Fran Drescher: A Voice for Change

August 22, 2018

As the plenary speaker for this year’s Cannabis Science Conference, Fran Drescher is once again lending her voice to advocate for change in the cannabis industry. She recently spoke to us about the Cancer Schmancer Movement and her involvement in the cannabis industry.

Fran Drescher is probably most well-known for her role as “Fran Fine” in the hit CBS show The Nanny, where her iconic voice and laugh took the world by storm. Drescher has had an illustrious career ranging from TV, film, and Broadway to writing, politics, and cancer advocacy. As an 18-year uterine cancer survivor, she became the founder, president, and visionary of the nonprofit Cancer Schmancer Movement, where she focuses on three prongs to fight the disease: early detection, prevention, and advocacy. Some of the health organization’s accomplishments include early detection from the “Fran Vans” that provide free mammograms to women without access to healthcare and the “Detox Your Home” prevention campaign that educates people to reduce risk through healthy living. In addition, Drescher has used her unique voice on Capitol Hill to advocate for a range of health issues. She was instrumental in passing the bipartisan “Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act” by unanimous consent, earning her two commendations in the Congressional Record. She is a U.S. State Department Public Diplomacy Envoy for Women’s Health, traveling globally to meet with heads of state, cancer patients, local nongovernmental organizations, as well as military bases and hospitals. As the plenary speaker for this year’s Cannabis Science Conference, Drescher is once again lending her voice to advocate for change in the cannabis industry. She recently spoke to Cannabis Science and Technology about the Cancer Schmancer Movement and her involvement in the cannabis industry.

How did you first get involved with the cannabis industry?
I suffer from inflammation as a consequence of my cancer surgery and began to experiment with cannabis medicinals to help support my body and reduce inflammation.

Your battle with cancer led to you writing a book about your survival and eventually to starting the Cancer Schmancer Movement and establishing the Cancer Schmancer Foundation. Please tell us about the Cancer Schmancer organization.
The Cancer Schmancer Movement focuses on causation rather than reductionism. For this reason, we are a more radical nonprofit within the health space than most. With more than 95% of disease either caused or exacerbated by environmental toxins, we all must start asking ourselves what is making Americans sick and how can we eliminate it from our daily lives. Let’s not get cancer in the first place. How is that for a cure!

Has advocating for early cancer detection, cancer prevention, and policy changes led you to any surprising health discoveries?
How we live equals how we feel. We have to stop running to take a pill and suppress symptoms, and start asking ourselves what is my body communicating to me? What am I doing wrong? What do I need to change? And how can I fortify my immune system to operate at an optimal level?

At the 2016 Fran Drescher Health Summit you featured a discussion on cannabis with Dr. Uma V.A. Dhanabalan, MD, MPH, FAAFP. Why did you think it was important to include cannabis in your health summit?
Dr. Uma honored us with her cannabis expertise in both 2016 and 2017 at the Cancer Schmancer Master Class Health Summit. I think cannabis is an ancient medicinal with incredible healing powers. And now that the prohibition has been lifted in many states, I think it’s important that the messaging be delivered by a highly accredited Harvard medical doctor who would be able to more successfully straddle the fence between embracing cannabis as a first option medicinal and the fear-based victims of prohibition propaganda.

What is the biggest misconception or hurdle to overcome when discussing medical cannabis with people who are hesitant to try it or unaware of its benefits?
Most people seem to feel safer taking prescriptive drugs and think of cannabis as an illegal street drug. But that logic is actually a very well-crafted 20th century big business campaign that brainwashed a lot of people. When someone is diagnosed with a disease or is living with chronic illness or pain, or mental illness, the journey toward wellness is an extremely personal one and truly a decision only one can make for themselves. All I can say is what I do for me and why. And if that resonates with others, more power to them.

You’ve said publicly that cannabis is one of the greatest plants on the planet. Do you think we will see it become legal at the federal level any time soon?
I honestly have no way of knowing that nor can I predict it. I’m just grateful that there are some states in the union that realized that prohibition was based on greed, not science.

Do you plan to continue educating people and advocating for medical cannabis use?
Yes, I think that the more high-profile people who can show leadership by promoting the benefits of cannabis, the more of a groundswell will occur. As a consequence, it will be more difficult to put cannabis back in the closet.

Fran Drescher is the founder, president and visionary of the nonprofit Cancer Schmancer Movement, where she focuses on three prongs to fight the disease: early detection, prevention, and advocacy. Drescher has a reputation for passion and commitment. She received two Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal as the lovable “Miss Fine” on CBS’s hit series The Nanny, which she both created and executive produced. Drescher is also an accomplished author of several books including Cancer Schmancer and Enter Whining. Drescher will deliver her plenary address titled “My Journey from Cancer to Cannabis” at the 2018 Cannabis Science Conference on Tuesday, August 28, at 3:00 p.m. in Exhibit Hall B.