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Australian icon Olivia Newton-John is opening up about her use of cannabis as she lives with cancer.
According to the Daily Mail, the star told Australian magazine Who that medical marijuana helps her with pain management. Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1990s and didn’t go into remission until 2013. However, the cancer returned in 2017, having spread to her spine.
Now she uses cannabis oil to deal with symptoms of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and is a vocal advocate for medical cannabis use in her home country. She is one of 600,000 Australians who use marijuana for medical purposes, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
“I really believe the cannabis has made a huge difference,” she told 60 Minutes Australia in 2019. “If I don’t take the drops, I can feel the pain, so I know it’s working.”
The star said that she sources her cannabis oil from her husband John Easterling, who grows the plants on their California property. He’s long been involved in plant-based medicine entrepreneurship. Newton-John’s daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, also runs a cannabis farm in Oregon she says was inspired by her mother.
“Right now I’m feeling pretty good,” Newton-John said in an interview with Today’s Hoda Kotb in October 2021. “I have my days, I have my pains, but the cannabis that my husband grows for me has been such a huge part of my healing, and so I’m a really lucky person.”
Now she wants to help other folks living with cancer by suggesting medical cannabis as a supportive measure for patients.
Currently, recreational cannabis is illegal throughout Australia. A 2016 law allowed for the cultivation of cannabis for medical or scientific purposes. However, medical access remains highly regulated and access is limited.
Yet attitudes toward the drug are changing: A 2019 survey found the number of Australians who support full legalization jumped by nearly 16% in less than a decade. That same year, the capital Sydney decriminalized marijuana.
The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre, in Heidelberg, Australia, is working on a clinical trial to systematically document the effects of cannabis on cancer patients. This is entirely appropriate because the Centre’s founder credits the plant with helping her keep a positive attitude on her third round with cancer.
“Medicinal cannabis is something that should be available to everyone who is going through a chronic illness or pain,” Newton-John told Who magazine.