We know the healing benefits of medical marijuana for those suffering from chronic illnesses such as chronic pain, seizures, and complications of cancer. While most of these sufferers are adults, there are a rare number of patients that have a difficult time getting the medication they need — minor children. This week we discuss two special cases of children and their families that fought for the treatment they needed and got.
One of medical marijuana’s most recognizable brands is the CBD oil Charlotte’s Web. Created by the Stanley brothers, the yet-unnamed CBD oil began with little to no interest until a little girl with Dravet Syndrome and her determined parents entered.
Charlotte Figis started out as a normal, healthy baby girl. It was at 3 months old when she had her first seizure. After years of tests and screenings, no official diagnosis was made and by the time Charlotte was almost 2 years old, she was having up to 300 grand mal seizures a week. It was then they took Charlotte to Children’s Hospital Colorado where she received a diagnosis of Dravet Syndrome, a disease that progresses to multiple types of seizures, psychomotor delays, and ataxia. While seizures fall under the criteria of cannabis use, there were only 39 patients under the age of 18.
At the same time Charlotte’s family found two doctors to sign for her ability to use medical marijuana, the Stanley Brothers were formulating a strain of marijuana high in CBD and low in THC that no one wanted — except for the Figis. Though the brothers originally had reservations due to Charlotte’s age; once they knew her story, they were on board.
After a trial period, Charlotte now gets the cannabis oil twice a day with food. Her seizures are down to two or three per month, mostly while sleeping, and she is a normal and thriving 6-year-old. The Stanley Brothers went on to call their CBD strain, Charlotte’s Web.
As an 11-year-old, Billy Caldwell was dying. Suffering from a rare form of epilepsy, Billy was having up to 100 seizures per day from the time he was just months old. He was unable to walk, feed himself, or do normal activities such as playing with toys or go to school. Being from Northern Ireland, Billy was unable to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana, due to the fact that it was not legal. So Billy’s mother did the only thing she could do — she took the family to America.
In the States, Billy was placed on a CBD oil regimen. While Charlotte Caldwell, Billy’s mother, waited for the worst, soon 90 days had passed with not a single seizure. “To me, that’s incredible, because one seizure can kill him,” Charlotte told ITV News. What’s more is the CBD oil treatment was improving Billy’s symptoms of autism: making better eye contact, engaging in games and books, etc.
The Caldwells were eventually able to transfer Billy’s prescription to his general practitioner, making him the very first person to receive a prescription for medical marijuana in the UK. At last mention, Billy had gone 300 days without one seizure.
Medical marijuana is now legal in the UK, though it is very highly regulated. But it all started with one little boy.
While the idea of giving medical marijuana to children might seem unorthodox at first, the benefits of CBD for the sickest amongst them are fastly becoming indisputable.