Melissa Etheridge on Medical Marijuana: ‘I Smoked to be Out of Pain’

"David Crosby was the first one who said, 'You have to try cannabis.'"

By Annie Reuter

Melissa Etheridge has been outspoken about the benefits of marijuana and in a new Yahoo series, Weed & the American Family, the GRAMMY Award-winner discussed smoking with her family and the positive effects it had on her when she battled breast cancer in 2004.

Related: Melissa Etheridge Signs on as Marijuana Expo Spokesperson

“I asked many of my friends [who had gone through chemo], ‘What’s the experience? What are you doing?’” Etheridge recalled. “And my friend David Crosby, he was the first one who said, ‘You know, Melissa, you have to do medicinal marijuana. You have to [try] cannabis. That’s the way to do it. It’s too hard otherwise.’”

Etheridge said doctors tried to prescribe her a steroid, a pain reliever and about “five, six pharmaceuticals” but she said no.

“I’m like, ‘No, I’m going to go this natural way,’” she explained, laughing, “I’m gonna go with this one plant that [the] side effect is euphoria. I think I’m OK with that when I’m on chemo! It was a wake-up call for me. When I used it as medicine, it became so clear to me that it has been maligned and misunderstood, and I really wanted to help people who are suffering. I mean, going through chemotherapy is suffering… and cannabis helps so many parts of just that. That’s just the beginning of what it does medicinally.”

Etheridge occasionally smokes now with her two oldest children. “I’d much rather have a smoke with my grown kids than a drink,” she said.

“I smoked to be normal. I smoked to be out of pain. I smoked to lighten myself because you’re poisoning yourself with chemo,” she added. “It wasn’t about being high; it wasn’t at all anything like that. It was just being to a place where I could communicate with my children, to where I could get up, to where I could eat, where I didn’t have to go to the hospital. It was great medicine.”

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