The New Haven Register reports that Connecticut has passed a medical marijuana law for minors, a decision that is being hailed by activists. Leading the drive, Robert Fiore is an adult who suffered from epilepsy in childhood. After seeing the CNN documentary ‘Weed’ he became inspired to introduce a bill that would allow children access to Charlotte’s web for seizures.
Marijuana for kids: a bridge too far?
The cannabis oil that inspired the move won’t make children high. Charlotte’s web contains very little THC – certainly not enough to cause any form of intoxication. Instead, it is rich in another cannabinoid, CBD or cannabidiol, and although research results are still pending, there are several anecdotal success stories.
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How Charlotte’s web got its name
It’s impossible to be judgmental about parents who try a remedy as yet unapproved by the FDA, and the much-publicized story of Charlotte Figi, a 6-year-old who was bedridden as a result of Dravet Syndrome, a rare disorder that caused her to have up to 300 seizures a week is a case in point.
After being given CBD oil, her seizures, which no conventional medication could prevent, were reduced to just two or three per month. Parents in Connecticut are hoping that Charlotte’s web will work for their children too.
Will young Sean be the next big success story?
When Fiore began to back medical cannabis for kids, he came into contact with parents whose children suffer problems similar to Charlotte’s. 11-year-old Sean Hearn is confined to a wheelchair and is unable to speak or even eat. He suffers from 50 seizures a day and has to be fed through a tube.
He was diagnosed with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome at five months old. He is currently being dosed with seizure medications that have severe side effects. His mother says that every time the meds are used, he “loses a little bit of himself”. The Hearns haven’t tried CBD oil yet, but they say that they will do so in the hope that it will help young Sean.
Republican senator warns against THC
The bill was vigorously opposed by Senator Toni Boucher. She is concerned about the lack of scientific proof in favor of medical cannabis and is particularly concerned about the effects of THC on the development of children’s brains – a concern that is backed by science.
But when children are this gravely ill, it’s difficult to deny them any avenue of hope – even if that hope lies in THC. Nevertheless, most parents and doctors will probably choose the non-psychoactive CBD oil as their first port of call, and very, very few children will have access.
Getting on the program won’t be easy
Parents of children with severe seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, cystic fibrosis, and terminal illnesses can apply to have their children registered for the program. They will need recommendations from their primary physicians as well as a doctor who is board certified to treat the particular disorder. Needless to say, smokable cannabis for kids is not on the program.
Is Connecticut taking a big risk?
There are certainly those who believe that Connecticut has made a mistake with the bill. But there are many who say it is long overdue. What’s your opinion?