reefer madness?

In my recent research of medical marijuana, I came across a report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy. The entire report was quite intriguing, but what gave me goosebumps was typed at the end of the last page:

Quality-of-life surveys show that the adverse effects of AEDs (antiepileptic drugs) have as much of an impact on the patient's ability to enjoy life as the seizures themselves [20]. Our survey reports suggest that cannabidiol-enriched cannabis is behaviorally well tolerated and may have beneficial effects on cognition and mood. Many parents reported that their children experienced better sleep, increased alertness, and better mood while taking cannabidiol-enriched cannabis. These beneficial side effects are rarely reported with pediatric use of other AEDs [21]. Additionally, many negative side effects commonly associated with AEDs, such as irritability, insomnia, and aggressive behavior were notably absent from the parent reports on cannabidiol-enriched cannabis. Because of the apparent efficacy of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis, 12 parents reported weaning their child from other AEDs, thereby further increasing the child's quality of life by removing the negative side effects associated with those other AEDs.

Although each seizure Calvin has sends me into a state of despair, it's his hyperactive behavior from the drugs he has to ingest that takes its toll on me emotionally, not to mention how it must make him feel. And, so, it is with great hope that I am pursuing this form of treatment for my son, though it is not without misgivings; although it is legal in the state of Maine and Calvin will have a prescription signed by his pediatrician and a letter of recommendation signed by his neurologist and I will have a license from the Department of Health and Human Services to give it to him, it is still illegal at the federal level. This means we cannot take Calvin out of the state once he starts taking it.

For this we can thank a number of factors, beginning with damaging, exploitative propaganda such as the 1936 film Reefer Madness, which portrayed marijuana users as sex-crazed, murderous, suicidal maniacs. The film was originally financed by a church group and thought to be backed by the DuPont corporation, which saw industrial hemp as a threat to its business interests in wood-pulp paper and synthetic fabrics. Marijuana was further vilified by the racist mogul William Randolf Hurst, whose vast timber and paper mill holdings were also believed to be threatened by hemp. And, marijuana was maligned by Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a close friend of the DuPont family whose department's funding might have been cut during the depression if not for the lies he told about marijuana's dangers to society. Sadly, America's puritanical base, the war on drugs and the pharmaceutical industry have all likely helped to perpetuate marijuana's false reputation and have stymied decades of research into its benefits for conditions such as MS, migraine, epilepsy, cancer, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, Crohn's disease, arthritis and autism.

Thankfully, it would seem that people are beginning to see through the lies and false propaganda and are giving medical marijuana, at the very least, a chance at saving lives. Do what you can to help legalize medical marijuana at the federal level, even if it is simply by opening your mind. Kids like Calvin are counting on it.

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  1. You are so lucky to have this in Maine. I'm certain TX will be the last to adopt, but I hold high hopes that with so much publicity lately - and the belief that it is sheer lunacy to deny a humane treatment - that it will one day offer us some hope. As I sit here today, home from work, watching clusters of seizures occur, we will be the first in line… I'm looking forward to your posts and am excited for the hope it may give you.

  2. This is exciting new! I'm so happy for you and Calvin! I can't wait to hear all about how it helps!

  3. I've followed your thought process for a long time, and I have been amazed at the caution, the deliberateness, the thoughtfulness with which you and Michael have approached this issue, when so many would have been implulse-driven because of their despair.....The evidence is mounting, and I cheer your decision. Calvin deserves a trial of this, and we hope will all our energy that it will help him as it has others. Our reading has revealed no down-side, so it's thumbs up! Keep us posted!