made me dizzy, dehydrated, much more 'fuzzy' headed than the real thing. I have found as I relate these stories to others who have used, or are using marinol over the last 20 years, that they have similar experiences with it. When I finally told my doctor that it simply wasn't doing anything but literally 'confusing me' and making me dizzy, he said that has been his experience with a good many of his patients (at the time there were not that many of us) and to quote his 'ya, this ones not for everybody'.

So I am surprised you have not had any negative responses from any patients you know who use it (there are still very few of them now relatively) as this doesn't seem to stack up with so much we know about marinol and how patients react with it, especially those who have never experienced the real thing before. Apparently people who have expereinced the real thing get along with marinol better than those who dont. But i knew the real thing and marinol made me dizzy.. man o man I hate that worse of all.. on top of everything else.. the dry heaves.. the constant dizzy.. real marijuana knocks the dizzy's right out.. marinol causes them..

Not to mention back then it was 11 bucks a tablet, 3 a day.. and no insurance would touch it. I understand it is now closer to 15 dollars a tab, (gel cap actually, little brown squishy thing), 3 a day (for most folks) and insurance still fights it.

About 10 years ago I also  developed a progressive bone disease and have all kinds of replacements and several surgeries coming up.. joy joy.. about 2 years ago I gave up all narcotics and went strictly to eating cannabis (except immediately after surgeries).. I eat it twice a day, every day..  like clockwork. It works 'enough' and provides me a degree of mobility I was not afforded without it. One can actually see the swelling go down and the heat quit radiating over the prosthetic scars once I have it in me for a few days (in my case I have to eat it it seems, smoking does nothing but screw with the head a bit..  and I have to eat it regularly, if I skip a day I start locking up again)

Unlike the 11 dollar, 3 times a day marinol, all the organic grass I need costs me exactly ZERO dollars.. I live in a medical marjuana state.. it is in abundance here. It literally falls from the sky like manna from heaven for those of us who are in the circle of obvious actual patients who need it, It hasn't cost me a penny ever..... except of course to register with the state.. it doesn't cost me any more than a regular doctors visit because it is my accepted regimen with my doctors and surgeons.,

I think my real point was,,. besides the fact it simply doesn't work well enough, who can afford marinol?

Malcolm Kyle
Malcolm Kyle

The following text is taken directly from the US government's National Cancer Institute website:

* ANTI-TUMOR EFFECTS 

One study in mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. During this 2-year study, groups of mice and rats were given various doses of THC by gavage. A dose-related decrease in the incidence of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma was observed in the mice. Decreased incidences of benign tumors (polyps and adenomas) in other organs (mammary gland, uterus, pituitary, testis, and pancreas) were also noted in the rats. In another study, delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.

Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death. These compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis in glioma cells in culture and induce regression of glioma tumors in mice and rats. Cannabinoids protect normal glial cells of astroglial and oligodendroglial lineages from apoptosis mediated by the CB1 receptor. 

In an in vivo model using severe combined immunodeficient mice, subcutaneous tumors were generated by inoculating the animals with cells from human non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines. Tumor growth was inhibited by 60% in THC-treated mice compared with vehicle-treated control mice. Tumor specimens revealed that THC had antiangiogenic and antiproliferative effects.

chowster
chowster

No shit Sherlock!!!!   Tell us something we don't know!!!!

The topic here is a patient, with total disregard to UCSF's policy, decided to see herself as more important than every other patient in her vicinity, and more important than the facilities protocol, by using cannabis in said facility!

She could of had someone wheel her outside, she chose otherwise.

Paft
Paft

Yeah, I'd say not having a seizure and not dying is pretty important to most people.

elizabeth frantes
elizabeth frantes

So set up facilities.  It's much less harmful that a lot of the stuff you are in contact with in hospitals.  The stuff they use to clean causes problems, but it's better than a nosocomial infection, which is very common.  Say, you don't work for UCSF do you?  What a place . .look how they have taken all the $ and cut back actual medical services. 

Lickascrotum
Lickascrotum

What about the rights of the other patients? Why is she more important than they are? I think the issue is that the facilities are not equipped to keep the vapors from reaching other patients. The stigma around pot makes it much less likely to have such improvements made to the facilities any time soon. I have a lot of love for Angel, but I think it's wrong to paint the facility in such a light.

Mary Ann Warner
Mary Ann Warner

Amazing that this happens to be a teaching hospital that researches the use of marijuana

chowster
chowster

I am a very strong proponent of medical cannabis, but I am sorry..... I've had two spine procedures at UCSF and would never, ever presume it is ok to vape inside the facility.... NEVER!!!!!!!

Furthermore, you have no idea how lucky your are to have a facility like UCSF that even acknowledges the efficacy of cannabis for chronic pain.... unlike the ideologue pigs in the central valley..... 

Respect will always be a two way street... have someone wheel you outside to medicate, be respectful of others, be respectful of the facility.... And STOP trying to F#*^ it up for the rest of us patients!

elizabeth frantes
elizabeth frantes

Sweetie, I could tell you some tales of when I volunteered at the ER . . .and personal stories of people damaged or killed by some of their medical experimentation, including myself. 

chowster
chowster

I understand fully the risk patients, I take when being treated at a hospital. But I seriously doubt you would want to be treated for a major medical condition such as a glioblastoma resection or spine fusion in my case at Podunk Community Hospital out in the sticks. I didn't. 

Unfortunately choosing to be treated in any case let alone such extreme cases carries serious, and hopefully... mutually agreed upon risks. Especially if one is in a situation where experimental drugs are part of the treatment. I am very sorry you were harmed, I have been quite fortunate to date. 

UCSF should have at maximum offer to wheel Ms Raich to a better suited area. But one must also consider that this altercation could have been avoided had Ms Raich simply asked. Hence mutual respect, besides.. I'm sure UCSF had NOT allowed her to vape prior in their facility... So... Why step on the ones doing the research, who acknowledge efficacy, and are compiling the data?

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

No, you are an anonymous crank spewing contrarian bull  And the real dangers there are docts who don't wash their hands!  Now, as to your QUALIFICATIONS to make such statements?  care to provide your name, and your level of expertise?

Malcolm Kyle
Malcolm Kyle

I call BS! - You appear to be typical concern troll - "a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user claims to hold."Hang your head in shame!

chowster
chowster

I call BS! - You clearly know nothing of the value of university medical centers and the mutual respect NECESSARY between patients, physicians, and facility.

And you clearly know nothing of me!

Hang your head in shame!

Chas Holman
Chas Holman

""UCSF is a smoke-free campus and this includes medical marijuana... even a vaporized form of medical marijuana releases particles in the air that are damaging to the lung. Any particles from vapor and odor could have an impact on other patients and hospital employees."".

What an utter load of crap. 

There is NO smoke and NO flames involved in using vaporizers. 

A marijuana vaporizer works by running warm air over a bit of cannabis (or any other herb concoction, my grandmother used to vaporizee rosemary for congestion).. any cannabis 'vapor' expelled by your lungs is negligible to your environment compared to the vapors of bleaches and disinfectants a hospital is in continuous use of. Not to mention the human body exhales truly deadly co2 vapors every time they exhale. 

As drug testing advocates LOVE to tell you, there is no way you get even a registerable amount of THC into your body from second hand smoke, even if it is blown directly in your face. They tell people this daily when they tell them they can't hire them to flip burgers because they have it in their system.

But then again I wander.. all we are talking here is the 'smell' of marijuana.. if the Hospital said 'we can't have that stinky crap in here' it would be much more close to a truth I could understand and respect, vs 'it is a danger to others' which is simply a lie.

elizabeth frantes
elizabeth frantes

Let's also remember that the rules and regs from TommyKnockernano SweetCheeks Leno, "Hit her with your Best Shot" Mirk the Jerk have taken millions in fees, taxes, "donations" which makes them guilty of at least Federal racketeering.  They, as with all the "patient advocate" groups are as useful as tits on a bull as far as getting Congress to get pot off Schedule (if not dump that entire law) and put it back on the states.   I guarantee that as soon as their little friends back home start getting indicted for racketeering and fraud by the Feds they will take action, since the record reflects that everyone in elected and appointed offices feels free to demand revenue, but do nothing to help sick people get their medication.  If you can afford it, you can't smoke it at the dispensaries, you can't smoke in public anymore, so homeless patients, those in subsideized housing, etc can't even use it .. .. those lucky enough to have housing where they can use are supposed to just stay hom and never go out . ... and if you have to go tho the hospital, you are SOL

Galliranch
Galliranch

Shame on them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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