The use of cannabis extract medicine to treat children for cancer and epilepsy has been growing rapidly since the release of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary on CNN. In the original documentary, Charlotte Figi’s recovery from Dravet syndrome was extensively detailed. Before using high-cannabidiol cannabis oil, Charlotte was having up to 300 grand mal seizures a week. Using the strain now named after her, Charlotte’s Web, those seizures have dropped to about two per month. In Sanjay Gupta’s sequel, Weed 2: Cannabis Madness, another child patient named Vivian Wilson was discussed. Like Charlotte, she has Dravet syndrome, which improved remarkably after beginning use of high-CBD oil.
Other forms of epilepsy seem to respond just as well to high-CBD therapy. Dr. Margaret Gedde found that child patients with Dravet syndrome, Doose syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, metachromatic leukodystrophy, cortical dysplasia, and idiopathic epilepsy all improved with extract use. 8 of 11 patients observed 98-100% reduction in seizures, 1 reported 75% reduction, and 2 reported 20-45% reduction. These improvements occurred where other pharmaceuticals failed, and in most cases, were achieved in the first month of treatment.
Although high-CBD oils are greatly rising in popularity and credibility, it is critical that THC not be forgotten. For many children with epilepsy, some THC is needed to achieve total seizure control. And for many children, the non-decarboxylated, unheated form of THC known as THC-acid is working as well or better than high-CBD oils. In Australia, dozens of children are using THC-A tincture for epilepsy.
Tara O’Connell, another Dravet patient, was seizure free within a year of treatment and no longer needs a wheelchair. Other epilepsy patients, including Tara’s brother, are seeing similar results.
THC is also an integral component of treating cancer. Both THC and CBD kill cancer cells, and even work synergistically to inhibit cancer through multiple pathways. However, high-THC oils have historically been more utilized to treat cancer, and there are few cases where high-CBD treatment alone had a significant impact on cancer. Many parents are using CBD as an adjunct therapy to high-THC oils, both to mitigate the psychoactivity of THC and benefit from the synergy of the two primary cannabinoids.
A growing number of children are experiencing remarkable healing through the use of cannabis extracts. One of the first children to raise awareness of extract effectiveness for kids was Cash Hyde. Cash was diagnosed with a Stage IV brain tumor on May 3rd, 2010, and his prognosis was very poor.
Pharmaceuticals and chemotherapy put Cash in the ICU for two weeks. Cash’s parents soon learned that cannabis oil could potentially fight cancer, and Mike Hyde began secretly giving Cash oil through his feeding tube. Almost instant improvements were observed, and within two weeks, Cash was feeling much better and was off eight medications. In January 2011, Cash was declared cancer free.
Unfortunately, political problems cut off Cash’s oil supply, and his cancer returned. This time, a combination of proton therapy and cannabis oil eliminated the cancer, despite yet another negative prognosis. Yet again, politics cut off Cash’s supply of oil, but the Hydes were not able to procure more. Cash’s cancer returned for a third time, leading to his passing on November 14th, 2012. His experience is both a testament to the power of cannabis oil and the importance of continuing treatment after initial remission. Residual cancer cells often remain and reemerge, but it has been proven that a maintenance dose of cannabis oil can prevent this from happening.
Cash inspired countless parents to use cannabis to help treat their children. Mykayla Comstock is one of the most notable current child patients. In July 2012, she was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She began chemotherapy and did not respond well, with doctors saying she may need a bone marrow transplant. Mykayla’s parents began giving her cannabis oil, and within days the blast cell counts began dropping, and it wasn’t long until they were gone. The oil also eliminated the need to use traditional pain and nausea pills.
Landon Riddle, another child patient with leukemia, quickly rebounded with cannabis oil after being given only an 8% chance of survival. His experience was elaborated upon by Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an online CNN clip.
Another acute lymphoblastic leukemia patient named Silas Tedesco found substantial relief with high-CBD oil. Chemotherapy caused sickness, insomnia, and immobility, which led to the doctor recommending cannabis oil to combat those effects. Within eight days, Silas was walking, talking, smiling, and playing again. He went into remission shortly after and continues to improve.
An anonymous 14-year old female patient was the subject of a November 2013 Case Reports in Oncology study. She was diagnosed with terminal acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and 34 months of chemotherapy and radiation did nothing to control her leukemic blast cell count. Shortly after discontinuing traditional treatment, cannabis oil administration began. The leukemic blast cell count was almost completely abolished by Day 39. Unfortunately, the patient passed away a few weeks later, and according to the study cause of death was determined to stem from side effects of prior chemotherapy.
The effectiveness of cannabis extracts extends to brain cancers, which many children are finding success with.
Dahlia Barnhart is currently using high-CBD cannabis oil to help fight the disease, and according to her mom, it’s making a big difference. “I saw almost immediate responses cognitively; she developed into a normal 3-year-old from a very critically ill child almost overnight,” said Moriah Barnhart.
Another article which mentions Dahlia also discusses an anonymous child cancer patient using whole cannabis oil and CBD to fight an undisclosed type of terminal cancer. Hours after the patient’s mother administered the oils, improvement in quality of life was observed. After a few weeks, the child was walking, drawing, and joking again.
Another anonymous child recently reported on was diagnosed with cancer only a few weeks after birth. Her mother denied chemotherapy in favor of cannabis oil, and in January 2014 the child’s mother was told by doctors the cancer cells are dead.
Alysa Erwin, who began fighting a terminal brain cancer known as Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma in 2011, was cancer free with cannabis oil by January 2013. Even with aggressive chemotherapy and radiation, 18 months is the expected survival time with such a cancer. Instead, with very little and staggered traditional treatment, and mainly cannabis oil therapy, Alysa went into remission within 16 months.
Two cancer patients named Sophie and Chico are featured in a new documentary by Ricki Lake called “Weed the People”. Sophie was diagnosed with optic pathway glioma and Chico with rhabdomyosarcoma. Although only the trailer of the documentary has been released, both patients have improved dramatically through the use of cannabis oil, with significant reported cancer cell death in Sophie and improved quality of life in Chico. Many notable people also appear in the film, including Stewart Smith and Mara Gordon of Aunt Zelda’s, who are involved in the treatments. Dr. William Courtney, Dr. Donald Abrams, and Dr. Sunil Aggarwal also are interviewed. United Patients Group’s own John Malanca appears as well.
With so many patients seeing miraculous results so quickly, it is absurd to continue prohibiting access to cannabis medicines. At the very least, immediate research is warranted and any parent should have the freedom to choose cannabis oil as a treatment option. As results like these grow, the sheer criminality of Prohibition will become stunningly more apparent, and change will come remarkably fast.
Justin Kander is an advocate for the use of cannabis extract medicine to treat cancer. He previously interned with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, one of the nation’s leading drug policy reform organizations.
In 2013, Justin completed the Comprehensive Report on the Cannabis Extract Movement, a 100-page report that examines and analyzes the mounting evidence in support of cannabis extracts as medicine. He presented his findings at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver the same year.