Would you give chronically ill child medical marijuana?

USA Today wrote a fascinating story about chronically ill children moving to Colorado to be able to use medical marijuana to treat their condition.

The story specifically looks at children who are having massive amounts of Epileptic seizures each day.

Seven-year-old Greta Botker has had 15 or so seizures every day since she was five months old, according to the USA Today article. She couldn’t walk steadily, feed herself or talk.  Her family lives in Minnesota but the parents decided that one parent should move with Greta to Colorado so they could try a specific medical marijuana called Charlotte’s Web, which comes in a liquid form.  (The parents, Maria and Mark, switch off so they can also be with their kids in Minnesota too.)

From USA Today:

“Realm of Caring, a Colorado foundation started by the family that grows Charlotte’s Web, has 100 patients whose families have moved to Colorado from 43 states and two countries, says executive director Heather Jackson. It has a waiting list of more than 2,000 people, she says In all, the foundation has more than 300 medical marijuana patients, 200 of them children, Jackson says.”

“Charlotte’s Web is named after Charlotte Figi, the first child to try the strain two years ago. Charlotte, who was 5 at the time, suffered 60 seizures a day. Now, her parents say, she has none.”

“Cannabidiol is believed to act as a brake on parts of the brain that cause epileptic seizures and as a stimulant in other parts that help reduce them, says Igor Grant, director of the University of California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research…..”

“The Epilepsy Foundation and the American Epilepsy Society do not expressly tell families not to use medical marijuana, but they warn there is not enough research to show whether it is safe and effective. They urge patients to work with a doctor to determine the best treatment….”

“Sharon Levy, a pediatrician who directs the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, warns against using marijuana for any purpose. She says it has been proved to have negative long-term effects on children, such as impaired brain function and addiction. Though cannabidiol has shown some success in suppressing seizures, she says, there is no research to guide parents on dosages or long-term effects. “Marijuana is not a medicine,” she says.”

For Greta it seems to be working.  USA Today reports that while her treatment, which costs $600 a month, is not covered by insurance, it has reduced her seizures to four to six a day and she’s off of three of the five medicines she used to have to take.

So what do you think? Would you be willing to treat a chronically ill child with medical marijuana? Should more states allow medical marijuana so families aren’t having to separate to get treatments they need? Should insurance cover it?

61 comments Add your comment


February 18th, 2014
6:38 pm

@Richard is right. This doesn’t even need to be a question, considering how many prescriptions of ritalin and anti psychotic medications, with serious side effects, are disseminated to children.


February 18th, 2014
6:47 pm

@Pandora – Marijuana has been used as medicine for over 5000 years in Eastern countries. In the Western world, there are over 100 published papers related to medicinal use just during the later half of the 19th century. It has been used as medicine far longer than most pharmaceuticals.

Most pharmaceuticals are approved for the market with fairly short term testing. Then, if issues are reported once approved, they are sometimes withdrawn. For many medicines, it’s a fairly fast track to approval.


February 18th, 2014
11:06 pm


February 19th, 2014
10:22 am

the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

marijuana is California’s #1 crop, yet it’s illegal in the backwards USA, half my family and friends have grown for generations for a rapidly growing estimated 15 billion dollar cali crop..

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, and 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…

love and freedom forever



February 19th, 2014
11:16 am

Cannabis oil, which is used to treat the kids is CO, and marijuana have little to do with one another. The THC , the chemical that causes the high is removed in the oil. ANy credible author would have made the distinction. As presented here there is no attempt to differentiate between the two and gives the impression you must support one to have the other.

As medicine, the oil to treat should be legal, Smoking to get high to placate stoners, maybe, but taxed at 100%. Use the dropouts to run the federally controlled farms and using black market = loss of ability to buy legal.

Hidden Agenda

February 19th, 2014
3:10 pm

xxx – what a shame that you do not support individual liberty or freedom. I guess since the intoxicants you prefer are legal, everyone else can just go screw themselves or go to prison, right?


February 19th, 2014
3:11 pm

xxx, your ignorance is showing. Do you consider Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and a number of others, including most likely your lawyer, your accountant, your favorite actor or actress, even your favorite musician a dropout?
This plant is a natural substance and no government on the face of this Earth should be able to tell you what plant you can and cannot grow. Full legalization with the ability to plant and grow your own should be the only answer; I shouldn’t have to pay the government or any private company for the tomato I grow in my own garden, nor should I the cannabis plant if I so choose.

Hidden Agenda

February 19th, 2014
3:52 pm

ylojkt – the war on drugs is the great barometer by which to measure whether someone actually supports freedom, liberty, and self-ownership or not. Clearly you passed the test.


February 19th, 2014
6:19 pm

Yes…in a heartbeat…!!!

Holistic Hope

February 20th, 2014
1:08 am

Hello I’m Alex Ordonez and I am the founder of a company called Holistic Hope. After reading this article, I felt obligated to write you guys a message. We have seen a lot of families consider making the move out to Colorado for legal CBD products, one of the families being my own. As a result, we have made it our mission to provide epileptics and others with CBD products legally in all 50 states. Our CBD products are derived from hemp, the male cannabis plant, which is non-psychoactive unlike its female counterpart (marijuana). This allows our products to maintain legality throughout the entire United States. As a matter of fact, we are located in Florida, a completely non medical marijuana state! With our hemp oil testing in at 21.6% it won the 2013 award for best CBD concentrate.

Although we are a new and small company, we are trying to remain extremely socially active. Having an epileptic sister was the main motivation for starting this company. Our goal is to ensure as many epilepsy communities find out about our products as possible. If anyone has questions regarding CBD or our products please call (954) 410-8956 or check out our website holistichopefl.com

Thank you,
Alex Ordonez


February 21st, 2014
6:46 am

As the parent of a child with a TBI, I would investigate every resource to help him. Seeing how he deals, even now (almost 30 years later) with the effects of it and the PTSD are painful.