Rx pot helped rocker roll with chemo sickness

October 14, 2005

, New York Daily News

Rocker Melissa Etheridge went to pot during her battle with breast cancer.

The Grammy-winning singer says she used medical marijuana to cope with the nasty side effects of chemotherapy, according to a report.

"Instead of taking five or six prescriptions, I decided to go the natural route and smoke marijuana," the entertainer told "Dateline NBC." The interview airs tomorrow night.

The 44-year-old gay mother of two, who "wed" actress Tammy Lynn Michaels in a 2003 commitment ceremony, says her doctors backed her decision to get high to stave off nausea and other chemo-related ailments.

"Every single one was, 'Oh, yeah. That's the best help for the effects of chemotherapy,' and that it was the best thing to do."

In California, where Etheridge lives, the use of medical marijuana is legal, but the drug is still prohibited by federal law. But the "Come to My Window" crooner said the risk of being busted by the feds didn't scare her.

"No, I didn't worry. But it was worth it [the risk]."

Cancer expert Dr. John Gaspy says there are new drugs that do a much better job of combatting chemo side effects.

"Medical marijuana has some effect on nausea and vomiting, but it is a weak effect, and it doesn't compete well with the targeted [pharmaceutical] drugs that have been developed," said Gaspy, a specialist at UCLA's Johnsson Cancer Center.



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