TARPON SPRINGS, FL (WFLA) — Florida’s Amendment Two is opening the flood gates for people seeking alternative treatments for an array of health conditions, including cancer.
For Tammy Levent, of Tarpon Springs, Amendment Two passing means a much easier path to keeping her cancer in remission.
In May of 2015, Levent was diagnosed with malignant breast cancer and doctors told her it was spreading. After a lumpectomy, Levent refused traditional treatments.
“They thought I was absolutely insane. They’re like it’s not going work, you can’t be doing this, and I was like it’s my body, and this is what I want to do,” Levent explained.
Levent had to travel outside of Florida to seek treatment, but now she can get her prescriptions filled at Trulieve in Pinellas County.
Dr. Eduardo Palanca, in Clearwater, now oversees Levent’s care. He is one of only a few doctors in the Tampa Bay area licensed to treat patients with medical marijuana, and says while successful stories like Levent’s are now only anecdotal, the passage of Florida’s Amendment Two will lead to more legitimate studies can be done.
“We will be able to come up with very good studies that support that we are on the right track in looking for another cure for cancer,” said Dr. Palanca.
Dr. Palanca points out that as of now, cannabis is not considered a treatment for cancer, but says studies show THC has a strong anti-tumor effect. “It actually not only retards their growth, it prevents new cells from forming and new cells from dividing,” said Palanca.
He points out patients could seek traditional treatment for cancer, while using cannabis as another layer to fight the disease.
For Levent using cannabis oils as treatment was the only route for her and it seems to be successful, as she is now cancer free.
“When I looked at Tammy’s blood work the tumor markers were all zero – and I couldn’t explain it,” said Lisa Genovese, a nurse that is on Levent’s medical team.
Genovese went on to explain that she was brought up in a very evangelical family environment where the recreational or medical use of marijuana was frowned upon. She explained that after seeing so many success stories in treating seizures, pain management and cancer patients, she is no longer a sceptic.
Levent says even today, doctors are scratching their heads as to how cannabis oils are keeping her cancer at bay. “I went in for my mammogram, I had one doctor come in, and then another, and another, and I was like is it bad or good?”
Levent claims they responded by saying, “We’re not sure we’ve never seen anything like this in our lives, the tumors are gone, and not only that, I was growing healthy tissue,” Levent explained while pointing to her latest mammogram results.
Levent talks about her journey to heal cancer through cannabis oils in her newly released book “Sink or Swim: A Survival Story” and travels the country as a motivational speaker.
Dr. Palanca hopes Levent’s story will lead more people doing their own research to find possible ways Florida Amendment 2 can help them in a variety of different health aspects. He hopes in the future, the treatment plans will be treated under insurance plans, and points to a major conference happening this weekend in Ybor City, where medical professionals, and industry leaders will me to learn more about the future of medical marijuana.