As medical cannabis in Canada continues to become more and more accepted by the masses there’s still one area that holds quite a bit of controversy. The use of medical cannabis for kids. Shown to be extremely effective at reducing epileptic seizures, extreme cases of autism and reducing the harsh effects of chemotherapy many parents in Canada are turning to medical cannabis to give their kids the relief they so desperately need.
While the majority of people support the use of medical cannabis in Canada for adults, there is also a growing minority that supports the use of medical cannabis for children. Medical cannabis has shown to be the most effective treatment for treating seizures associated with epilepsy.
Take Sarah Wilkinson for instance, a mother who lives just outside of Calgary, Alberta. Her daughter Mia has suffered with a form of epilepsy that causes her to have up to 100 seizures every single day. Before she found a doctor in Alberta that agreed to sign a prescription for medical cannabis for her daughter, she was giving Mia hundreds of prescription pills a day. And they didn’t even work.
Things changed for Wilkinson and her daughter Mia when she started turning dry buds into oil and offering them to her daughter through a dropper. In only a few months Mia’s seizures ceased and she was eventually taken off the prescriptions she was on. Wilkinson called medical cannabis “a miracle” and believes all parents with suffering children should have the option to give their kids medical cannabis in Canada.
Mia’s case is one of hundreds in which parents are seeking medical cannabis in Canada, the US, and many other countries to treat their children. The problem is not all doctors want to prescribe children medical cannabis. It’s controversial. It’s a decidedly grey area. And it’s something many doctors and professionals are refusing to take seriously although case after case shows just how effective medical cannabis can be.
In Alberta, a mother in the Edmonton area is working hard to dispute efforts by the Alberta government to ban her daughter (who is four years old) from receiving treatment with medical cannabis to treat her severe epileptic seizures. This comes as a huge blow to this family that has found cannabidiol to be the only medication that has helped her young daughter’s condition at all.
When her daughter began having seizures at only four months old she was placed on powerful prescription medications…that didn’t work. When one medicine showed no promise, she was put on another until she was on seven different anti-seizure medications that ultimately all lost the ability to control her epileptic episodes. Brain surgery soon became the only option…until the mother discovered that medical cannabis was showing great promise with other children that shared her daughter’s devastatingly debilitating condition.
In July 2015, the mother discovered medical cannabis dispensary in Edmonton where she was able to get pure cannabidiol, a form of medical cannabis with absolutely no psychoactive effects. While the mother says she had “no expectations” as nothing had worked for her daughter in the past, things began to change when she started giving her daughter medical cannabis (in a powdered pill form) to treat her seizures. She said that in only a few days she saw that her daughter’s seizures became less frequent and that by August she was completely seizure-free.
For this young girl, medical cannabis is certainly a miracle. Officials in Canada however, don’t see it this way. Somehow Child and Family Services learned she was giving her daughter medical cannabis and showed up at her door threatening to take her child away if she didn’t stop giving her the cannabidiol that was ultimately saving her life. According to the court application the mother “is not following the medical team’s recommendations for treatment.”
The mother has applied for her daughter to be able to legally use medical cannabis, however this request has not been granted and feels that her right to properly care for her child is being threatened by government officials. What do the powers that be in Canada have to say about this family’s choice to use medical cannabis?
According to the court application the medical professionals that have been involved in this child’s case say they “are not in agreement with the alternative treatment until further evidence can be obtained. As the mother is not working cooperatively with the child’s medical team to manage the child’s condition, she is increasing the risk of unknown damage or even death, giving the child’s serious condition.”
Although the mother has applied for the legal entitlement to give her daughter cannabidiol, the right to give her daughter medical cannabis has not been granted by the powers that be in Canada. And even though the Supreme Court in Canada has stated that “the oral ingestion of cannabis may be appropriate or beneficial for certain medical conditions” apparently this isn’t one of them.
While there are many parents who are choosing to give their children medical cannabis in Canada, studies on how well cannabidiol treats epileptic seizures are still in their infancy stage. There are however researchers at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto that are applying to Health Canada to get the go-ahead to carry out a study that would test medical cannabis (specifically cannabidiol) and its potential to treat epilepsy in children.
Until the day where medical cannabis is approved in Canada for kids with severe cases of epilepsy, parents will undoubtedly continue to take matters into their own hands…even if it means breaking the law to do so. When it comes down to a matter of saving a child’s life, it would make sense for more medical professionals to look into the vast benefits medical cannabis contains for helping these sick kids have the chance to live the lives they absolutely deserve.