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There are numerous reasons why the prohibition of cannabis is a colossal catastrophe: thousands killed fighting over black market profits, millions arrested, decimating our minority communities, and billions in agribusiness lost because our farmers can’t grow hemp. Sadly, these tragic circumstances seem to fall on deaf ears as far as the public and our policy makers are concerned. Lately though, cries from another, smaller subset of our population are really starting to resonate. They are those Tiny Icons, the Cannabis Kids.
Social media is chock-full of stories of sick children benefiting from both high-THC and non-psychoactive CBD-rich cannabis. The internet is being used as an information outlet, a support network and a fundraising tool as parents publicly plead for their children. They share happy moments of progress, birthdays, holidays with their children’s radiant smiles, surrounded by loving friends and family members. Also included are heartbreaking setbacks including trips to the ER and the financial struggles involved because insurance companies callously refuse to cover those most in need. Stories abound of pediatricians hypocritically ignoring their Hippocratic Oaths by pushing hard-core pharmaceuticals that have lists of side effects longer than their patient’s little arms.
Many of these children have lifelong debilitating ailments or a terminal prognosis. Spencer is a Cannabis Kid with brain cancer. The Prayers for Spencer Facebook page, which has thousands of likes, is where his mom provides updates on this little fighter, lovingly documenting the daily cute “Spencerisms” for all to see, making you smile, laugh and also cry with despair. She is unfailingly optimistic, positive in her steadfast love for this innocent being under her watch. Faith is a key component for her as a higher power is beseeched to bless and cure Spencer.
some of the best success stories involve children with epilepsy or other seizure inducing conditions. The improvements are oftentimes stark and immediate. Austin’s parents were desperate when they moved him from Oklahoma to Colorado to treat his Dravet Syndrome with cannabis oil. Amazingly, within just a few days, his seizures markedly decreased. His parents were then left with the daunting task of weaning him off of other drugs while determining the optimum ratio of cannabinoids: CBD, THC or a mixture? Which delivery system works best for each ailment? The options are mind-boggling for a scientist, much more so for a parent operating on a wing and a prayer. The Cannabis Curriculum encourages research and development into this area as well as a myriad of other subjects relating to cannabis hemp and its prohibition.
Supernova has Schizencephaly, a rare neurological disorder that has left her with severe developmental problems. Her parents took their beautiful three-year-old daughter to Colorado from Texas where they have been treating her with high-THC cannabis oil. Her seizures have been greatly reduced, and she is smiling more and even saying “mama!” The story of this Tiny Icon drives home the true power of cannabis and underscores the urgent, unmet need of untold thousands.
It is a cruel lesson in geography when living in a close-minded state like Texas or Oklahoma prevents parents from providing their children with a safe and effective medicine. One Oklahoma family would like to be able to take their daughter, Avacake, to Colorado where her epilepsy could be treated more effectively. However, because her dad is in the military, they can’t just pick up and go. In fact, going public is a risk within itself. Parents trying to provide therapeutic cannabis for their children are being harassed by child protective services, losing custody of their children and even getting arrested.
Crueler still is our federal government’s continued Catch-422 classification of cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic. This heartless stance provides a legal barrier that doctors, hospitals and insurers can hide behind with the faux-concern response of “well, I would help, but I can’t because marijuana is Schedule I.”
While Colorado is being flooded with Cannabis Kids, some, like Alexis Bortell, are choosing to stay home and fight. This brave and eloquent nine-year-old Texan with epilepsy has become an outspoken proponent for something that is currently illegal in the Lone Star State. She gives media interviews and has spoken at Texas NORML rallies, exhorting her state’s politicians to pass compassionate legislation.
Even in “legal” states like Massachusetts and New Jersey, the supply situation is fraught with frustration because puritanical politicians are impeding implementation. If Israel can provide medicinal cannabis at cost for $25 an ounce, surely we can too. Patients should also be encouraged to cultivate their own cannabis, because it can be very therapeutic and cost effective to grow your own medicine.
A watershed event occurred in August 2013 when CNN’s chief medical correspondent’s stance on medicinal cannabis took a 180 degree turn. Sanjay Gupta’s “Weed” special was a societal “aha moment,” as millions witnessed young Charlotte Figi’s miraculous, cannabis-based, recovery. Other authoritative celebrities, including Doctor Oz, have endorsed it. Then you have the inspiring story of another youngster whose Dravet Syndrome was successfully treated with high-CBD cannabis. Jason and Jayden’s Journey was featured on the Discovery Channel’s Weed Wars series and in Adam Scorgie’s latest hard-hitting documentary, The Culture High.
Mainstream media exposure and social media efforts are part of the unbrainwashing process needed to erase the stigma caused by 80+ years of Reefer Madness. Despite our progress, we must redouble our efforts to fight for those too young to fight for themselves. We have a long struggle in front of us but the end result will be healthier and happier Cannabis Kids, our Tiny Icons.
More on Ladybud Magazine: Cannabis Kids
Photo Credit: All pictures within the article are from the public social media and funding pages of the children featured.
Feature image: H.S. Parsons & Co., 1850