Current marijuana laws in place in certain states have begun to split families apart as they seek miracle cures in medical marijuana for ill family members. One such state is Minnesota where Clinton’s Big Stone County residents Mark and Maria Botker have had to split their family in two so their daughter with a severe form of epilepsy can access medical marijuana as a treatment.
Maria Botker now lives 800 miles away from their Minnesota family farm with her youngest daughter Greta, leaving Mark Botker with their two oldest daughters. Maria and Greta now live just south of Denver Colorado where Greta can receive a very specialized type of legal medical marijuana.
Greta had experienced up to 15 seizures a day which has now been diagnosed as Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome which is a very severe form of epilepsy. The disease usually strikes before the age of 4 in children and includes a few different types of seizures. Greta has already undergone brain surgery, special diets and endured taking up to 15 different types of medication but these conventional treatments have not been able to stop her seizures.
Maria who is also a nurse now carefully measures a dosage of marijuana oil mixed with olive oil into a gel capsule three times a day for Greta. After a two month treatment in Colorado, Greta’s seizures are now reduced to only four or five per day, less than a third of the amount of seizures she experienced while living in Minnesota. Greta once went 22 hours without having a single seizure, which is unheard of for children with this horrible debilitating disease.
The current medical marijuana laws in Minnesota have split the Botkers apart so that Greta can receive this magical oil that is now being called Charlotte’s Web. Jordan Stanley and his brothers run one of the largest medical marijuana grow operations in the state of Colorado where they cultivate a very special type of medical marijuana that is very low in THC, but high in another compound called CBD. THC is the component that gives marijuana smokers the high, while CBD is a non-psychoactive compound and is and anti-inflammatory that triggers neurological systems. The type of marijuana that the Stanley brothers grow is very close to industrial hemp more than regular marijuana that is grown for the high. Stanley says that a person would have to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole in order to get a high from their specialized medical marijuana that contains the high amounts of CBD.
The Stanley brothers run Realm of Caring which is a non-profit foundation that supplies Charlotte’s Web to children with seizures at an affordable low-cost. The organization now receives over 5000 phone calls in a month and the oil is now in such demand that the Stanley brothers are now looking to expand their grow operation to include two more greenhouses of the specialized strain of cannabis.
Charlotte’s Web was given the name from Charlotte Figi who was the first child to begin taking the oil just two years ago. Charlotte’s mother was also out of options that would aid her daughter’s life when she asked the Stanley brothers to supply her with the oil. Charlotte has Dravet Syndrome and was nearing the end of her life as she failed multiple conventional treatments for her disease. Now two years later Charlotte is off her pharmaceuticals, no longer needs a wheelchair or feeding tube. Her seizures have been reduced from 1,200 per month to just a couple.
Just after a few short months Greta has also been able to drop several of her medications. What is frustrating for most of the parents of these poor children is that the American Epilepsy Society still wants more research to know if marijuana is a safe treatment for epilepsy. The organization stated that they are against the federal law to possess or use marijuana.
The Botkers do have some hope on the horizon as Minnesota Rep. Carly Melin and Sen. Scott Dibble are proposing a bill that would legalize medical marijuana for several medical conditions when it is approved by a doctor. The new bill would allow patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, buy marijuana from a dispensary, or grow up to a dozen of their own plants. A recent poll showed more than 75 percent of voters in Minnesota support changing the laws to allow patients to receive medical marijuana. The bill will be presented soon after the Minnesota legislature reconvenes after February 25.
In the meantime, laws in some states will continue to split families apart as they seek medical marijuana treatments for their severely ill family members.
By Brent Matsalla