Should medical marijuana be legal for kids?

Marijuana, Family/Kids, NakedLaw, Opinion

If your child was diagnosed with cancer, what would you do to ease her suffering? Adam Koessler, a concerned father in Australia, gave his daughter cannabis oil—a decision that led to his arrest and having his child taken away from him. Did this “Fearless Father” do the right thing?

“I did what any father would do”

In January 2015, Koessler was desperate to treat daughter Rumer’s stage 4 neuroblastoma—a cancer that begins in certain immature neurons (nerve cells)—and turned to alternative medicine. He mixed cannabis oil with coconut and gave it to his 2-year-old as an infusion in her food. Her body’s response, Koessler says, “was nothing short of miraculous.”

Father and daughter traveled to Brisbane, where Rumer was hospitalized for treatment for her progressive illness, which had been diagnosed just one month earlier. It was in the hospital that Koessler was arrested and criminally charged for “supplying dangerous drugs to a minor.”

“I saw first-hand that the cannabis oil was extremely beneficial, and I hope I simply did what any father would do,” said Koessler who, between the time of his arrest and his bail hearing was not permitted to have contact with his daughter.

Kept away from sick daughter

Following her father’s arrest, Rumer was taken off the controversial compound. Her condition deteriorated quickly, and she was put on opiate painkillers. Nearly 300,000 supporters signed a petition to have the charges against Koessler dismissed. After three excruciating weeks apart, Adam was permitted to visit his daughter again.

One year later, Queensland’s breaking news features a pending public health bill to permit the use of medicinal cannabis which, of course, contains none of the substance that makes recreational users high. (Legalizing recreational marijuana is not currently on the national agenda.)

Marijuana is honest medicine

In the United States, the use of cannabis remains illegal under federal law (and here’s a rundown of the different state laws) but states can decriminalize it for regulated medical and/or recreational use.

Ganja guru Anthony Franciosi, founder of Honest Marijuana Company in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, is an expert on the benefits of medical marijuana. Oil derived instead from CBDs (cannabidiols), Franciosi says, can do wonders for children. “CBD (cannabidiol) oil is proven to help with seizures as well as decrease inflammation,” says Franciosi, “and it is a great treatment for social anxiety disorder because it decreases the activity in the limbic system.”

CBD also plays a large role in the formation of memories. “Emotional life is largely housed in the limbic system, which supports epinephrine flow, emotions, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and olfaction.” And CBD, in contrast to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), is not psychoactive.

Koessler says his daughter is proof that cannabis oil works. “Her cancer-ridden little body was alive again—Rumer had almost instant quality of life,” he says. “Her skin color came back, her eyes were sparkling again, and we just looked at each other in complete amazement.”

And the fight goes on…

Tiny (but tough!) Rumer continues to battle cancer. Koessler, meanwhile, is fighting his own battles. As his court case drags on, the legal fees escalate. The Brisbane hospital is a two-hour trip from their home, and Koessler’s desire to spend time with Rumer makes it difficult for him to hold a steady job.

More than $30,000 has been raised on the Rumer Rose—Road to Recovery GoFundMe page, but father and daughter will need much more support—financial and medical. Is cannabis oil the answer? If so, will Australian lawmakers make it legal in time to help this little girl?