Vernon couple believers in medicinal marijuana after liver transplant

Debra Senger says cannabis helped her husband and now she wants to help others

  • Apr. 22, 2016 8:00 p.m.

Lift Resource Centre area developer Debra Senger is a believer in medicinal cannabis.

Without it, the Vernon woman believes her husband would likely have passed away due to cancer in his liver.

Two years ago, Senger’s husband wasn’t eligible for a liver transplant that could save his life. He had been taking tace treatments for the better part of two years: A combination of chemotherapy and radiation that directly targets a patient’s liver, going in through the groin.

But the cancer in her husband’s liver was growing and the treatments were not able to get it under control enough to make him eligible for a transplant.

That’s when the couple decided to try treatment using a type of cannabis that is loaded with a cannabinoid called CBD (cannabidiol) a chemical found in strains of cannabis such as hemp, unlike the more commonly known THC, which is the chemical that can get users high.

“I took it upon myself to do a lot of research on the CBD side of the plant,” said Senger. “My husband was getting sicker by the minute to the point where we were prepared that it was going to be end of life.”

With no, or minimal reduction in the tumour using the tace treatments, Senger and her husband stopped the  treatments and started taking CBD capsules. For three months it was all her husband was taking as they headed back to the doctor.

“We were booked to go in for an MRI and low and behold the tumours had shrunk to the point that the following week, the director of the transplant clinic called and told us my husband was activated for a transplant,” said Senger. “I almost didn’t believe him.”

But the results were true and soon a liver was found and by April of that year, just four months after starting on CDB, her husband received a new liver. He has been cancer free and healthy for the past two years.

“I’m not a doctor and I can only tell you that after two years of tace treatments that didn’t work, after starting on CBD for three months the tumours were of such a size that allowed him to be active for a liver transplant. I believe in my heart that it was the CBD,” said Senger.

Now living happily in Vernon, Senger has joined the Lift Resource Centre to try and help spread the word about medicinal cannabis and get patients access to information. Lift is a private company that acts as a resource centre for medical marijuana, getting patients information about the plant and helping them navigate the often complicated Health Canada system to get access to the plant.

“We don’t have anything to educate patients, nothing,” she said. “It’s just stumbling around. People are so desperate with trying to find a doctor or trying to find someone, anyone to talk to about whether this will be a drug they could use to alleviate their symptoms.”

Three weeks ago, Lift began operation in Vernon and Singer says they are hoping to open more centres around the Okanagan. For more information or to book an appointment go online to or call 1-888-254-5438.

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