Olivia Newton John believes medical cannabis should be on offer to everyone


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Olivia Newton-John, star of the classic hit musical ‘Grease’, has been diagnosed with cancer for a third time. However, she’s not letting the deadly disease dampen her spirits, with the 71-year-old praising cannabis as the treatment that has extended her life.

The Australian actress recently appeared at the annual Wellness Walk And Research Run, which took place in Melbourne on Sunday, 6 October.

At the event, Newton-John spoke to the general public about medical cannabis as a treatment for breast cancer.

She used the word ‘fantastic’ to describe her treatment, which she claims has kept her “alive and healthy.”

I hope to be able to soon offer that to everyone – that’s my dream,” she told the crowd in Melbourne. “I just want everyone to know, I’m here, I’m doing great. I’m doing really well and I’m really healthy.”

Olivia Newton-John on cannabis: ‘Grease’ actress has already battled breast cancer twice

First diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 on the same day that her father died, Newton-John managed to battle the disease. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed once again in 2013. She has revealed that she did not publicly announce her second battle with cancer, which was located in her shoulder.

During an interview with 60 Minutes Australia back in August, the actress said that she does not want to be informed by a doctor of how long she has left to live.

“When you’re given a cancer diagnosis or a scary illness diagnosis, you are suddenly given a possibility of a time limit,” she told 60 Minutes, adding that, “If somebody tells you, you have six months to live, very possibly you will because you believe that. So for me, psychologically, it’s better not to have any idea of what they expect, or what the last person that has what you have lived, so I don’t tune in.”

Newton-John, an English-born Australian actress, activist, entrepreneur, singer and songwriter, has publicly discussed her views on medical cannabis for cancer. She has spoken about how the plant’s active compounds provided her with relief from the symptoms of radiation treatment when she was diagnosed with cancer a third time.

Her most recent diagnosis, which was given to her last year, exposed a tumor at her spinal base; the cancer had already reached stage four when she was diagnosed. Despite being hesitant at first when considering the use of cannabis for cancer-related pain, it wasn’t long before she was praising the plant’s therapeutic potential. 

“I have metastasised breast cancer; I’m going through my third bout with it, and medicinal cannabis has been so important for me,” she said when talking about cannabis for cancer in a new documentary. “I absolutely believe all patients should have the right to try. It is a matter of common-sense and it is a compassionate thing to do for people.”

National Cancer Institute says cannabis for cancer may be an option 

Although research into the cannabis plant is ongoing, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) says that the plant’s naturally-occurring compounds could prove beneficial for cancer patients.

“Cannabinoids may help treat the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment,” reads a statement on the NCI website. On the website, a number of studies pertaining to cannabis’ anti-tumor effects have been cited.

In spite of this, the NCI says that existing data is insufficient to really spotlight the efficacy of using cannabis for cancer. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved Cannabis or cannabinoids to be used as a cancer treatment. However, dronabinol and nabilone – two cannabinoid-based drugs – have been approved by the Agency as a means of treating nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.