A beloved reality TV star, Big Ang of Mob Wives, is facing a severe setback in dealing with her cancer, and her family has turned to the internet and a likely dubious alternative treatment for help.

As reported by the Daily News, Big Ang, whose real name is Angela Raiola, 55, is now in the hospital following the return of her cancer earlier this past December. Last March, Raiola was diagnosed with throat cancer — stage 2, according to an interview she gave to People Magazine at the time — and she underwent surgery and radiation treatment. With its return, the now-stage 4 cancer has spread to her brain and lungs.

In lieu of this, Raiola’s sister, Janine Detore created a GoFundMe campaign on February 2, recounting the so-far futile efforts to treat Raiola’s cancer with chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

“Well here we are at the emergency room waiting to see why her breathing is labored and the amount of pain she is having is by far more than she could handle,” she went on to write. “So I suggested cannabis oil as an alternative. This is why I am putting up this go fund me (sic) to try to help my sister to get this oil to help her at least be pain free.”

So why cannabis oil?

Well, though marijuana is technically illegal in many parts of the U.S., there’s some support showing cannabinoids (not just from pot) may reduce chemotherapy-related pain in patients, to the point where even professional organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics have asked for marijuana to be decriminalized so it can be studied further for exactly that purpose. There’s also some promising but even more speculative research showing cannabinoids can uniquely target and kill cancer cells and even anecdotes of supposedly miraculous recoveries.

These studies, however, are generally in the earliest stages of research and it’ll likely take years before we can be sure of anything concrete. Maybe cannabinoids can eliminate cancer cells or cut off their blood supply in the real world, or maybe, like many a purported cancer cure, they can only work in the lab. Even if they were a successful treatment, who’s to say they would work any better than the treatment Raiola has already received for an obviously very aggressive cancer? The stories are ultimately just that, stories that we have no real way of verifying for ourselves.

What we do know is that desperate people have been taken for a ride when it comes to cannabis oil. Charity Cancer Research UK noted in 2015 that “scammers are tricking cancer patients and their families into handing over money for ‘cannabis oil’, yet receiving nothing in return.”

Their verdict on the topic itself? “There is no doubt that cannabinoids — both natural and synthetic — are interesting biological molecules. Hundreds of scientists around the world are investigating their potential in cancer and other diseases — as well as the harms they can cause...But claims that this body of preclinical research is solid ‘proof’ that cannabis or cannabinoids can cure cancer is highly misleading to patients and their families, and builds a false picture of the state of progress in this area.”

For its part, Detore’s GoFundMe page has already surpassed the initial $25,000 goal set in little less than 3 days, and it’s now up to $37,000. “I'm not sure that it will work but I'm praying,” wrote Detore. “We all thank you in advance for your prayers & kind wishes. Help Big Ang fight her BIGGEST BATTLE!”

Perhaps the best wish to offer Big Ang is that her conventional treatments finally kick in and get her through her ordeal so that she’s never forced to rely on cannabis oil at all.