A trend is beginning among families with sick children: more and more are moving to Colorado to find a cannabis-based treatment that works wonders on seizure disorders. As more and more families find out about the cure, the company that manufactures it is struggling to keep up with the demand.
"We just have so much demand," Jordan Stanley, one of the brothers who owns the Realm of Caring Foundation, told WBTV. "We need more space to keep growing these plants."
The Stanley brothers founded the company when they succeeded in making a cannabis compound that was free of THC, the chemical that causes a “high” feeling in the user. The drug, called “Charlotte’s Web,” after the first child it worked on, only contains high anounts of therapeutic cannabidiol, or CBD.
The Realm of Caring headquarters, located in an innocuous cabin and greenhouses tucked away in the Colorado Rockies, gets about 500 calls a week from parents across America, according to Stanley. 150 children currently use the medicine.
The company is prudent about taking on patients.
"We won't start a child on the medicine unless they're approved as having other options not work," said Stanley. "And unless we have enough medicine for them to last their entire lifetime. We don't want to start a child, have this work, then have them depend on it and us run out of supply. That's why we need to build. We need to have more so we can start more kids on what seems to be working."
Liz Gorman, a mom from Charlotte, N.C, moved her family to Colorado in a last-ditch attempt to find a drug that would work for her 7-year-old daughter Maddie’s severe seizure disorder.
"She was going rapidly downhill when we moved," Gorman told WBTV from her new home in Colorado Springs. "Things were getting worse by the week. We were at about 100 seizures a day. So to now see improvement -- we can sometimes be at 10 a day -- and improvement in cognition, it's pretty impressive."
Residents in states like Georgia and Tennessee have been lobbying lawmakers to pass legislation legalizing marijuana. Many are parents whose children are afflicted with similarly severe seizure disorders.
But state governments are reluctant to make the change, probably because "cannabis" has a bad rap.
"I think it's about stigma," Gorman said. "Having tried it now and having had to move across country to get it, I honestly feel this is ridiculous we can't have it everywhere. Aside from the fact it comes from a cannabis plant, there's nothing about it really that's dangerous. Parents don't need to be afraid that their children could get ahold of it and use it in an incorrect way."