Bill Turnbull says taking cannabis oil was ‘an enjoyable experience’ as he is reunited with BBC Breakfast colleagues Dan Walker and Naga Munchetty to describe his cancer fight
- A new documentary follows his attempts to find treatment for prostate cancer
- He announced his diagnosis in 2018 and has been taking cannabidiol treatment
- Turnbull, 63, told BBC viewers he has ‘no aches or pains and feels healthy’
- Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive broadcasts on Channel 4 on Thursday, October 24
Bill Turnbull has told his old colleagues Naga Munchetty and Dan Walker his use of cannabis oil to help treat his prostate cancer was ‘an enjoyable experience’ – as he revealed cutting out meat and alcohol also gave him a huge health boost.
The BBC Breakfast presenter, who appeared on the show via a video link on Tuesday, said that he currently feels ‘no aches or paints and feels remarkably healthy’ having embraced holistic therapy in addition to conventional treatments.
Turnbull, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in late 2017, said: ‘The only reason I can’t be with you is not cancer-related, I’ve had a bug that I can’t quite shake off.
‘But I’ve had no aches and pains for a long time and I feel remarkably cheerful and healthy.’
The BBC Breakfast presenter told his colleagues on Tuesday that he currently feels ‘no aches or paints and feels remarkably healthy’ having embraced holistic treatments in addition to traditional intervention
He told his friend and former co-host Munchetty that he stopped after cannabis oil after shooting Turnbull: Staying Alive because he was unsure of the right dose and appropriate strain due to a lack of long-term medical research.
He said: ‘Cannabis oil made me high and very light-headed. But research shows THC in cannabis does kill cancer cells.
‘It’s about doing more research – to be honest it was an enjoyable experience – but I stopped doing it recently as I wasn’t sure where it was taking me.
‘It’s like taking an Aspirin. I didn’t know enough about the amount and quantities or type or strength to take. And because of that, I wasn’t sure about where to go with it so I stopped.’
He said that he has been trying to help himself with changes to his diet and his attitude, and Munchetty told him: ‘On a personal level, it feels like you have certainly mellowed and much more open to new ideas.’
She said that it ‘tickled her’ to learn he had been eating vegetable broth, adding: ‘I know you’re a man who enjoys his meat.’
Turnbull, 63, replied: ‘I used to be very fond of meat and I’ve given it up largely, and I’ve given up alcohol as well, which will come as a surprise to you.
Turnbull, 63, announced his diagnosis in 2018 and had been taking cannabidiol to tackle his symptoms for the new programme Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive
He told Naga Munchetty that he stopped using cannabis after the documentary because he was unsure of the right dose and appropriate strain due to a lack of in-depth, long-term medical research
‘And I feel much better for it, and you have to do those things.
‘As for mellowing, not getting out of bed at half past three every morning and doing three hours of live television does make you mellow over time.’
Classic FM host Turnbull, who presented on BBC Breakfast from 2001 until 2016, was diagnosed with prostate cancer which then spread to other parts of his body, and he details his treatment in a new Channel 4 documentary called Staying Alive.
He told Munchetty and Walker that he ‘had a slight epiphany over the last couple of months’ since filming on the programme finished, and that he came to a ‘realisation that things aren’t quite the way I thought they were’.
Asked for his current prognosis, Turnbull said: ‘The official prognosis would probably be that, when I started I was given 10, then 12 to 14 years, then my oncologist said he wants to get me to 80.
Asked for his current prognosis, Turnbull said: ‘The official prognosis would probably be that, when I started I was given 10, then 12 to 14 years, then my oncologist said he wants to get me to 80’
During the interview, Turnbull, who paid tribute to his wife, explained he no longer has an ‘adversarial relationship with cancer’ and instead views it as something he must live with
‘But the way I look at it is, I kind of put that to one side and I think, well, I’m going to live for as long as I’m going to live for, whatever happens, happens.
‘If I can make myself get better that’s great, and if I don’t, well that’s fine as well.
‘I’m just going to keep living as long as it seems a good thing to do.’
During the interview, Turnbull, who paid tribute to his wife, explained he no longer has an ‘adversarial relationship with cancer’ and instead views it as something he must live with.
‘I’m lucky to have a truly wonderful family and remarkable wife who’s been my rock.
‘I said at the end of my documentary, if you have enough love in your life then it really carries you through – these little things all count.’
In clips released ahead of the documentary previously, Turnbull is seen smoking the cannabis and descending into fits of giggles as he tries to articulate the sensation.
He said through fits of giggles after smoking: ‘I cannot compose a sentence, I just can’t do it.’
Despite some reservations about cannabis, he has called for greater freedom for medicinal use.
The veteran broadcaster hopes that when Brexit is dealt with politicians can get on with ‘constructive’ things like loosening the restrictions on medicinal drug use
The 63-year-old announced his prostate cancer diagnosis in 2018 and has been taking cannabidiol to tackle his symptoms
Turnbull said: ‘I took a little bit from time to time and it was soothing. It made me giggle and want to throw up over the director.
‘I do think we need to have a proper conversation in this country about the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, it’s legal for that purpose in more than 20 countries now.
‘We should be one of them, it’s been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.’
He added: ‘Once everybody gets past talking about the ‘B’ word constantly in the halls of power, we can start doing more constructive things, so this would be one of them.’
Staying Alive shows a tearful Turnbull revealing the impact of the disease on his family, his work, diet, and relationships with BBC colleagues
He said of his recurrent tears in the programme: ‘I’m a bit embarrassed. It’s a bit of a blubberthon, God I’m crying again’
Staying Alive shows a tearful Turnbull revealing the impact of the disease on his family, his work, diet, and relationships with BBC colleagues.
The former Breakfast host is filmed tearfully embracing Sian Williams, who has also suffered through cancer.
He said of his recurrent tears in the programme: ‘I’m a bit embarrassed. It’s a bit of a blubberthon, God I’m crying again.’
‘It’s a very emotional business, one is because I am on a hormone treatment which does make me spill over, to suppress the testosterone.
‘It makes you more likely to cry and crying is a very important thing to do, I think, when under this kind of stress.’
- Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive airs on Channel 4 on Thursday, October 24