Duncan Guy, IOL News
The Durban Cannabis Expo has concluded with one of the highlights being an address by acclaimed cannabis clinician Dr Shiksha Gallow. The ‘poster girl’ of the South African cannabis industry (and we say this with respect) opened up in a panel discussion how the plant had helped heal her and her partner, Wayne, heal after a motorcycle accident in 2020.
The Durban Cannabis Expo ran from Friday 28 to 30 July 2023 at the Sun Coast Casino.
This report first published on IOL Online on 29 July 2023.
Among the speakers was Dr Shiela Gallow, who told delegates how she had used cannabis to treat herself and her husband Wayne, for complex internal injuries caused after a motorbike accident in 2020. She said she used natural medicines as a departure point and was discharged from hospital in a week.
She also treated Wayne with medical cannabis and ethnomedicine. He walked out of hospital within a month.
She said her injuries included a damaged lung, liver and Crush Syndrome, involving a series of metabolic changes brought about by an injury of skeletal muscles of such severity it causes a disruption of cellular integrity which feeds into blood circulation. Crush syndrome can result in organ dysfunction or death.
Wayne’s injuries were initial paralysis from a broken neck, along with a broken hip and arm.
“He had spinal fusion and a hip and neck operation. The doctors told him he would be in a wheelchair for six months to a year. His doctors allowed me to treat him with medical cannabis and other ethnomedicines, and his results were miraculous,” she said.
“He walked out of rehab in crutches after a month. He had healed using only natural medicines and neuroscience techniques.”
Fifteen months later, Wayne swam from Robben Island to Cape Town.Shiksha was introduced to medical cannabis after she started reflecting on more natural holistic methods of treatments when she was involved in clinical trials as part of an HIV vaccine study at the University of the Witwatersrand.
“I saw the adverse reactions patients experience with pharmaceutical medications. There is definitely a place for allopathic medicines, which I see more in the emergency care settings, like accidents and operations.
“However, when it comes to diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases, the patients actually deteriorate and have no quality of life.”She was then introduced to medicinal cannabis and started researching more about it.
“I was absolutely amazed by the results of the patients who had been using cannabis.”She then completed many postgraduate diplomas, in the US, at the University of Washington’s medical school.
“I was offered a position on the board of directors for the Society of Cannabis Clinicians in the US and I was certified as a cannabis clinician in the States.”
Shiksha said that with her background as a scientist, she decided to learn more about the various types of cannabis compounds and how those related to healing patients.“I began working with different formulations and saw amazing results on patients. There is a large amount of anecdotal evidence that I have collated and will publish in a book by next year.
“Due to my background in clinical trials, I then decided to write a protocol to conduct the very first South African clinical trial, which aims to investigate the replacements of opioids with medical cannabis to treat chronic pain.
“We received approval for the study, and sponsorship, and the study will end next month.“There is a huge opioid crisis worldwide and deaths have been increasing, hence I wanted to conduct this study in SA.
The results thus far have been fascinating and the main aspect was the improved quality of life all patients have.”Shiksha is also an ethnomedicine practitioner and has started combining African and Ayurvedic medicines to treat patients for various ailments.
“The results have been astounding,” she said.On cancer, she thinks that every cancer patient should be using medical grade cannabis formulations.
“We have collated anecdotal evidence that shows many patients have been in remission using cannabis only or chemotherapy and cannabis.
“The most noticeable effect is the improved quality of life these cancer patients have.
”She said cannabinoids had been shown to activate an endoplasmic reticular stress related pathway that leads to the stimulation of autophagy-mediated cancer cell death.
“In addition, cannabinoids inhibit tumour angiogenesis and decrease cancer cell migration.
“Cannabinoids impair tumour progression at various levels. Their most prevalent effect is the induction of cancer cell death by apoptosis and the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation.
At least one of those actions has been demonstrated in almost all cancer cell types tested.”