Medical cannabis has been on the fast-track to mainstream acceptance over the last few years, and more and more high-profile organizations, including the MS Foundation, are aligning themselves with cannabis groups promoting the safe and beneficial plant.
Add to that list Boulder's BStrong foundation, which raises money for cancer research and treatment for the Boulder Community Hospital and George Karl Foundation.
Last Saturday, BStrong awarded Colorado cannabis activist Tim Tipton with its Extra Mile Caregiver award at the annual BStrong Bike Ride and fundraiser for his work with indigent cancer patients, as well as his efforts on behalf of the Phoenix Tears Foundation.
"I am just amazed that after twelve years of volunteer effort, I have been able to receive such an esteemed public credit for being compassionate and engaging in advocacy on a natural evolutionary course of patient empowerment," Tipton wrote to Westword in an e-mail. "What a whirlwind it has been helping to develop a statewide community of legal medical cannabis patients."
Along with Tipton, Dr. Janet Sweeney was also recognized for her work with the Phoenix Tears foundation at the event, held at the headquarters for Boulder-based tea company Celestial Seasonings. Both have been active in the cannabis/cancer patient community for years. We've profiled Tipton's efforts in the past, including his work with Colorado cancer survivor Larry Shurtleff.
After years of battling cancer that ate away at his facial structure and caused him to loose his teeth and one eye, Shurtleff was deemed cancer-free in August of 2011 after months of treatment using Phoenix Tears, a concentrated hash oil created by cannabis activist Rick Simpson.
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The dark, gooey oil hasn't really been studied by traditional science, but anecdotal evidence has shown that it can be very beneficial to cancer patients and help kill of cancerous cells, with numerous online testimonials arguing in favor of effectiveness fighting skin cancer and other ailments.
While he considers his recognition by BStrong an "amazingly bold move," Tipton says there is still a long way to go before cannabis is seen as medicine and not an illicit drug.
"As I appreciate getting this award from an event still basically afraid to use the 'C' word [cannabis], we have been invited back next year," Tipton writes. "Slowly but surely, the framing of the question and dialogue will change. Maybe, just maybe, next year, I will be that voice of education and positive change. We are already committed to a goal of bringing 600 patients and caregivers next year and a few bicycle teams to better represent our community. We need that paradigm shift to a kinder, more gentle, compassionate world."
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana Policy Project's eight worst state legislators -- with a Coloradan at number one" and "Eric Holder calls for drug-sentencing reform but is silent on Colorado pot law."