Tommy Chong Discusses His Cancer Treatment

He's keeping a positive attitude and joked it's a "pain in the butt."

ByABC News
June 19, 2015, 4:01 PM

— -- Tommy Chong revealed earlier this week that he's battling rectal cancer.

In an interview with ABC News, he jokingly called the diagnosis "a pain in the butt" and that he's keeping a positive attitude.

"I know that life doesn't end just because the body gets put in the ground," he said. "The soul is forever, is eternal. So, I know that, and that's the comforting thing."

Chong, 77, said his cancer, which he described as "in stage one," will be treated with chemo and radiation -- and, unsurprisingly, marijuana, in the form of suppositories.

"I don't tell them I smoke, we don't talk about that. That's a no-no," he said of his doctors. "But as far as the treating it with the suppositories and that, they're all for it."

The FDA website indicates that the organization has not approved marijuana as "a safe and effective drug for any indication." Both the FDA and the American Cancer Society support scientific research on cannabinoids, however.

"Medical decisions about pain and symptom management should be made between the patient and his or her doctor, balancing evidence of benefit and harm to the patient, the patient’s preferences and values, and any laws and regulations that may apply," reads a statement from The American Cancer Society.

Chong explained the suppositories -- which he gets from a dispensary after he visited a doctor -- provide a "manageable high." There are other benefits to using marijuana too, he noted.

"I haven't done the radiation yet, but I've been told you get very fatigued, you get tired, and [experience] a loss of appetite," he said. "Well, the pot gives you the munchies, and the munchies gives you nourishment you need for your body.

"The main thing about pot is it affects your mental state," he continued. "Instead of moaning and groaning about what you have, you start listening to music and reading books, and you get very creative. ... It takes the brain off, 'The glass is half-empty,' and puts it on 'The glass is half-full.'"

To that end, Chong, who previously battled stage-one prostate cancer in 2012, said that while his wife has had trouble coming to terms with his diagnosis ("She's the one that's suffering," he said), he's staying active. The former "Dancing with the Stars" contestant says he is going to keep working throughout his treatment, and hitting the gym dance floor.

"They recommend physical exercise," he said. "I'm getting so good at tango, I scare myself!"