Medical Marijuana Championed By Mother of Child Cancer Patient

An Oregon mother credits medical marijuana, specifically cannabis oil, with helping her 7-year-old daughter beat an aggressive form of leukemia. girlstriptothebeach.jpg

Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers understand that advocates in California have come out in droves in support of the mother, who has received some criticism in her home state for her choice, due to the age of her daughter.

The fact is, marijuana and its derivatives have long been known to produce significant benefits in ailing of all ages. Commonly, it’s been known to have profoundly positive effects on those suffering seizures, autism and cancer. The reasons are varied.

With patients like this 7-year-old, who was undergoing intense – sometimes agonizing – chemotherapy treatments, her mother said the cannabis oil helped with her appetite, which allowed her to maintain her strength through the grueling ordeal. Her mother gave her a single, one-gram, lime-flavored capsule after each treatment. It additionally helped her ease such side effects as nausea, pain and anxiety, commonly associated with cancer treatments and near constant hospital visits.

The 7-year-old girl’s cancer had progressed so quickly, doctors feared she may require a bone marrow transplant.

But now, the child is in remission. Whether marijuana can be credited with getting her there has been the subject of debate. Her mother wholeheartedly believes it to be true, and continues to give her daughter the pill to help with the side effects of her continued medication, and the likelihood of continued chemotherapy for the next several years.

In Oregon, as in California, it is legal for a minor to be enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana patient program, as long as the parent or legal guardian consents and agrees to take responsibility as the caregiver. In that state, there are a total of five marijuana patients between the ages of 4 and 9, six between the ages of 10 and 14 and another 41 between the ages of 15 and 17. That’s according to the Oregon Public Health Division. Those figures are expected to grow as the use of marijuana as a legitimate medicine continues to gain acceptance.

California doesn’t require registration of its marijuana patients, so it becomes a bit more difficult to gauge. A voluntary state registry as of last year had just 9,600 listed patients. We suspect, however, that the number of child marijuana patients in California is much higher in comparison to Oregon for two reasons: One, medical marijuana has been legal for longer here, and two, our state simply has a larger population.

In response to those who decry the decision to dole out the drug to small children, those at the University of California’s Center for Medical Cannabis Research note that when compared to other, more powerful, drugs often used to the same end, marijuana is less addictive and less risky. For example, opioid drugs like morphine and Oxycontin are often prescribed to children suffering from severe pain as a result of life-threatening cancer. And yet, these substances carry a significantly greater risk of both dependency and potentially fatal overdose. Additionally, while opioids tend to induce nausea and vomiting, marijuana reduces these symptoms.

Ultimately, however, it’s a decision that should be made through careful consideration by the doctor, the parent and in some cases, the child.

The entire issue of medical marijuana has become so politicized, that it becomes easy to forget about whom these battles over city ordinances and federal crackdown are for. Stories like this help us to keep it in perspective.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Cannabis Oil Pills Helped Child Go Into Cancer Remission, Mom Says, Nov. 27, 2012, By Sydney Lupkin, ABC News
More Blog Entries:
Marijuana: Conservatives & Liberals Agree on One Issue, Nov. 25, 2012, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog