Recently a 5-year-old child was administered a medical marijuana card, the youngest person to ever receive one. Her parents are nothing less than ecstatic, as this drug has worked wonders to reduce the amount and severity of her chronic, life-threatening epileptic seizures. This new found use for the highly controversial drug has been the reason for much debate, as well as hundreds of families deciding to relocate to Colorado, where marijuana is accessible to children to cure epileptic seizures.
One of the first children to begin using cannabis to cure seizures is 6-year-old Charlotte Figi, who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, which causes severe seizures that occur daily. The seizures are something a child never grows out of, and lead to physical and mental developmental delays, as well as a very low quality of life.
After countless near-fatal seizures, hospital visits, drugs and diet changes that didn’t seem to drastically improve Charlotte’s condition, as a last hope her parents looked to medical marijuana. Once the lengthy process of consulting with doctors and getting Charlotte a medicinal marijuana card and finding a dispensary ended, Charlotte was given her first dose, and her parents never looked back. The effects of the drug caused the frequency and severity of her seizures to drastically diminish, giving Charlotte a second chance at life.
Due to Charlotte and other children with Dravet Syndrome’s success with medicinal marijuana, many families have moved to Colorado for their suffering child, where marijuana is accessible to children as a cure for epileptic seizures.
The curative cannabis given to these children is a special strain of the drug, which is specifically created with intentions of medical use. This strain, affectionately named “Charlotte’s Web” after the first successful user, has very low levels of THC but high levels of cannabinoid, or CBD. This strain capitalizes on the organic compound CBD’s ability to reduce brain activity that causes seizures without a high concentration of THC which can give cannabis users it’s stereotypical dazed “high” feeling. Children who suffer from epileptic seizures are often given one or two oral doses of the oil extracted from this hemp plant daily to keep seizures at bay.
One of the main dispensaries that provides children suffering from Dravet Syndrome and chronic seizures with Charlotte’s Web is The Stanley Brothers. Since realizing the impact that their medicinal marijuana has on suffering children, The Stanley Brothers created a foundation, Realm of Caring, which helps to provide medicinal marijuana, specifically the strain Charlotte’s Web, to families in need of the drug for their children at a very low cost.
While many parents have found medicinal marijuana to be the miracle drug for their children suffering from seizures, administering the drug to children is still highly controversial and not yet sufficiently researched. However, the Epilepsy Foundation of America is pushing for increased access to medicinal marijuana for those in need. Since medicinal marijuana has been accessible to children as a successful cure for epileptic seizures the foundation is working to reduce restrictions on the drug, making it available for those suffering from epilepsy.
By Allison Longstreet