An 11-year-old epilepsy patient from Mesa, Arizona is reportedly the first youngster to openly use cannabis oil at Camp Candlelight – a special summer getaway for children who suffer from this debilitating seizure disorder.
According to a report in the Arizona Republic, Mercedes Gonzales, who was first diagnosed with epilepsy at the tender age of three, is attending the summer camp for the first time this year, all with the help of a high-CBD strain of medical marijuana to help calm the frequency of her seizures.
To ensure Mercedes is well enough to take full advantage of activities such as: “rock climbing, high ropes course, s’mores around the campfire, paintball, and swimming,” the camp has enlisted the help of a volunteer from a nearby dispensary, Harvest of Tempe, to provide her with the appropriate dosages.
Family members say Mercedes was dreadfully unsuccessful with 23 different epilepsy drugs before making a triumphant recovery with cannabis oil. In addition to not effectively managing the young girl’s 30 seizures per month, the pharmaceuticals were ripping the life right out her, forcing her to live in a constant state of catatonic despair.
“She was a total zombie. She was so drugged out she could not stay awake,” Yolanda Daniels, Mercedes’ grandmother and legal guardian told the Republic. “There were some that made her hallucinate. One put her in the ICU for awhile.”
After learning about the positive impact cannabis oil was having on other children with epilepsy, Daniels quickly applied for Mercedes to get a medical marijuana card. They began working with a local dispensary to develop the proper ratio of CBD and THC to best treat her condition. After the first dose, Daniels said the frequency of Mercedes’ seizures drastically reduced – going as long as a month without suffering a single episode.
With the help of cannabis oil, not only is Mercedes becoming more socially sound, but she is also making real progress in school – a true testament to the healing powers of this plant.
“Her teachers are amazed,” said Daniels. “Since she started the CBD, her social skills have gone up. She’s made friends at school, she talks to people, she wants to socialize. She wouldn’t have done that a year ago.”
While cannabis oil is becoming more recognized for its healing potential, the federal government has all but refused to even consider the nationwide legalization of medical marijuana. This, even though a few of their key medical officials, such as Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, have recently come out in some support of the herb, saying that cannabidiol (CBD) “may have therapeutic value for a number of medical conditions,” including epilepsy.
Last year, the National Epilepsy Foundation issued a statement demanding that federal and state governments start allowing seizure patients to have more access to medical marijuana, citing encouraging reports that “certain components of medical marijuana have shown effectiveness.”
“If a patient and their healthcare professionals feel that the potential benefits of medical marijuana for uncontrolled epilepsy outweigh the risks, then families need to have that legal option now — not in five years or 10 years. For people living with severe uncontrolled epilepsy, time is not on their side,” the statement read.
In April, research published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior, which focused on a clinical study of 75 sick kids at the Colorado Children’s Hospital in Denver, found that nearly 60 percent of the patients experienced some improvement in seizure frequency with the use of cannabis oil, while more than 30 percent noticed a more than 50 percent reduction in their seizure rate.
For patients like Mercedes, cannabis oil provides a real opportunity to live a life with some sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, there are millions of patients suffering from this condition across the country who remain without access.