Medical marijuana, live changing for the Hibbing family

The media tends to focus around tragedy and turmoil.  Lately I’ve seen a lot of news updates making marijuana the scapegoat of death and accidents.  Beyond all the negativity that some news networks are broadcasting about marijuana they can’t stop some of the miraculous stories coming out about how marijuana is the saving grace of some people with serious illnesses.

I want to share the story of the Weaver family living in Hibbing, Minnesota, and how medical marijuana is changing their daughter’s life.  Get ready….this one’s a tearjerker.

Amelia is the 8-year old daughter of Josh and Angie Weaver.  Amelia has Dravet, a catastrophic form of epilepsy.  Up until she was 2 ½ , Amelia was developing normally, being able to say her ABCs and counting. From then on she had daily seizures and her family’s life changed for the worse.

She was unable to verbally communicate, let alone hold a spoon or fork at dinner. Last year Amelia was experiencing around 20 or 30 seizures in which she would lose muscle control and fall to the ground. Now Amelia suffers from 30 to 50 of these drop seizures daily and up to 10 grand mal seizures, which are even worse. Causing loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions.

Dravet is such a disheartening disease in that most epileptic medications do not work, and those that sometimes do work haven’t been effective say the Weavers.

New hope for them was instilled when on July 1 Minnesota's medical marijuana law took effect. Even though it has not been well-studied, there is anecdotal evidence that a form of medical marijuana has shown to improve the lives of children suffering from Dravet.

Although medical marijuana for certain conditions became legal on July 1, the Weavers were only able to pick up their first 20-day supply of the medicine last Thursday at the LeafLine Labs distribution center. The reason for the delay was that their original batch didn’t meet their standards.

"We gave her her first dose on Friday morning," Angie Weaver said on Monday about 9-year-old daughter Amelia. "She had a seizure-free day."

Amelia takes three doses a day. It's mixed with coconut oil and dispensed through a dropper, and the taste seems to be acceptable. "Amelia didn't make a face," Angie said.

Besides just the benefit of lack of seizures, "You can look at her now, and she's focusing for the first time since she started having seizures," Angie said. "She's looking at you in the eye. ... Her body has calmed down. She's starting to smile. It's amazing."

Amelia’s mother said she had no seizures on Friday nor on Saturday, only after Monday afternoon did she have a total of 2 seizures since starting the medication.

Another much needed benefit for the Weaver family has been sleep. Angie says that Amelia has slept as much as 5 hours at a time after the medication when previously she never slept more than 2 hours at a time.

Dr. Andrew Bachman, chief medical officer for LeafLine Labs said, "We've heard from a number of families that have had very positive outcomes with pediatric seizure medications."

As happy as I am that a family like this is finally getting a natural medicine to help their baby girl; it’s painful to imagine all those children before that could’ve been helped but had to suffer due to the inavailability of the medical marijuana.  

Nonetheless, I feel like we are making great strides in the future of medical marijuana and the science to prove the miraculous properties associated with it.

Well, i for one wish them the best of luck and a heartfelt hurray for legislation!