Sunday, November 6, 2016

Medical marijuana revisited 4

It's a topic that has sparked debate across the nation over the last few years - legalizing marijuana. In Idaho, recreational and medical marijuana is still illegal.

Last month, Kelsey Osborne, a Gooding mother of two, had her children taken from her after she gave her daughter a smoothie with marijuana in it as an attempt to stop her seizures.

A month later, the two children - Madyson and Ryker - are still living with their father and Osborne is still trying to get them back.

"I didn't ever think it would come down to this, but it did," Osborne told KTVB "It tore me apart."
She says her 3-year-old daughter has a history of seizures, but one morning early October, it was worse than ever before.

"They would stop and come back, stop and come back with the hallucinations and everything else," Osborne said.

At the time of her seizure, Madyson was withdrawing from a medication called Risperdal, which is used to treat schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. Osborne says when she couldn't calm her daughter down, she gave Madyson a smoothie with a tablespoon of marijuana-infused butter.

"Everything stopped 30 minutes later," said Osborne.

A couple of hours later, Osborne took Madyson to the doctor. That's where she tested positive for marijuana and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare was called. She was charged with misdemeanor injury to a child, and has pleaded not guilty.

"To me I felt like it was my last resort," said Osborne, who maintains that she did the right thing. "I've seen it for my own eyes with people out of state who have used it and it's helped them or their children.".

Tom Shanahan with the Department of Health and Welfare says in any case dealing with marijuana, there is one bottom line.

"Marijuana is illegal, period," said Shanahan...

"Even in states that have legalized it it's not legal to give to children," said Shanahan. "The cannabis that is used for children with epilepsy is called cannabidiol oil and it has had THC removed from it."

Without THC, there aren't any psychoactive properties found in the drug.

"It can cause brain development issues with a child, so we view that as unsafe or illegal," said Shanahan. "We want children to be in a safe place."

Meanwhile Osborne says she will continue trying to get her children back, who are currently with staying with their father.

"I'm not going to stop," she said.

While cannabidiol oil (CBD) is still illegal in Idaho, Shanahan says there is a program in Boise through the FDA that uses CBD as an experimental treatment for 34 children with severe epilepsy.

According to Shanahan, there are strict guidelines for those who qualify, one being that the child has to have tried several other treatments that have failed to work.

Courtesy of a colleague


  1. 13-year-old medical marijuana advocate who moved from Connecticut to Maine so she could access cannabis to treat a rare form of epilepsy has died.

    Two medical marijuana advocacy groups say Cyndimae Meehan died Sunday in her family's Augusta home. She had a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome.

    Her mother moved her to Maine to access medical marijuana after failed attempts to treat the girl's frequent seizures using federally approved drugs. Connecticut doesn't allow pediatric medical marijuana use.

    A family friend and medical marijuana advocate says Cyndimae regained her strength and stopped using a wheelchair once she began taking cannabis oil. The family became medical marijuana advocates, often testifying on state medical marijuana bills.

    The family is planning a funeral in Connecticut.

  2. Six-year-old Izaiah Ruiz has countless seizures a day due to a rare form of pediatric epilepsy. Now, a marijuana-derived drug may help him— and his family— avoid the debilitating attacks.

    Izaiah had his first seizure when he was just 2 months old and was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a condition that begins in infancy, five months later. The disease, also called Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (SMEI), is intractable, meaning it does not respond to any currently available treatment. While 60 percent of epilepsy cases do respond, 40 percent, including those linked to Dravet syndrome, do not.

    When Izaiah has a tonic clonic seizure— the type with muscle spasms that most people think of when they hear the word “seizure”— his grandmother, Lori Fountain, follows a military-like procedure to calm and monitor him.

    “Immediately, it’s getting on the floor and laying him down on his side,” Fountain, of Conroe, Tex., told “I grab the oxygen and put the oxygen on him. I want the airflow to keep going to the brain and other parts— because when you have a seizure, everything shuts down in your body. You also quit breathing.”

    “I grab my phone and I look at the time, and I keep up with the time and I watch him,” Fountain continued, rattling off the directions from a well-rehearsed memory. “Then he will go into the shaking part, and I watch and put the (heart) monitor on him.”

    When the seizures last longer than four minutes, Fountain administers Diastat, a rectal medication for cluster seizures. She has the paramedics, who’ve known Izaiah since he was a baby, on speed dial.

    “Most children with Dravet syndrome are having hundreds of seizures a day,” Angus Wilfong, a pediatric neurologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, told “Some are subject to status epilepticus, and that’s a life-threatening condition.”

    Wilfong is the principal investigator for the trial of a new drug that may help treat Dravet syndrome, which is genetic and currently has no cure. The treatment, called Epidiolex, has transformed the lives of patients with Dravet syndrome without eliciting unusual side effects, Wilfong said.(continued)

  3. (continued)Izaiah was part of the double-blind dosage-range trial, and for the month of December his grandmother administered the oral liquid, which was created by GW Pharmaceuticals, to him twice a day. Epidiolex reduced his tonic clonic seizures from about four a month to only two, said Fountain, who noted that he still had small seizures daily.

    For only the third time in his life, Izaiah was able to spend Christmas at home and not at the hospital….

    BD made national headlines in summer 2014 when a Colorado girl, who was also suffering from Dravet syndrome, saw her seizures decrease from hundreds daily to just two or three a month after taking CBD. The medicine has been named “Charlotte’s Web” after the little girl, Charlotte Figi. The medication now reportedly has a waitlist.

    Unlike Charlotte’s Web, Epidiolex has no traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound believed to be responsible for marijuana’s psychotropic effects, Wilfong said.

    “That’s what differentiates Epidiolex from Charlotte’s Web or from hemp oil or other extracts of the marijuana plant that are available in places like Colorado, where medical marijuana is approved,” Wilfong said. “They’re not using pharmaceutical-grade marijuana. You’re never really sure what you’re getting when you use an extract versus something that’s pharmaceutical.”…

    According to many medical marijuana advocates, CBD has the potential to fill a treatment void for Dravet syndrome patients. Current treatment options for the condition include: taking one or more of the 30 epilepsy drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); undergoing brain surgery; going on a high-fat, low-carb Ketogenic diet; or receiving specialized nerve stimulation.

    “Despite all of that, these children are still having dozens of seizures a day,” Wilfong said. “That’s why if there’s a signal that something like Epidiolex can help these children, we need to figure it out, and get this treatment available to them to help them with this catastrophic illness.”…

    When Fountain spoke to, Izaiah was 12 days out from his last dose of Epidiolex. Fountain acknowledged she wasn’t sure if he received the placebo, or what dosage he was given the previous month. But she’s noticed a marked change since he’s stopped taking it: It’s not even halfway through January, and he has already had two tonic clonic seizures in addition to the dozens of tiny seizures he has daily…

    “Do your research, and then you can spend a day in my shoes on a day-to-day basis,” Fountain said, “and you would do anything to improve your child’s quality of life.”…

    Any number of things can set off one of Izaiah’s seizures— if he’s too hot, too cold, stressed, or if he falls out of his everyday routine. While the condition isn’t deadly, Wilfong said, more severe and recurrent seizures prompted by Dravet syndrome increase the chance of sudden or unexplained death…

    During the trial, for the first time in his life, Izaiah begged Fountain to decorate the Christmas tree, she said. It was also the first time he took an interest in opening his gifts on Christmas Day.

    “He would look at the tree and say, ‘lights,’ every day,” Fountain said. “I tried to get him to say, ‘Christmas,’ but it’s a big word. The fact that he acknowledged the tree and asked me to turn the lights on was big.”

  4. Osborne[see post] of Gooding, Idaho, was charged with a misdemeanor count of injury to a child and is now protesting Child Protective Services to regain custody rights of Madyson and two-year-old son Ryker, from her ex-husband, Jerome, Fox 42 reported.

    On Thursday, she and the Idaho Moms for Marijuana group rallied outside of the Department of Health and Welfare in Boise in favor of medical marijuana reform. Idaho is the only state from the surrounding states in which all forms of marijuana use, medical or otherwise, are illegal. However, the Food and Drug Administration has a program in Boise that uses cannabidiol oil (CBD) as an experimental treatment for 34 children with severe epilepsy, KTVB reported...

    According to Idaho Statesman, Osborne made the marijuana butter herself and the substance did contain THC, as CBD oil is not available in the state.

    Osborne told Fox 42 that she did what she thought was right as a mother.

    "It's something that I'm going to fight for and I'm not going to give up until I have them back home where they have been begging me to be," Osborne told the news channel. "I'm not going to stop. I won't stop. If it takes me two years, then it's going to take me two years."

  5. A Michigan physician granted medical marijuana eligibility to more than 11,800 patients in a single year, which amounted to 14% of the total number of people who applied for certification in the state that year, according to an audit released Thursday.

    The audit, which argues that the state is not adequately monitoring doctor approvals in its medical marijuana certification system, said that physician certified an average of 45 patients per weekday during the 2014-15 fiscal year, when roughly 84,000 patients applied for a registry card. Twenty-two other doctors certified a total of nearly 47,000, or 56%, of the applicants, which averages out to eight per weekday. The audit did not name the physicians.

    In its response to the state audit, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program said it verifies physician certifications for suspicious applications and, on Sept. 28, began random audits of the certifications.

    Auditor General Doug Ringler's audit did not say how many of the 84,000 applicants were new and how many were renewing their cards, which are valid for two years.

    But auditors cited research showing most primary care doctors see 11 to 20 patients daily and have caseloads of between 1,200 and 1,900 patients.

    Michigan's 2008 voter-approved law lets people legally use marijuana if they have a "debilitating" medical condition such as cancer or a disease with side effects such as seizures or severe and chronic pain. When registering for the program, patients must include a certification signed by a doctor showing a bona fide relationship — that appointments have been held and are reasonably expected to occur again in the future...

    State Sen. Rick Jones, a Grand Ledge Republican, said Thursday it is "unbelievable" that one doctor could endorse so many patients. In 2012, legislators tightened the law to require physicians to assert in writing that they had fully assessed a patient's medical history and current condition, including through an in-person evaluation.

    "This just stands out as fraud. I'm hoping that the proper authorities investigate this doctor," he said. "Somebody needs to be held accountable."

    Courtesy of Doximity