At just eight and a half months old, Sophie Ryan was diagnosed with a low-grade, Optic Pathway Glioma brain tumor, after shaking was noticed in her left eye, and an MRI was performed.
After Sophie’s parents, Josh and Tracy Ryan, created a Facebook page, “Prayers for Sophie,” a friend introduced them to actress Ricki Lake and producer Abby Epstein, who were working on a documentary on cannabis oil killing cancer cells in pediatric patients.
The documentary, Weed the People (Netflix 2018), followed caregivers, cannabis patients and families using cannabis oil for cancer. The crew followed Sophie for six years, with the nine-month-old taking her first drop of cannabis oil on camera.
“After 13 months of chemo, along with high doses of cannabis oil, Sophie’s brain tumor was about 85 to 90 percent gone,” Tracy explained. “We had been told the very large cyst that had formed would not be remedied with the chemo, but it too was 90 percent gone.”
The couple were told that she would probably lose 100 percent of the sight in both eyes. But, because of the shrinkage witnessed, much of her vision was spared.
By 2019, six years after her treatments began, her situation had stabilized enough to stop all chemo, with her medical team at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles advising she keep on a cannabis oil protocol.
Sophie has been deemed a medical miracle more times than Tracy and Josh can count through this long ordeal, but it’s important to note that just four percent of cancer research funds in the U.S. go towards pediatric cancers, with just four new drugs added in the last 40 years.
According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO), approximately one in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer. Globally, there are more than 300,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year, with a child diagnosed every three minutes.
In April of 2018, Sophie required a second brain tumor surgery, and Tracy knew this might be her last chance at getting Sophie her own clinical trial.
Tissue was retrieved upon surgery, and put into humanized mice – or mice that pump human blood, have an immune system nearly identical to humans, and have the same blood brain barrier.
Sophie is now part of ongoing NK Cell (natural killer cell) research, led by Dr. Anahid Jewett, a member of numerous cancer and tumor research groups. Jewett is a tenured professor at one of the top universities in Southern California, but due to CannaKids’ selling cannabis oil, the university has withheld its name from the trial.
Jewett’s research shows that failure of the NK Cell system that leads up to a cancer diagnosis is the number one defense mechanism against the disease and has everything to do with a properly working immune system. Sophie’s brain lacked the NK Cells needed to fight the tumor.
Early results showed that Sophie’s immune system functioned five times better than that of any healthy adult Dr. Jewett had studied in 30 years.
“Sophie should have had an immature immune system,” Tracy explained. “She had a brain tumor, which meant her NK Cells should be malfunctioning—and she had been on chemo for more than 5 years solid. None of this made sense to Dr. Jewett, especially as to why Sophie could be so healthy but yet still have a tumor.”
When Dr. Jewett realized the main medication Sophie has been on is cannabis, she knew she was on to something big. Final trial results will be published soon, with 17 other CannaKids patients included.
“When Sophie was helped, Josh and I knew we had to help other kids,” Tracy shared. “The amount of side effects these kids must go through, including opiate withdrawals, after traditional therapies, like chemotherapy or radiation, is staggering. We don’t want any other kids to go through that needlessly, and cannabis oil treats the pain and the cancer – along with other negative symptoms from the chemo.”
CannaKids was launched in March of 2014 in Los Angeles. Patients can call and make an appointment for a consultation with a knowledgeable Nurse Practitioner or Registered Nurse, and purchase from its own line of cannabis oil products in varying strengths and doses.
“We began with a focus on children, but the need for cannabis oil use with traditional protocols is great, so we opened it up to all ages, with adults now being helped just as much,” Tracy added.
This year the brand launched CKSoul, an additional line of products. Tracy designed the label herself, choosing the name to include the CannaKids initials, along with the crux of the matter, the soul of the plant, the soul of the patients, and the subsequent healing that follows, with the tagline, “From seed to soul.”
The new line is said to be rich in CBD, low THC blends, with little to no psychoactive effect; and the bonus of additional beneficial terpenes in the mix. For instance, its Boost CBD has added B-Caryophyllene, Linalol, and Myrcene added for their combined calming effects.
A Child’s Stash
Sophie’s stash is the stash of a child, and includes her baby dolls she sleeps with each night and a collection of purses and stuffed animals that she’s been known to give away to other children at hospital.
“Sophie sleeps each night with all her ‘babies,’ Tracy explained. “They go with her to the couch in the living room each morning, then back again at night to bed. There’s something deep going on with the babies, and after all her young soul has been through, we support whatever she needs – if it’s 20 babies moved from room to room, so be it!”
According to Psychology Today, longtime educator and child development specialist, Colleen Goddard, pens that “transitional objects,” a phrase coined in 1951 by D.W. Winnicott, are a “designation for any material to which an infant attributes a special value and by means of which the child is able to make the necessary shift from the earliest oral relationship with mother to genuine object relationships.”
Transitional objects are self-chosen, like a blanket or a Teddy bear or doll, and are considered soothing companions. They also lay out the map for the child’s eventual interactions with humans.
There’s a part of this story regarding the babies we can’t fully convey here, but Sophie nurturing her babies, as she’s been nurtured, shows an empathetic side to this young child that is birthed from the pain of illness and recovery – with love.
Her cannabis protocol is a simple one, consisting of two types of CannaKids cannabis oil: Spectrum THCa Tincture, original flavor; and CBD Tincture, grape flavor.
The compound THCa is the actual beneficial compound within the cannabis plant that has the ability to transform once heated into psychoactive THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. CannaKids’ Spectrum is a full-spectrum, whole plant tincture, without the THC activated.
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is another compound from the plant with myriad benefits, including maintaining homeostasis in the body, or a place where cancer and illness can not thrive.
Its THC products are both non-activated and activated, depending on the patient’s needs.
All products are sourced from whole flower from the cannabis plant – or cannabis that’s been hybridized to have higher CBD counts and lower THC counts, with all the beneficial compounds intact. Important to note, that all material and products are tested four times during the production process.
Recently added to Sophie’s stash were sessions of another kind altogether.
“Sophie had lost almost all of her vision, but it’s now slowly starting to come back, after working with Bobbi Vogel,” Tracy shared. “After just two and a half sessions Sophie is identifying objects and colors she hasn’t been able to see in over a year. She can even read large print alphabet letters off flash-cards, and read text on her computer!”
The Ryans met renowned medical intuitive Bobbi Vogel while on Montel Williams’ “Let’s Be Blunt” podcast. Vogel, who is known as an intuitive energy healer, has worked with Williams’ family for years and has been featured on his shows many times.
As detailed in AlternativesForHealing.com, “energy healing is a form of healing that manipulates, restores or balances the flow of energy in the body. The energy is channeled through the practitioner to the client, helping remove energy deficiencies and blockages, which then activates the body’s own natural ability to heal itself.”
According to Vogel’s website, everything begins with faith, and for Vogel to do energy work, it takes faith in what she refers to as her “spirit guides.”
“My guides help me to help others,” she shared. “With Sophie, my guides helped the family to see just how the cannabis plant was helping her. In my visions, I see the plant moving to the areas of the body where it knows it’s needed. This may sound like so much magic, but I believe I was brought to this place to see beyond the medicinal practices, and help integrate spirit medicine with traditional protocols.”
Cannabis and plant-based remedies have been put in the “alternative” category, but for centuries prior, plants and spiritual practices went together like peas and carrots.
“Sophie is thriving!” Tracy shared. “She’s back in her school, is taking music lessons at the School of Rock, and has gained a ton of weight. Josh and I have no words for the happiness we feel watching Sophie live the life of a normal child.”