The Side Effects of Medical Cannabis

I’ve posted before about Hunter, an eight-year-old boy from Georgia, whose family relocated to Colorado several months ago to try and treat his severe epilepsy with cannabis oil. Previously 12 FDA-approved meds, the ketogenic diet and a surgically-implanted VNS had failed to make him seizure free. He was not a candidate for brain surgery. Some of his meds made him sleep constantly or scream. Here is an update.

This non-psychoactive oil has made an incredible difference in Hunter’s quality of life. According to Mom, “His bad seizures (myclonic clusters) would happen almost daily before and last 5-10 minutes.  NOW, he is averaging one a week and they are under 2-3 minutes.  In the month of February he has had 4 so far.  This is HUGE! His quick seizures used to last upwards of 30 seconds and happen 10-20 times a day.  After a month or so we were still seeing them every day and several times a day but they were literally seconds and half the time we couldn’t tell if he was actually having a seizure.  Now, after 3 months, we are hardly seeing ANY!”

But in fairness, we must address the side effects of this medication. Sure, it might help kids with terrible seizure disorders that are damaging their brains and ability to function and learn, but surely there are SIDE EFFECTS? Well, you’re right. There are. Here are the side effects Hunter is experiencing.

1. Increased eye contact and the ability to maintain eye contact.

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2. He no longer needs Miralax and daily suppositories to go to the bathroom.

3. He is relaxed. His fists no longer remain in a clenched position with his nails digging into his palm, making his hands bleed.

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4. After eight years of only being able to sleep on his back, he can now roll to his side and sleep in a new position.

5. He now rides the school bus since Mom no longer worries about him having a bad seizure on the bus.

6. There have been no calls from the school for EMS.

But I guess a few side effects are the price a parent must pay for giving their child quality of life. That and leaving your entire life behind in another state.

Hunter with Charlotte Figi.
Hunter with Charlotte Figi.

Update 3/10/14: The Klepingers were on CNN today. Check it out here.

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14 thoughts on “The Side Effects of Medical Cannabis”

  1. I’m also a mom of a 2.6-year old girl who has seizures. We are still hoping the gov’t will understand the benefits of medical marijuana, as our children are suffering each day.

  2. wow! what an amazing difference. a family member is on her way to CO to start this very adventure! Dear Lord, let it be as dramatic or BETTER!!!

  3. i am so over whelmed about reading this i am sooo happy he is doing so much better i only hope other states see this as a great thing not a bad thing ❤ lots of love the sweet family

  4. I am so happy to hear Hunter is doing better. Sorry it took uprooting your family to make it happen but you are wonderful parents for doing so! Best of luck as you settle into your new surroundings.
    – Former Keto Mom

  5. This is amazing! I am the mother of a beautiful 14 year old girl who has struggled with seizures since she was a baby. I can only hope that Virginia (that’s where we are from) as well as all other states will wake up and realize how significant this could be for our children who miss out on so much in life due to this horrible disease. It saddens me that we have to fight for something that has been proven to help and could possibly be the difference between life and death as the fear of SUDEP is never far from any parents mind that deals with this. God bless this family as well as so many others dealing with this heartache ❤

  6. Jennifer, I’m Melissa. I’m part of a group of parents advocating for medical cannabis in Virginia. Find us on Facebook (Virginia Parents 4 Medical Marijuana) or Twitter @VAParentsForMMJ. We are making some waves already.

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