yesterday's testimony

Re: LD 1739: Kief and An Act To Amend the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act

Dear members of the Health and Human Services Committee:

Please do not pass LD 1739 with its current language prohibiting kief. If it passes as written it will eliminate my ten-year-old son Calvin's option to use medical marijuana to treat his epilepsy when nothing else has worked. Kief is the primary ingredient of the extractions that have proven highly effective in the treatment of epilepsy. Without it our children will not have access to this medicine.

Calvin was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was just two. For eight years now he has suffered hundreds, if not thousands, of seizures. During his seizures, which last as long as five minutes, Calvin convulses and stops breathing. His lips and fingers turn blue, and my husband and I worry that they won’t stop. We live in constant fear that we will wake up in the morning and find him limp and lifeless. Despite having tried nine different powerful pharmaceuticals—as many as four at once—and two dietary therapies, they continue. To add insult to injury, the drugs have stifled his development and have horrible and potentially lethal side effects. For many children whose pharmaceuticals have failed, like Calvin, this natural remedy represents hope.

In my relentless search for a cure or treatment for Calvin, I learned how incredibly effective medical marijuana can be in treating childhood epilepsy. Some children have become seizure free and have been able to eliminate their pharmaceutical drugs. These children—our children—require a special preparation of medicinal cannabis. This drug cannot be administered to Calvin in any other way. The special tinctures these children are benefiting from are made by extracting the essence of the plant in the form of a resin—referred to in this bill as kief. This extract contains hundreds of therapeutic compounds called trichomes, many of which are non-psychoactive and have anticonvulsant properties. A small amount of this preparation is measured carefully and diluted into a substrate such as olive oil. In this way, and in no other, the medicine can be dosed and adjusted precisely, which is essential in the treatment of epilepsy.

If this bill passes with its current language prohibiting kief, the primary ingredient of the extractions effective in the treatment of epilepsy, you will be prohibiting medical marijuana itself, a therapy that may be the last option for our children.

In Maine there are as many as 13,000 people living with epilepsy. A third of them—many of them children—have seizures that evade conventional treatment. Please do not close the door on them by passing LD 1739 and prohibiting access to their medicine.

photo by Michael Kolster

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