A five-year-old autistic Arizona boy with a brain condition that afflicts him with severe seizures will be given medical marijuana in hopes of alleviating his symptoms, is parents say.
Zander Welton suffers from cortical dysplasia, often thought to be the cause of epilepsy. He is hit with a seizure at least once a week. Because of the condition combined with his autism, he cannot communicate in spoken language.
His parents, Jennifer and Jacob Welton, have tried a variety of therapies, even electroshock, but nothing has helped the boy yet. Even thought medication has eased the severity of his seizures, it has made his mood much darker.
So the Weltons, hearing anecdotal stories of other seizure sufferers who have used medical marijuana, shopped around for a doctor willing to sign off on a medical marijuana card for the Zander.
They plan to treat Zander with cannabidiol oil, an ingredient in marijuana.
“I don’t want him stoned. I just want him better,” said his mother (pictured, with Zander).
In New Jersey, the parents of Vivian Wilson, a two-year-old who suffers from a sever kind of epilepsy known as Dravet’s Syndrome, have been battling with the state’s Governor Chris Christie t make medical marijuana accessible to their child.
Christie who had taken a strong stance against easing the state’s restrictions on medical marijuana changed his postion earlier this month when confronted with Vivian’s case, but the girl’s father, Brian Wilson, says the reversal does not come soon enough.
In Arizona, 39 children under 18 have received medical marijuana cards, but they require two doctors to sign off and the drug may only be dispensed to the child’s parent or legal guardian -- who must live in the dame residence as the marijuana recipient.
Many doctors, however, remain skeptical of the drug’s effectiveness in treating epilepsy. It has never been clinically tested on humans.
“I can say if this was my kid and if there was a possibility it would work, I would certainly want to know,” said Dr. Steven Wolf, a pediatric epilepsy specialist. “This is interesting, but this needs investigation.”
SOURCES: ABC News, The Guardian