tommy chong's cancer cure


Tommy Chong is a comedy actor best-known as half of Cheech and Chong. His career ignited with "Up In Smoke," the duo's 1978 parody of the long-haired-hippie, pot-smoking lifestyle so feared and loathed by right-wing, straight-john American citizens.

Younger audiences know Chong from "That 70s Show" as the perpetually stoned old hippie, Leo.

Edmonton-born Chong, whose ancestry is Chinese, Scottish and Irish, initially chose music as a career but, after a few years of guitar playing and songwriting, he drifted to acting and stand-up comedy based on a culture of pot-smoking that was moving from underground to mainstream as the teens of the 1960s grew up, got jobs and became respectable. Their dress became more conservative, but they still smoked pot.

To his credit, Chong didn't just play the role; he walked the walk, talked the talk and smoked the herb, and cashed in on his lifestyle with a highly profitable family business selling smoking paraphernalia via the internet through a company called Nice Dreams Enterprises, which featured the Chong Bong as one of its more popular product lines.
Perhaps Chong was stoned and he missed it, but the sale of drug paraphernalia was illegal in his home state of Pennsylvania. He was arrested and charged in a +$12 million sting operation that indicted 55 people in 2003.

He pled guilty. At sentencing, the prosecution pointed out that he became wealthy glamorizing drug use in his comedy work and that he used his movie, television and stand-up characters to promote his business. Chong told the court he had turned over a new leaf by quitting the evil weed, and that he intended to use his celebrity status to help others stay off drugs. It was noted that he fully cooperated with police.  

Chong had his merchandise and $103,514 seized, paid a $20,000 fine, spent nine months in a minimum-security federal facility and spent a further year on probation. He even lost his domain name, but, compared to what the law allowed, his sentence was light,

Still, his success as an internet sales mogul went up in smoke, so to speak. His fans were outraged and he became the poster boy for the stupidity of America's controversial and costly War on Drugs.

The funny-guy pop icon who brilliantly nails the endearing persona of a befuddled albeit stoned old hippie almost instantly became a hardcore activist in the role of a martyr for the 420 cause.

He tours, he lectures, he publishes books, he's a popular talk-show guest and he still does comedy. In January, he was a contestant on the American quasi-reality game show, Celebrity Cook-Off, and he's now starring with his old partner, Cheech Marin, in the Cheech and Chong Comedy Tour.

You get it. He's successful, admired and respected, and he's influential. But, the older one gets, the more likely health problems are to occur... and so...


On May 12, 2012, Tommy Chong was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 74 years of age. Before you hear the rest of the story, you need a bit of skinny on prostate cancer.


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Annually in the USA, about 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed while about 27,000 old cases die of it.

The primary cause of prostate cancer is genetic. The occurrence rate increases with age to the point that all men over 80 years of age have prostate cancer.

Men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer likely won't die of the disease for more than 20 years, if ever, if something else doesn't kill them first. Over five years, the survival rate of all stages combined of prostate cancer is 99-100%.

"Active surveilance" is the treatment of choice for older men with early-stage prostate cancer, and it really means no treatment at all, just keep an eye on the thing in case it progresses in an unlikely, unexpected manner. If it does, surgery and/or radiation treatment will normally cure it or, at least, beat it back into submission so the patient eventually dies of something else.


Chong waited about a month to tell his fans he had a health problem. Ever the showman, he ditched the prearranged format of a scheduled CNN interview to solemnly proclaim, "I've got prostate cancer, and I'm treating it with hemp oil, with cannabis oil... with pot oil."

Chong says he ingests his medicinal hemp oil, " night, so I won't be woozy all day," and claims he no longer smokes pot.

But Chong's Twitter feed is liberally sprinkled with references to BC Bud, (the name for marijuana grown in British Columbia, Canada), and getting high, so we can't be certain exactly what cannabis extract he's medicating himself with, or how he's taking it. Oh well, give the old dude a break, he might be confused. After all, we can safely assume he's been stoned most of his adult life.

He says his prostate cancer is "slow Stage One" and that he's had it for "a long time." While in jail and unable to smoke pot, about eight years ago at age 66, he noticed that he was getting up in the middle of the night to pee. In retrospect, he concludes this was a symptom of his prostate cancer.

Chong implies that his nine months in jail caused his cancer, because, "The prison is built on toxic waste," and reveals to the press that he, "... also contracted gout in there, from the food." He told CNN's audience he had been drug-free for three years when he noticed his symptoms and added, "I know [the cancer] had nothing to do with cannabis. Cannabis is a cure."


Cannabis shines in one area of cancer treatment: it's an effective drug to counteract nausea side-effects of traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

But it won't cure cancer. Cannabis has never cured a single person of even one of the more than 200 types of cancer.

Although research looks promising in the petri dish, to date it's still a pipe dream with nothing more than inconclusive clinical trials and anecdotal evidence, which is no evidence at all.


But, in spite of the fact that there is zero evidence that anyone, anywhere, ever, has cured their cancer by smoking or ingesting or taking in any way any preparation containing cannabis, the word is out that Tommy Chong cured his prostate cancer with cannabis.

And, of course, the word came from Tommy Chong, via his Twitter feed:
  • July 13 - "Got my blood test results back....the hemp oil is working! PSA down to 2.....yes!"
  • July 15 - "Did I mention I am 99% cancer free? Thanks to my "medication". Hemp oil works but you have to believe.....I believe."

I'm sure the news of Tommy Chong's cured cancer will go viral, but let's hold off on the fireworks and champagne to look at the big picture.
  • Low PSA can, but does not necessarily mean, a change in prostate cancer presence. Other factors can reduce or increase PSA levels in men with prostate cancer.
  • "99% cancer free" is an utterly stupid statement. Cancer presence is not measured by percentage. 
  • Tommy Chong has Stage One prostate cancer and he's 74 years old. Doctors agree it will progress so slowly that it's little or no risk to his life, and that treatment is not necessary.
  • Chong's claim that prison caused his cancer is, well, just silly. Prostate cancer normally takes years, perhaps decades, before it develops enough to be diagnosed, and the primary cause is genetic. A few months in jail was no doubt unpleasant, but it didn't give Tommy prostate cancer.
  • Chongs symptoms were far from conclusive. C'mon, Tommy, you were 66 years old; most men that age get up to pee during the night.
  • Chong could eat five red Smarties every day to cure his cancer with as much success as hemp oil treatment (if you're thinking none, you're right). 


Chong is a savvy, hard-working businessman, and it's not by coincidence that he's a multi-millionaire. He identified and mined that huge niche market of baby-boomers and their pot-smoking children and grandchildren. His successful brand promotes getting stoned and legalizing cannabis. He knows that publicity is golden, and both his difficulties with the law, and his cancer, have provided golden opportunities for publicity.

He earns large by television and movie appearances, stand-up comedy, guest-speaker gigs, interviews, selling his books and collecting royalties on licensed merchandise from t-shirts to coffee mugs. Chong's net worth when he was busted in 2003 was $2.8 million. Today, in spite of the loss of his dot com merchandise sales income, it's $8 million and growing.

Everything he does for money has a theme of getting stoned and legalizing cannabis. Is his highly publicized cancer-cure strategy going to make him even more money? You bet.


Mostly all men who die of prostate cancer literally die of embarrassment. Once the cancer metastasizes or spreads to other organs, the odds of survival drop dramatically, so early diagnosis is the key to survival. However, many men are so mortified about the idea of a doctor's finger up their arse for this routine examination that they refuse to have it done.

Tommy Chong suggests men with prostate cancer should shun conventional treatment in favour of a "cannabis cure." If they do, we can be certain that some will die because, while they wasted time and money on hemp oil, their prostate cancer metastacized to become untreatable. In cancer progression, there is no Stage Five.

I think Chong is a brilliant character entertainer. I think pot should be legalized, and I smoke pot. But I also think Tommy Chong's latest publicity stunt is irresponsible, dangerous, and that it abuses the admiration and trust of his fans.


If even one man decides to eat or smoke cannabis instead of taking his doctor's recommendation of conventional treatment, and that man dies because of it, Chong is nothing less than a murderer.

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