Patient Profile: Michael Guttsen

August 03, 2017 | WES ABNEY

The outspoken cofounder of Guts and Glory Creative on using medical Cannabis to battle cancer, feel better and control his healthcare. Photo by Daniel Berman.


When did you first start using Cannabis, and what was it like?

I grew up as a pothead. I first smoked at age 9. It was Durban Poison we stole from my dad and that’s all I remember. What it really was that got me into it was a Look magazine cover Oct. 30, 1969 and on the cover, they had a picture of a guy smoking a roach, a close up beautiful shot of the sky and the smoky beautiful roach and it was dreamy and fucking cool as shit. That’s when I knew I needed to smoke pot.

Did you know right away that it helped you? Did you keep smoking?

You can circle back around. It can be said that for anybody who does smoke it is truly a medicinal thing, we’ve been self-medicating forever. I was a morose and aloof artist kid who sat in the back of a room and drew pictures of the teacher. and I’ve smoked copious amounts of MJ since I started, and I can only imagine what ailments that MJ has prevented from happening up until now.

When did you first become an MMJ patient?

In ‘96 I was living in L.A. and that’s when they kicked in MJ down there, got my card the first week. That was based on a broken back injury, I carried that card from ‘96 until 2006. I’m in the game, it’s rec, it’s pain management, it’s making life a little more palatable, it’s social, it’s become without a doubt a part of my everyday life. Now I’m a full-time marijuana guy in the industry and my personal life. Holy crap, talk about a change of perspective.

When did you know something was wrong?

Two years ago I noticed a bump on my neck up under my jaw and that bump turned into a lump and pretty soon that became something altogether different and the size of an avocado pit lodged under my jaw. No symptoms, pain, or sensations, just a lump that I named Julia.

Did you immediately suspect Cancer?

Although I knew there was something seriously wrong during that time, before I actually got diagnosed I started using oil heavily — rounds of RSO in the beginning of 2016. The lump was just there and benign, and after the diagnosis came in and they gave me a prognosis of surgery, radiation and chemo. The proposed surgery was to literally cut my head in half, remove a bunch of stuff and winch it back together, and I said I’ll call you later and hit the trail looking for Cannabis to use.


How has your perspective changed since your cancer diagnosis?

Here I am in the Cannabis capital of the nation, and medical Cannabis used to be legal, my diagnosis came right after medical marijuana got squashed, and I’m sitting going “What the fucking fuck,” here I am looking for medicine and Cannabis that three months ago I had full access to… and now I’m treating myself and suddenly I go “Woah, I can’t get it anymore,” I have to go underground, because a gram of RSO at a store is $50 to $60, and suddenly I saw it from a patient’s point of view — my God, I’ve been treating myself with this and its been great, now the doctors want to cut my head off and I’m still doing well, why can’t I keep doing well.

Has the change that ended medical marijuana in Washington made it harder for you as a patient? How are you able to get your meds and what are you doing for treatment?

I get my oil from the underground, and I’m really relying on this underground Cannabis railway that is helping patients do their thing. I take as much as I possibly can, I drop tincture right on the tumor, and since there’s enough lipids and enzymes in the throat and mucus; the theory is that it’s breaking the blood brain barrier right away.

I’ve been treating for nine months and cut sugar out of my diet and I could see from scans and reading that the metabolism of a tumor is like ten times that of a normal body, so it thrives on calories. I dropped 40 pounds, been doing all the oil, and my tumor has shrunk down to the size of a walnut.

Is it worth registering as a medical Cannabis patient?

I can’t get oil legally and affordably, so fuck the law. Even deeply in the industry I can’t meet my needs. I’m not willing to sign my rights away and be registered for a 10 percent discount — it’s ridiculous.

How do you feel today after implementing your healthcare?

Here’s the thing—the existential anguish is as deep as it can be. I’m as healthy as a tree, completely looking and feeling great, people look at me and go “What, you have cancer?” and it’s hard to believe. Just good living, smoking shit tons of pot, and doing 500mg a day of the 3:1 tincture and all the oil I can get my hands on. Throughout this year, I haven’t felt anything at all, no symptoms just this lump

Have the doctors noticed a difference?

We’ve taken surgery off the plate and compared to others with similar cancers I’m doing fantastic. I hate to put it mildly but it’s literally all I’ve done: consume as much CBD and oil as I can afford and source. Exercise and no sugar but I still smoke like crazy and I haven’t been doing that much.
Really it’s because I’ve been so overwhelmed.

How do your doctors view your use of Cannabis treatments?

I make sure they know I’m treating this with Cannabis, and I want them to remember when they are asked. They can remember my case and watch me, let’s do this! I get a lot of raised eyebrows, and reactions were literally crickets, and when I did hear something it was a mumble of “There’s no science,” and the other mumble was “Makes people get the munchies,” and that’s the only two positive statements I have heard from a dozen doctors. That’s it. Everyone else simply lowers their eyes, goes back to paperwork and shakes their heads and says “Good for you.”

You feel like they’re ignoring the cure?

I don’t feel angry, I feel anger at the conspiracy, there’s no other word for it. The reality of pharma and upper levels of regulation — people put these laws into place and make decisions about life saving medicines and we have no clue. Why are we still using a drug from 1973 to treat Cancer in a different century? There’s a billion reasons why Cannabis is illegal, and I’m not a conspiracy guy, but that’s what a great conspiracy is all about.

What’s the next step in your treatment?

It’s tough, and it begins right away. On Friday I go in for a procedure to have a nozzle stuck into my belly that sticks out eight inches to feed me, so when things get tough soon with radiation and chemo, I feed myself through this tube. Apparently, my type of chemo won’t make me lose my hair, the one good thing about the whole deal. But at the end of the day where we are now, it’s supposed to be curable.

Do you have any advice for people trying to use MMJ?

I share the frustration of patients everywhere and all we can do is affect the people we can. For other patients, my advice is speak up. Don’t be afraid to tell your doctor, “‘When I smoke this strain I get cotton mouth, or this one gives me the munchies, or this one makes me sleep,’“ and make it clear to them to note this down. At the end of the day, it’s curable.

Every single person, down to the woman I’m giving blood to later today, I’m going to say I heard it’s curable, and she’ll agree. But coming out the other side, I’m going through a battle, but I’m going to make it.

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