Olivia Newton-John was a medical cannabis trailblazer

Published on August 11, 2022 by oz. staff

Photo: Wikipedia
Olivia Newton-John performs in 2017. The vocal celebrity advocate for medical cannabis has died.

As the world mourns Olivia Newton-John’s death, many are paying tribute to her work bringing attention to cancer—including her pro-cannabis stance.

The four-time Grammy Award winner may be best remembered for her role in Grease, in which she recorded the hit duet, You’re the One That I Want, with co-star John Travolta.

She is also well-known for her advocacy on behalf of cancer patients.

In 1992, Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and breast reconstruction. She had further bouts with the disease in 2013 then again in 2017.

This week, she lost the long on-again, off-again battle, dying at the age of 73.

Newton-John was one of the first celebrities to openly share her battle with breast cancer and advocated the ideal of treating the whole person and not just the disease.

She spoke publicly about using herbal remedies and medical cannabis to ease the pain. Telling Closer: “There are a lot of herbs I take. And over the last 10 years, I’ve used cannabis. My husband makes me tinctures that help me immensely with pain, inflammation, sleep and anxiety. I’d like to research all that and find out what else is going on because I feel good.”

The celebrity used cannabis to take the edge off chemotherapy’s terrible side effects.

In a 2019 interview with 60 Minutes, she talked about how community views on the benefits of cannabis are at odds with the legal and regulatory landscape in most of the world, particularly in her home of Australia.

Her husband, John Esterling, grew several cannabis strains to help his wife.

“Her mobility is increasing, her energy levels are increasing,” he told 60 Minutes.

“I can’t say it’s all cannabis, because we do have a variety of Amazonian botanicals too. Then she’s doing an estrogen blocker and another drug that facilitates that estrogen block.”

Newton-John was clear in that interview about how she felt about cannabis.

“It’s not a drug, it’s a herb and a plant,” she told reporter Liz Hayes.

“I think when people use the word drug, it’s a misconception as to what it is and it gets people thinking, ‘oh it’s just another drug’, but it’s not.”

The Olivia Newton-John Research Institute has been working to help advance the acceptance of cannabis as medicine.

— With files from