Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Medical marijuana revisited 3

Four-year-old Wyatt Hauser sits down for lunch with some ham, bananas, blueberries — and a little something that's not so tasty. His mother mixes a small dose of cannabis medicine into his applesauce.

Wyatt doesn't notice, but Jessica Hauser knows just how crucial that bit of cannabis is to her son's health. In fact, she can count it: The treatments have cut Wyatt's epileptic seizures from 200 a day down to 80.

"His side effects were so severe, he had serious behavioral changes where he was just really angry all the time," Hauser said of Wyatt, the first patient to register for Minnesota's medical cannabis program. "Right now, he's a pretty happy kid, usually."

Friday marks a year since medical marijuana became available to Wyatt and other Minnesotans. Hauser and others who pushed state lawmakers to allow it say the drug has changed many lives for the better…

While it's helped, Jessica Hauser says medical marijuana hasn't completely eliminated 4-year-old Wyatt's seizures.

            Wyatt's seizures are often unnoticeable to the untrained eye, but constantly interfere with
                                                                 his life.

"That was a seizure. Did you see how he kinda rolled his eyes?" she said during her son's lunch. He still wears a helmet to protect his head from what's called drop seizures, doesn't speak and has cognitive delays.

But he's eating, sleeping and working on his physical therapy. The medical cannabis has helped deliver those good things, Hauser said.

"We've just been able to enjoy him and enjoy him being part of our family and get to know him," she said. "Right? Get to know you without all the mask of those side effects?" she cooed to Wyatt. "Get to know you, sweet boy?"


  1. The legalization of medical marijuana in an increasing number of U.S. states may be linked with a lower rate of use of other prescription drugs, a new study says.

    Researchers found an estimated $165.2 million in savings in 2013 in Medicare spending on the prescription drugs that treat some of the same conditions that marijuana may be used to treat, according to the study. That was the same year that 17 states and the District of Columbia implemented medical marijuana laws.

    The savings accounted for 0.5 percent of the 2013 budget of Medicare Part D (which is the part of the Medicare program that helps people pay for prescription drugs and drug insurance premiums). The researchers said that finding shows that people are turning to medical marijuana as an alternative to other medications.

    "The results suggest people are really using marijuana as medicine and not just using it for recreational purposes," Ashley Bradford, a student researcher at the University of Georgia (UGA) and the lead author of the new study, said in a statement.

    In the study, the researchers reviewed all claims for prescriptions filed between 2010 and 2013, by people enrolled in Medicare Part D, for the nine conditions that marijuana can be used to treat: anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity.

    But glaucoma medications were the exception. For the other conditions that marijuana can be used to treat, there were decreases in the number of prescriptions written for medications other than marijuana. For instance, prescriptions for drugs to treat pain were lower by 1,826 daily doses in the states where medical marijuana was legal compared with states where it was not legal (where the average was 31,810 daily doses).

    Based on their results, the researchers estimated that the Medicare program would have saved about $468 million on prescription medications if all states had implemented medical marijuana.

  2. In late February 2015, FDA issued several warning letters to firms that market unapproved drugs for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases. Some of these firms claim that their products contain cannabidiol (CBD). FDA has tested those products and, in some of them, did not detect any CBD. It is important to note that these products are not approved by FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease, and often they do not even contain the ingredients found on the label. Consumers should beware purchasing and using any such products.