The Denver Post's four part series on Ana Watson and her son Preston was heartbreaking, as it documented the pair's move from North Carolina (referring to themselves as "refugees") in an effort to find some kind of relief or treatment for Preston's seizures. (Preston is among a rare group of kids across the U.S. suffering from Dravet syndrome - a rare form of epilepsy which completely disables a child's language and social skills - as each seizure destroys more brain tissue).
The search for a cure, according to the Post (Dec. 9, p. 7A) has led to "hundreds of families moving to Colorado to treat their children with medical marijuana"
This, despite the fact there is no guarantee of a cure or even successful long term treatment that can allow symptoms to abate. A large part of the problem too, is the dearth of research into MJ's medical benefits (assuming they exist) when the feds themselves remain against it. This is despite the fact that one form of MJ oil, called "CBD" (cannabidiol) has been researched independently on animals for years - and found effective. ( Cannabidiol is that compound in cannabis that confers medical benefits but has no psycho-active effects, indeed it counteracts the effects of THC.)
"CBD" is the MJ-derived substance referred to as 'Charlotte's Web'. The Post in a side story ('Medical Marijuana Credited With Progress for Charlotte Figi', ibid.) described how five year old Charlotte Figi's Dravet syndrome seizures were ultimately controlled by its administration. Since infancy, little Charlotte suffered from debilitating seizures and practically lived at the hospital. Then in February, 2012, when she was five - her parents gave her CBD and everything "changed literally overnight".
To be specific, according to the Post account, "she slept soundly for the first time in years. She went seven days without a seizure. Over time the seizures dropped fro thousands a month to just a few. And after not speaking for six months, she started talking again."
Miracle cure? NO! CBD.
While CBD has been described as a "strain of marijuana" the fact is, it is not. According to MJ researcher Joel Stanley ('What Exactly is Charlotte's Web?', op. cit., p. 9A):
"Charlotte's Web is the brand name of the oil that Stanley makes from marijuana plants."
He's identified two strains, CW1a and CW2a, which go into making 'Charlotte's Web'. Apart from the two named strains, there are 14 others - all with identifiers beginning with 'CW'. According to the Post account:
"Stanley and his brothers now engineer the Charlotte's Web oil to try to ensure a consistent 30:1 ratio of CBD to THC (the active component in marijuana) in every dose."
This fixed ratio info has been of immense benefit to Ana Watson who has been able to vary the CBD to THC proportions for son Preston to elicit the optimal results. While Preston still struggles, he is finally able to say some words, and also ride a bike (at least his own way). Watson, like the other Dravet parents, knows that successes may only come slowly if at all, but they're not prepared to give up.
Two organizations currently serve the parents, Realm of Caring based in Colorado Springs and Flowering Hope Foundation in Boulder County. Currently the Realm serves 350 in Colorado, and 10,000 names are on the waiting list. Flowering Hope has more than 120 patients.
Currently, the parents from the two groups, when not at their child's side or attending meetings with providers and medical experts, are out campaigning via a political movement (led by both organizations) to push for pro- CBD laws in state legislatures across the nation. They reason, correctly, that all families struggling with Dravet syndrome should not have to move here to Colorado to obtain hope or treatment.
Already, in states such as Alabama and Utah, some of the parents' stories have broken through paving the way for discussions to liberalize cannabis laws.
Until that is done, and prohibitions taken off the books, families will continue to flock to Colorado as the only "Promised land". In the meantime, Colorado is prepared to fight off lawsuits filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma which claim that Colorado's MJ is "spilling over into their states" and corrupting their upstanding people.(Who drive to CO to get the retail, psychoactive products.)
Maybe these yahoos need to do more research on CBD so families don't have to flee like refugees to get to Colorado for relief of their kids' Dravet syndrome.