Recent changes to Health Canada’s medical marijuana regulations have forced a six-year-old boy suffering from Dravet syndrome to smoke marijuana in order to tame his seizures rather than use cannabis oil. Ever since the Canadian health agency made the decision to prohibit the use of marijuana edibles and concentrates, the McKnight family has been given no choice but to buy their epileptic son marijuana flowers to temper his seizures.
Before Liam was introduced to cannabis oil at the age of five, he was being ripped apart by nearly 70 seizures a day, said his mother, Mandy, who adds that after less than two weeks of cannabidiol treatment, Liam’s seizure rate went down to zero. “He had new words,” McKnight told the Ottawa Citizen. “He was horseback riding. He was in a boat, he went tubing. He was so happy. We had a little glimpse of what life could be like.”
Unfortunately, Heath Canada’s latest medical marijuana rules, which went into effect in April of this year, make it illegal for young Liam to continue using cannabis oil. In fact, according to Health Canada’s new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, smoking marijuana is the only acceptable method of consumption, which puts a little man like Liam at a disadvantage.
“Health Canada says Liam has to smoke it or he has to vaporize it,” said McKnight. “Those are our two options, that’s it. So although they give him a license, the form of delivery is ridiculous.”
Yet, rather than twist up a fatty for their sick son, the McKnight’s have been forced to become Canadian outlaws by sending raw marijuana to the Montreal-based Medical Cannabis Access Society to have it turned into oil. Then, once the extracted medicine is sent back to them, the McKnight’s must ship a sample to a laboratory in British Columbia in order to measure the THC and CBD content, so Liam does not end up stoned.
Incidentally, Liam is not the only Canadian patient suffering from a lack of access to the appropriate form of marijuana thanks to Health Canada’s new rules. Adam Greenblatt, the executive director for the cannabis society, says the government’s new rules have alienated somewhere near 65-percent of medical marijuana users, who would undoubtedly use cannabis by-products if permitted.
Mandy McKnight says she has started a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/liamsjourney/), which she hopes will get the attention of Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose in an effort to make some important changes to Canada’s flawed medical marijuana program. “I really hope that somebody at Health Canada or somebody in this government just finally stands up and says, ‘OK, this is ridiculous. We need to help these kids.”