Many adults have directly experienced the medicinal benefits of cannabis for treating a spectrum of illnesses, including more complicated conditions like Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. However, little research has been conducted to treat these same diagnosis in children.
Perhaps the most known success story is the one of Charlotte Figi, who developed Dravet’s syndrome as an infant and was afflicted by disabling seizures by age 3. After her parents introduced a CBD extract in her food, Charlotte’s seizures reduced from 300 a week to about 4 per month. Her family created the company Charlotte’s Web.
Although the results are promising, not every parent has a story with a happy ending; 2 year-old Cash Hyde’s stage-4 brain tumour went into full remission after his father injected a CBD concentrate straight into his feeding tube. However after successful regular treatments, when the Montana dispensaries were forced to cut the family’s supply, Cash’s cancer returned and ultimately lead to his death.
Parents of children with Autism are also beginning to experiment with CBD extracts. Karl Santiago, a non-verbal paediatric patient, begun to make noises and laugh shortly after starting treatments. As well, Marie Myung-Ok Lee’s young son, who endured chronic self-harming behaviour, went from repetitive head-banging to riding a bicycle.
While families are finding new hope, most are met with controversial advice from health professionals. Many doctors believe that the lack of quantitative evidence of the long-term effects make CBD treatments for children unsafe, which begs the question of why such studies aren’t being conducted. Derivatives are supplied by big pharma, but parents claim these are ineffective compared to pure CBD.