Tommy Chong, half of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong, announced earlier this week, that his cancer has returned. Predictably, he plans to incorporate marijuana into his treatment program.
Chong has been diagnosed with stage one rectal cancer, which is widely considered a cancer in its early stages. According to Cancer.net, stage one cancer is one in which it has not spread to the lymph system or other organs.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in the world, and counts for about 10 percent of all cancers.
Chong is currently receiving treatment for the cancer, and will undergo chemotherapy and radiation beginning June 22. In addition to traditional treatments, Chong is also using marijuana to help with the treatment and potential side effects.
“I don’t tell them I smoke, we don’t talk about that. That’s a no-no,” Chong said in reference to his doctors, in an interview with ABC News. “But as far as the treating it with suppositories and that, they’re all for it,”
Chong is supplementing the treatment from his doctors with twice-daily suppositories made with marijuana oil.
Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana for cancer treatment, there is evidence that cannabis may hold some medicinal benefits for cancer patients, particularly those with rectal cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, at least in laboratory tests, cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells. And cannabidiol, a compound found in marijuana, is believed to be able to inhibit the spread of cancer without adversely affecting healthy cells, according to High Times.
Chong’s announcement of his cancer’s return was given as a matter of act, but he appears to be holding his spirits high despite the diagnosis.
In an interview with People, Chong joked that his diagnosis is a “pain in the butt” but also said that it is “by no means a death sentence.”
The long-time supporter of legalization of medical and recreational pot knows that the cancer’s return will come with some hard times, such as illness, fatigue, and loss of appetite from the chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but hopes that marijuana can help him through.
“The main thing about pot is it affects your mental state,” he told ABC News. “Instead of moaning and groaning about what you have, you start listening to music and reading books, and you get very creative….It takes the brain off, ‘The glass is half-empty,’ and puts it on ‘The glass is half-full.'”
And Chong hopes to spark up some creativity during his cancer treatment. He plans to use the down time to work on a sequel to Cheech and Chong’s 1978 cult classic, Up In Smoke.
“It will be the same Cheech and Chong, just 40 years later,” he said in an interview with People.
Tommy Chong was previously diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer in 2012, for which he was successfully treated using alternative therapies.
[Image courtesy of Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]