Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of over 110 identified compounds in the marijuana plant. It is a significant discovery because, unlike THC, which was the best-known compound until recently, CBD is non-intoxicating, meaning you don’t get high.
As a result, it is possible and legal for children to use CBD as a medical treatment. There is an enormous body of evidence available which suggests that CBD has few side effects; so why are pediatricians suddenly acting out against its use?
Are Physicians Saying ‘No’ to CBD?
To be clear, the answer is: Yes, some physicians are dropping children who use CBD. One of the most high-profile cases involves a young girl called Mia Morely. Little Mia was very ill and on a cocktail of pharmaceutical pills, including steroids. The unfortunate young lady was taking up to 30 pills a day, and this constant medication was taking a severe toll on her body. The most noticeable side effect was extreme weight gain, but there were also other issues that ensured poor Mia was feeling worse, not better.
Her parents switched her to CBD oil after moving to Colorado from North Carolina. Eventually, the family was able to return home after CBD was made legal in their state. According to Mia’s father, CBD changed her life for the better – she lost the excess weight and became the energetic and happy girl he remembered. It was all going so well; until her physician inexplicably dropped her.
And it isn’t just Mia who has had this experience. There are tales from parents across the state of North Carolina. These families have appointments with doctors and happily arrive at the waiting room. Alas, they are told that the doctor will not see them and leave the office with more questions than answers. Parents are irate because their children are being dropped despite having attended the same physician for years.
Haley Ward is the most famous user of CBD in North Carolina; so much so that the state’s CBD oil bill is named after her. Her mother, Sherena, is understandably furious and finds it difficult to comprehend what is happening, primarily because CBD has been so good for her daughter. According to Sherena, Haley suffered eight seizures a day before using CBD.
Once she began taking the non-intoxicating compound, Haley didn’t have a seizure for five months. While she has had a few since, they are intermittent and far less severe than before. When Haley took traditional medication, she used to vomit all day long, and her skin and hair looked extremely unhealthy. Now, Haley is a typical vibrant girl who has been transformed thanks to CBD.
Sherena told the media that Haley’s doctor gave her a deadline to stop using CBD or else she would be dropped. Sherena cannot believe that, after seven years of care, when Haley is doing better than ever, her physician would suddenly stop seeing her as punishment for taking a non-dangerous treatment. Sherena knows she had no choice but to find a new doctor, but it was a struggle in North Carolina.
She also contacted Duke University Medical Center, where Haley used to be treated, and asked them why one of its physicians dropped a young girl solely because she used CBD. They refused to reply. She also contacted a North Carolina lawmaker who sponsored the CBD bill.
As bad as things are for the likes of Haley Ward in North Carolina, at least their parents have not been threatened by Child Protective Services (CPS). This is precisely what happened to the parents of Jaelah Jerger, a little girl with epilepsy. She was being treated at Indiana’s Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. When her parents decided to use CBD as a treatment rather than a medication prescribed by the facility, Indiana’s CPS threatened to take Jaelah away.
Fortunately, the CPS was forced to drop the case after a state legislator got involved on the family’s behalf and outlined that CBD is legal. Despite the scandal, the office of Governor Eric Holcomb claimed that the CPS had acted appropriately. Indiana State Senator Mark Messner disagreed and said the CPS overreacted.
There has been some confusion over the legal status of CBD in Indiana ever since the legal arm of the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission seized CBD products from around 60 stores. This was a reaction to Holcomb’s bill, which created a registry allowing Indiana residents to use CBD products if they had treatment-resistant epilepsy.
When Jaelah was diagnosed with myoclonic seizures, a Riley neurologist recommended a drug called Keppra. This is a medication that carries numerous side effects including weakness, tiredness, and dizziness. Rather than subject her daughter to these issues, Lelah Jerger found a chiropractic neurologist who recommended CBD oil.
After switching to a brand called Charlotte’s Web, the Jergers were amazed at Jaelah’s transformation. From 40 seizures a day before CBD, the little girl suffered hardly any once she began a course of treatment. It took a matter of days for cannabidiol to have the desired effect. However, the CPS ordered the Jergers to switch Jaelah to Keppra or risk having her taken away.
What is Happening?
Those wishing to give physicians the benefit of the doubt suggest that CBD’s murky legal status is placing them in a tricky spot. Although doctors can write recommendation letters for CBD, federal laws state that they are unable to provide advice or dosage information. As a result, they can’t manage their patients and are taking the safer option of steering clear of CBD altogether.
There is also a more sinister suggestion. Everyone knows that Big Pharma feels threatened by the growth of marijuana compounds as medical treatments. Patients switching to CBD, THC or another cannabis-based medication means they are no longer using pharmaceutical drugs. Such a situation would cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Indeed, Big Pharma is trying to muscle in on marijuana treatments by creating synthetic versions.
The suggestion is that Big Pharma is ‘encouraging’ physicians to use their drugs rather than CBD. This would explain why Riley intervened and threatened the Jerger family, because they flat out refused to use Keppra. By increasing a physician’s cut for prescribing pharmaceuticals, Big Pharma ensures their loyalty. However, this is not a scenario one should peddle without hard evidence; it is wrong to question the integrity of doctors without proof.
So What’s the Conclusion
It appears as if parents looking to treat their children with CBD are likely to face obstacles. Whether it is a case of being dropped by a physician or having threats made against your family, the powers that be are determined to make it as hard as possible to use CBD, despite its legality in most states.
If you decide to use CBD to help with your child’s seizures, please remember that it isn’t FDA approved, and more research is needed to check its efficacy and to analyze possible side effects. Also, it isn’t a cheap substitute! Most parents who choose CBD pay up to $500 a month out-of-pocket because it isn’t covered by their health insurance.
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