Olivia Newton-John Talks About Using Medical Marijuana While Fighting Cancer

Digital Spy

A little over a year ago, beloved Grease star Olivia Newton-John was forced to cancel a number of shows due to what she believed to be a sciatica flare-up, but she later revealed that her health problems were much more severe.

Turns out, the entertainer had breast cancer and at the time it "metastasized to the sacrum," the bones on the lower back. It was the second time in nearly 25 years that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Hollywood Reporter

A few months after sharing the sad news with the public, Newton-John recorded a video in which she spoke about her battle for the first time.

The reassured fans that she is was undergoing treatment and was "feeling great" since we last heard from her.

"Firstly, I'd like to express my gratitude to all of you who sent such kind and loving messages of support over the past few months," the Physical singer said in the emotional video. "Your prayers and well wishes have truly helped me, and continued to lift my spirits," she continued. "I'm feeling great and so look forward to seeing you soon!"

In 1992, when Newton-John was diagnosed with cancer for the first time, she had to go through nine months of chemotherapy, a partial mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery.

Marie Claire

This time around, she revealed on Facebook that she was seeking "natural wellness therapies" and "a short course of photon radiation therapy" to fight the cancer.

While Newton-John didn't specify which"natural" treatments she was using in the post, she later told Australia's 60 Minutes that she was managing the pain with medical marijuana.

"The pain level was really the hardest thing," she said in the candid interview. "I was trying to do shows and it was pretty agonizing," she continued.

The Australian star revealed that the "magical, miracle plant" she was using was grown by her husband, John Easterling," and it did wonders for her debilitating pain while she was undergoing photon radiation therapy.

Olivia Newton-John and her husband, John Easterling.CBS News

"He grew cannabis for me and made tinctures for me to take for pain and inflammation and so many other things that cannabis can do," she said.

A tincture is a medicine made by dissolving the drug so it can be administered in liquid form. It's one of the many proven ways medical marijuana can be used to bring relief.

Despite being illegal in the United States at the federal level, there are many studies that have shown that cannabis really does wonders for chronic pain.

"It's extraordinarily useful for pain control," Jordan Tishler, M.D., a medical cannabis expert based in Massachusetts, told SELF. "A number of studies show that when you compare opiates and cannabis for pain, they're sort of equivalent in how they work, but cannabis is much safer."


Lucky for Newton-John, in 2016, some forms of medical marijuana was legalized in her home country of Australia, so there are no legal ramifications for her choice of pain management.

Cannibis for medicinal purposes is also allowed in Canada, Puerto Rico, Croatia, Poland, Czech Republic, and Macedonia.

In the U.S., it is available in 29 states and the District of Columbia, but there's still a lot of controversy surrounding its use and its legalization continues to stir up plenty of controversy.

Earlier this year, an 11-year-old suffering from seizures caused by her Leukemia treatment was granted permission to use medical marijuana at school.

Ashley Surin with her parentsUSA Today

Ashley Surin from Illinois was initially barred from bringing the drug on campus by the school board, but weeks after her family filed a lawsuit, a judge ruled in their favor, making Ashley the sole exemption to the law.

"No one's saying she wants to fire up a bong in math class," the judge said. In fact, the pre-teen doesn't even ingest the drug, she uses a patch on her food and drops of marijuana oil extract on her wrists.

Three states, New Jersey, Maine and Colorodo, allow students to bring their legal prescriptions to school. In Washington, it's up to the school to decide if they should permit use of the nontraditional form of treatment.

Do you think medical marijuana should be used for pain management? Let us know!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.