Former Playboy Model 'Treating' Brain Cancer With Cannabis Oil After Refusing Chemotherapy

Kerri Parker was first diagnosed with two brain cancers in 2014. Reuters

A former Playboy model with brain cancer says she has refused chemotherapy and is instead trying to treat her disease with cannabis oil.

Kerri Parker, 34, told the U.K.'s the Daily Mirror, that she did not want to have the chemotherapy advised by her doctors because of the side effects. The model was diagnosed with two types of brain tumor at the end of 2013 and, at the time, she was treated with surgery.

However, last month she was told the tumor had returned. She told the newspaper: "My chemo team wanted me to have 10 to 12 cycles but went on to tell me that no one with brain cancer has managed to have the full lot.

"I've been working hard over the past few years. I'm training for a black belt in martial arts, and I'm the fittest and healthiest I've been, so when doctors say they want me to have treatment which will make me sick, it makes no sense to me.

"I don't want my hair to fall out from chemo, or my face burned from radiotherapy. I train daily, run a model academy and a nutrition business and I don't want having cancer to affect all of this. Cannabis has helped many others with cancer. I'm willing to put faith in it too. I can't imagine any judge would convict a girl for using cannabis to save her life. It's a risk I'm ready to take."

The use of cannabis oil, also known as THC, is illegal in the U.K. Parker is importing it from Spain, where it is legal. She says using the drug could land her in prison, "but I truly believe it is the only chance I have of living right now."

Parker has been using cannabis oil for the last six months in the hope it would prevent her cancer from returning. During this time, she has experienced side effects associated with it, including dizziness, low blood pressure and an increased heart rate.

Stock image of cannabis leafs. A former Playboy model is relying on cannabis oil to treat her brain tumor. Getty Images

There is no strong evidence to suggest cannabis oil has anti-cancer properties or that it prevents cancer from returning. Justin Stebbing, professor of cancer medicine and Oncology at Imperial College London, is quoted as saying: "Patients refuse chemo for all sorts of reasons—a decision I'd respect—but to say cannabis oils could help prolong survival of brain cancer would be a push. Cannabis does have painkilling effects, but it doesn't actually have any anti-cancer properties."

Research shows that people who opt for non-traditional therapies as their sole line of treatment are at a far greater risk of dying than those follow medical advice. Earlier this year, a team from Yale found that people who shun chemotherapy in favor of alternative therapies are 2.5 times more likely to die.

While a number of strides are being made in research relating to the chemical components of cannabis, there is not enough evidence to support its potential as a cancer treatment. According to the U.K. charity MacMillan Cancer Support, laboratory research has indicated cannabinoids can cause a cell to die and stop cells growing. But in some cases it can also help cancer cells to grow. The National Cancer Institute currently approves the use of cannabis and its components to relieve discomfort from cancer or treatment side effects. It does not support its use to treat the disease alone.

As well as working as a Playboy model, Parker previously held the title of Miss U.K. and worked as a body double for Megan Fox. She said her family supports her decision to refuse chemotherapy: "Not a single person said I'd made the wrong decision. My family are in support. Mum told me from day one she doesn't want me having chemo. She fully believes we can beat this cancer ourselves."