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.)
“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?