If you ask us now, I am very well versed in weed lingo and we both view it as a viable option for Maggie. We are giving our current program 6 months of full effort to see what improvements we see along the lines of better seizure control. Then, pursuing cannabis may very likely be our next step. However, there are some major hurdles to overcome to obtain access. I have been researching and staying in the loop regarding pediatric use of cannabis for a few months now. As we continue to subject Maggie to a cocktail of pharmaceuticals, still without providing complete seizure control, this is not something we take lightly. We are in search of the best option to allow Maggie to develop to her full potential, while best honoring her body. Please know that this is my general interpretation of the information I have come across. I think it's worth piggybacking the recent press attention. I encourage everyone to do their own research and become knowledgeable on this topic.
In the past couple of years there has been some amazing pioneers in the seizure world that have come to see tremendous results with the use of cannabis for children that have not responded to traditional anti-convulsants. Now, to clear the air, it is not smoked. We would not be smoking to get Maggie "high". It is made into an oil that can be given with food, not uncommon to any of the meds or supplements we are already giving her. Also, in this case, it is specifically grown with extremely low THC (the psychoactive part that gets people "high") and high levels of CBD. Granted, long term side effects have not been thoroughly studied. The children that have not responded to seizure meds that have started MMJ (medical marijuana) have taken off and soared developmentally. I have yet to hear a family mention negative side effects from the high ratio CBD. Given the lengthy list of side effects for Maggie's meds and the recreational use of marijuana for years, we'd be willing to take our chances of the unknown. (Willie Nelson's been using it for over 50 years and we would be ecstatic if Maggie even made it to his age, let alone be functioning as well as he does.) While, yes, I do believe Maggie's seizures contribute to her delays, without a doubt, I am confident the meds play a much greater role in her lagging development. Marijuana is a natural, God created substance, not synthetic, which of course is more appealing to me. Don't get me wrong here, that doesn't mean I support the misuse and abuse of anyone's body for recreational use. It is worth pointing out that the past 4 presidents, including Barack Obama have admitted to using marijuana. For those naysayers out there, here's the kicker, there has not been a single reported death by overdose (let alone use) of marijuana. Not even tylenol can claim that. Interesting, eh?
Now for the tricky part, and why I feel the general public needs to be more educated on this. Obviously, I have vested interested into delving into this, but the general public doesn't. However there are huge legal barriers that make it difficult for those that could benefit from MMJ from obtaining it. Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug, which means it is most addicting and dangerous. Why it has that classification, I'm still unsure. However, federally, it is illegal. And to make matters worse, because of this classification, the research necessary cannot be done. So, the research to prove it is safe and effective can't be done because it is a Schedule 1 substance. Hmm... So, how do people currently access it? Certain states have become compassionate states and approved the use of MMJ. Most of these states requires 2 doctors to sign off on it and some still don't allow use for minors. Since the states are the ones to enforce the laws, it's kind of like determining they will somewhat turn a blind eye as long as the individuals have their MMJ card and are not in possession of more that what the state deems as legal. Even still, the federal government can seek out dispensaries to shut them down, which limits access. Wow! So, in a legal state, growing your own can often be a valid option. (Given my failed garden this year, I think we would need to hire a grower). In Colorado particularly, there is a group of brothers that grow as a charity to provide this specific low THC, high CBD strain known as Charlotte's Web. Due to all the recent PR, the waiting lists for places like this are growing. Not committed to it yet, we did request to be put on the waiting list. If we decide down the road, that this is our next step, we wouldn't want to have to wait for years for it to be available.
Because there is so much legalities involved and we are in a democratic society, I strongly urge you to watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta's program on CNN tonight to begin educating yourselves on the topic. I have been fascinated by the misconceptions I have had. The program is on at 8pm and 11pm EST. From there, Maggie may be requesting your petitioning to state officials. Unfornately neither Tennessee or Iowa allow for the use of MMJ at this time.