I think my favorite part of my cannabis advocacy is sharing life-saving success stories. These days, it is not unusual for someone to contact me about a miraculous success story about their loved one, asking me to blog about them. That's what this post is about and I hope you will share this story, dear readers.
This post is about the Carroll family of Burlington, MA. They have 4 children, one of whom is an 8 year old boy, Caiden, who has a very rare neuro-genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome. I had never heard of it until I spoke with Caiden's mom, Alana. It is a debilitating, neurological condition where children experience developmental delays, lack of speech, seizures and walking/balancing disorders. Caiden is non-verbal which must make life even more difficult for the entire family. He started having grand mal seizures at 2 1/2 years. All the usual anti-psychotic drugs were prescribed and as is so often the case with seizures, many of them made Caiden worse. It's a very unpredictable disorder in that Caiden had been known to go an entire year without a seizure.
Caiden has been in and out of the hospital for years, as the doctors attempted to control his seizures. During a particularly bad patch, Caiden's doctors recommended him to the Grant A Wish Foundation. Caiden's wish was granted and the Carroll family went to Disney!
Last summer was an absolute nightmare for the Carrolls. Caiden was seizing continuously, was losing weight and became so incapacitated that he was unable to walk for 5 months, confined to a wheelchair. He was habituating to the old drugs and the new drugs weren't working, either. Due to his weight loss, his doctors thought he might also have gastrointestinal disorders and acid reflux, so in addition to the anti-seizure meds, he was given GI meds. He was deteriorating to such an extent that he weighed only 30 lbs. The doctors were at a loss as to what to do to help this poor child and the family was told that they were running out of options.
Luckily for them, there was a medical cannabis study already underway at Mass General Hospital in Boston, where Caiden was being treated. Unfortunately, by the time they applied for Caiden to be included in the study, it was already closed. With no other options left, Alana decided she was going to put Caiden on medical cannabis. Caiden's medical team told her they couldn't recommend it, but they told her "off the record" where to purchase the oil online. That's how she discovered Charlotte's Web, a high CBD cannabis oil developed by the Stanley Brothers of Colorado. This strain was developed for Charlotte Figi, the first child to use cannabis oil successfully to control her seizures and for whom the strain of oil was named.
Now, the Carroll family had never used cannabis before nor had much knowledge of how it worked to stop seizures. But, they were at a point where they were willing to try it in order to save their child's life. I'm sure every parent would do the same. What happened next is what many people might consider to be a miracle. But, those of us who understand how cannabis works with the endocannabinoid system know that cannabis is medicine. Alana Carroll purchased a bottle of Advanced Formula Charlotte's Web Hemp Extract. Here's where I get goosebumps. They gave Caiden his first dosage AND HE NEVER HAD ANOTHER SEIZURE AGAIN. That was last October. 3 days later, Caiden started walking, acting like nothing had ever happened.
Suffice it to say that both parents were overwhelmed by what they had just seen and dropped to their knees, with tears of joy. As you can imagine, the Carrolls have become huge cannabis activists and want to share their story with as many people as possible. This is such a common...and fantastic scenario; cannabis saved their child's life and as Alana put it, "they want to shout it to the rooftops." This is also how the grassroots movement toward cannabis legalization is gaining momentum; one story at a time.
After 6 months, Caiden was weaned off of most of his anti-seizure medications. After 9 months, the Carrolls were instructed, by the Stanley Brothers, to start adding THC to the CBD oil. Thankfully, the Carrolls live in a state with a medical cannabis program. They applied for and were granted a medical cannabis card for Caiden. They are now able to get RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) which is made from the whole cannabis plant and includes THC, from their local dispensary, In Good Health. Not only that, but the Carrolls are not being charged a penny for the medicine; all children patients receive their medicine for free.
The folks at In Good Health have been so wonderful to the Carrolls, giving them instructions on the correct dosage and product for Caiden; he gets 1/2 grain rice a night and it is working. He is no longer using a wheelchair, he is able to go to school and he is signing...learning more and more signs. The THC enhances his appetite, so he is eating like a horse and gaining weight. More importantly, he is getting good quality sleep which is such a problem for those with seizure disorders. The Carrolls will tell you in a heartbeat that cannabis saved Caiden's life!
As always, I love to hear your comments. Do you know any people who are using medical cannabis?
I've written a series of posts about medical marijuana. If you want to read more you can click on the "Medical Marijuana" tag at the top of my page.
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