9.16.2018

psychotic child

I stood in Woody's driveway and wept. As Woody hugged me and brushed away my tears, Calvin banged and bit the white vinyl siding of the garage where there is a permanent stain from him doing so for years.

My son was experiencing a repeat of the previous day's deranged behavior, a harbinger of the next morning's grand mal seizure. Typically, a grand mal acts as a kind of reset for his lunacy, but this time his fidgeting and "ooh-oohing" and fingering lingered and worsened as the day went on until he was utterly psychotic and, as a result, perhaps so was I.

Later, as I sat on the edge of my bed watching Calvin stand facing out our bedroom window, his jaw clenched, arms up, fingers wildly snapping inches from his face, I wondered how I'd take it anymore. Seizures are easier than this, I thought. This psychotic child of ours is so unreachable—seemingly inhuman—in these agitated moments, which sometimes last for hours and have been reliably happening with frequency for years. Suddenly it occurred to me, as it has before, that perhaps Calvin was suffering from the effects of too much THC. He'd gotten a bit extra cannabis oil after the seizure to prevent subsequent ones, and it worked. But both of the cannabis oils Calvin takes—my homemade THCA oil (THCA is non-psychoactive) and the Palmetto Harmony CBD oil (also non-psychoactive)—have small, residual amounts of THC, which is psychoactive; It is impossible to make whole-plant oils that don't have traces of THC. I should note here that all pharmaceutical drugs are psychoactive.

My hunch about THC and my hopes for CBD led me to the decision to forgo Calvin's 3:00 p.m. dose of THCA, even though I credit the advent of that dose with virtually eliminating Calvin's early evening grand mals four years ago. At this juncture I feel it necessary to give a secular amen for THCA, which no doubt helped my son get off of his benzodiazepine, clobazam, aka Onfi.

When I was able to grab my computer, I looked up THC and its effect on children. One of the first articles I found was this one, which I scanned from top to bottom. What stood out to me was the use of the words, excessive and purposeless motor activity of the extremities (hyperkinesis) to describe one of the side effects of THC toxicity in children. Though psychomotor hyperactivity is also a side effect of benzodiazepine use and their withdrawal, I wondered if Calvin might be exhibiting this behavior because of the extra THC. Having read the article twice, then used Woody, Michael and my friend Lauren as sounding boards, I decided to also eliminate Calvin's morning dose of THCA, replacing it with an equal amount of CBD in milligrams (the CBD oil has about half as much THC as my THCA oil).

The next day Calvin was cool as a cucumber and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Today he is slightly agitated, though I'm fairly certain it's because he is constipated. I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say, we're working on that.

Eventually, I'd like to eliminate the THCA if we are lucky enough to see the Palmetto Harmony CBD do a decent job of decreasing his seizures; so far so good. Already, I feel totally liberated not having to give Calvin his afternoon dose, having to remember to draw it up and schedule activities around its administration. If we can eliminate it, I won't have to carve out two hours to to drive and get the herb, won't have to get a liquor license to order the organic cane alcohol I use to extract the cannabinoids, won't have to pay $125 for one gallon of the alcohol to be shipped from Oregon, won't have to spend a week making the oil, won't have to dose it, won't have to think about it. Best of all, if we can get Calvin off of the THCA I'll feel more confident taking Calvin on a plane with just his CBD, which is less of a risk, legally speaking. Perhaps we can travel again; it's been a part of forever since we flew anywhere as a family.

So cross your fingers and knock on wood ... again. And though praying is not my thing, if it's yours, then feel free to pray we can escape this intolerable psychotic cycle we've been stuck in for years.

Antiepileptic drug agitation, 2011.

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