July 29, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) In the last several years, stories of cannabis oil helping epileptic children have populated the news cycle. Around the world, CBD (cannabidiol) treatments are gaining popularity due to their ability to rapidly alleviate seizures without making children “high.” Though these treatments are increasingly available in American states with legalized recreational and medical cannabis, they are not always freely available. Facing medical restrictions, one mother in Canada has vowed to treat her child—even if her doctor refuses to renew their prescription.
The Wilkinson family, from just outside Calgar, Alberta, resorted to CBD oil to treat their nine-year-old daughter. Mia suffered from crippling seizures due to Ohtahara syndrome. Her mother, Sarah Wilkinson, explained that Mia “… sometimes had seizures that would last up to 23 hours and she would have to be put into a medically-induced coma.”
The dozens of pills she was prescribed failed to inhibit seizures and decreased her quality of life, so the Wilkinson’s were immensely relieved when a neurologist approved cannabis oil to treat Mia—and it worked. As Anti-Media reported,
“They said her EEG was comparable to someone with a benign form of epilepsy ─ that’s never happened before,” Sarah said. Miraculously, she was ultimately seizure free for 18 months, weaned off of 30-40 pharmaceuticals a day. Mia has also learned to walk and at nine years old, said her first words like “yes,” “no” and “Mama.” “And ‘Mama’ is all I hear anymore. I bawled when I first heard it,” Sara recounted.
The family was devastated to learn that while medical marijuana is legal in Canada, their doctor refused to renew Mia’s prescription because of resistance from Alberta Children’s Hospital. The hospital which initially allowed Mia to ingest cannabis oil. As the doctor explained in an email to the Sarah,
“Due to the strict nature of the policy implemented here at Children’s, I am not allowed to fill the forms for renewal of medical marijuana.”
Though Health Canada, the country’s nationalized healthcare system, does not acknowledge cannabis as a legitimate treatment, the country’s court system ruled in June that people may use it to treat medical conditions. However, hospitals write their own policies regarding use, and Alberta Children’s changed its stance, leaving doctors to either buck policy or fall in line.
Wilkinson’s experience is not an isolated case. Canadian mother Kendra Myhre was forced to seek alternative treatments for her child’s Dravet syndrome—which causes severe seizures—when traditional methods failed to ease his symptoms. “We didn’t want to see him suffer and put him in a casket before the age of five,” Myhre said, explaining her decision to seek cannabis treatment. “We wanted to give him the best possible life for as long as he’s got, which probably won’t be long.” She recently found a doctor willing to write a prescription.
Even as cannabis laws evolve in the United States, innumerable families risk legal repercussions for treating their children. In Kansas, cannabis activist Shona Banda faces 30 years in prison for treating her Crohn’s disease with cannabis oil and sharing her method of treatment with others. Her son was taken from her, and her home raided after he touted cannabis oil’s benefits for his mother at an anti-drug presentation.
Convoluted regulations also make treatment difficult. One Des Moines mother is allowed to possess oil to treat her epileptic son but must take him outside to the parking lot of his care facility twice a day to administer treatment. A New Jersey family is suing their school district for their daughter’s right to administer cannabis treatment for epilepsy and autism at school.
Other families are picking up and moving to states that do allow medical cannabis use. This is the case with Hillary Rayburn, who moved from Oklahoma to Colorado to obtain cannabis for her child’s epilepsy.
Though individuals and families still face heart-wrenching restrictions, the trend toward cannabis legalization has already begun. Parents who engage in civil disobedience by treating their children not only help change the perception of the treatment but help chip away at the decaying infrastructure of prohibition. By standing up to unjust and inhumane laws in the face of increasing medical research on cannabis, parents are helping to change the landscape of the Drug War and medicine. Kids are hopping on the cannabis civil disobedience train, as well. Speaking at a recent symposium for medical cannabis research, 15-year-old Coltyn Turner explained that he’d “rather be illegally alive [by using cannabis oil] than legally dead.”
Perhaps the most touching aspect of the fight for legalized medical cannabis is the persistence of parents who refuse to let their children suffer. “You’d be amazed at the networking parents can do when they have children with such a fatal disability, and the ends they are willing to go to for their children,” Myhre told Vice News.
As for Wilkinson, she, too, will continue to treat her child in spite of her lack of approval to do so. “She’s my daughter and I’m not willing to see her die because some people are uncomfortable with Cannabis as therapy,” she said.
This article (When Parents Must Break the Law to Keep Their Children Alive) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carey Wedler joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in September of 2014. Her topics of interest include the police and warfare states, the Drug War, the relevance of history to current problems and solutions, and positive developments that drive humanity forward. Living at her place of birth, she currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Learn more about Wedler here!