Jennifer and Jacob Welton of Mesa, Arizona filed a lawsuit demanding that the state of Arizona alter the provision that dictates how medical marijuana is administered to patients. The reason being that they will be able to treat Zander’s, their 5-year old son,severe seizures.
Currently, the Arizona law legalizing medical marijuana limits its form to any variation of the actual marijuana flower itself. However, a brain surgery procedure last year rendered the boy unable to eat, so the once effective method of grinding the plant and mixing it with applesauce is obsolete. The only other way for the family to provide their son with the medicine he needs is through marijuana oil extracts.
It’s available, but only illegally in Arizona and possession of any form other than as a plant is a criminal offense.
The Weltons have tried other pharmaceutical routes, but none worked as well as marijuana.
“We tried so many other regular pharmaceutical medications. . . But they didn’t help him and sometimes made him worse,” said Jennifer Welton. “But this is Zander’s medication, and for the first time, I feel like there’s hope for him.”
Medical marijuana has proven successful in treating severe seizures in small children in the past. In Colorado, 6-year old Charlotte Figi had been suffering from grand mal seizures since she was three months old. By age three, she suffered up to 300 seizures a week. By the time she was five, her parents, Matt and Paige, had placed Charlotte under a slew of pharmaceutical therapies, none of which were effective.
The Figi’s caught wind of a boy with the same condition being treated with medical marijuana to great success. They tried marijuana therapy on Charlotte, by administering the oil extract, and it worked. What made the therapy successful was the strain of marijuana given to Charlotte.
This particular strain was uncommon because unlike most strains, which have a higher content in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that gets people high, this strain had a very low THC content. In this case, the active chemical that tapered the seizures was cannabidiol (CBD). According to scientists, CBD works by minimizing the overage of the brain’s electric and chemical impulses which caused the seizures. Since therapy, Charlotte has only two or three seizures a month.
It was so successful that the growers who provided the Pigi’s with the previously unpopular, unnamed strain started calling it Charlotte’s Web. CNN filmed a documentary about Charlotte’s condition and success with medical marijuana, which reached the Welton’s in Arizona and prompted them to seek marijuana therapy for Zander. But they don’t have the liberal marijuana laws like the Pigi’s have in Colorado, which allows oil extracts. Therefore, they have to change a law so that their son can receive medical treatment without facing possible prosecution.
“We’re not criminals,” said Ms. Welton. “We just want what’s best for our son.”