When I read that while the majority of Americans favor making cannabis available as a medical treatment, most of the poll respondents do not favor adults using it in front of children, nor do they favor using it for health problems in children.
I wonder. Would we feel differently about using cannabis if we knew the individual stories of lives saved, joy restored, pain reduced to manageable, and hoped delivered as in the story of Charlotte’s Web?
Let me tell you the personal story of just one of those children at HBC who needs cannabis to survive, cannot get it without uprooting his family, or jeopardizing his safety, or going to jail.
Sam became a patient at HBC in early March 2015. Sam and his Mom, Cynthia, were desperate for help.
Sam is 17. When you first meet Sam, you see a tall, slender, good looking teen with pink in his cheeks and a twinkle in his eye.
Then you get his health story and you are reminded of the saying “looks can be deceiving.”
Sam says he’s dying. His mother also says he’s dying only she adds, “right before my eyes.”
And it may be true. He says no child should go to bed afraid that if he goes to sleep he won’t wake up the next morning.
Sam is 5’10” and today weighs 130#. When he came in early March he weighed 145# or, as he prefers to report, “150# with all my clothes, my work boots, my jacket and my 2 cell phones in my pocket.”
He has very little energy. In conversation he can tell a joke and laugh, but then he goes quiet for the next too-long-of-time and we all go quiet with him, because of our worry.
Sam started the symptoms of Rumination Disease when he was ten years old. Everything he eats he regurgitates and on occasion vomits back up. Several times. Hundreds of times a day. It’s been seven years and that means his teeth are rotted from the constant acid that spews into his mouth; he’s never had a girlfriend; he can’t hold down a job; he doesn’t have friends he hangs with because he had to leave high school when he couldn’t handle sitting in classes. He’s really proud that he figured out a way to graduate with his high school diploma–a real degree, he says. Not a GED.
If Sam inhales the smoke from 3 tiny rounds of cannabis about the size of a baby fingernail, he reports that he can keep his food down for about 2 hours and that’s just enough to get the nutrients he needs to be alert, happy, and able to maintain his weight.
Unfortunately, Sam lives in Virginia where cannabis in any form is illegal.
Can he move to DC? Maybe.
But, most of us have experienced an uprooting move to our lives and even in the most ideal situation it’s difficult at best. In Sam’s case moving takes on the look of “impossible at the worst.”
Sam can’t work or drive and he has no friends or support system to help him with a venture to a new city. He’s only seventeen so his mom would have to make the move to DC, finding a place for the two of them in a very expensive city, turn her life upside down, and her finances inside out.
Wouldn’t it just be better if he could easily buy and legally use cannabis to stay alive while he continues to work for a cure for the disease that’s ravaging him, his body, his life, and his Mom?
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