Sarah Wilkinson thought she found a miracle cure when she received a prescription from a doctor in Alberta two years ago. Wilkinson’s daughter Mia had been suffering an intense form of autism that, on its worst days, resulted in 100 seizures in 24 hours or a single sustained seizure for up to 23 hours.
Mia was on dozens of medications and sometimes had to be put in medically-induced comas to quiet her symptoms. But within only a few months of starting the use of medical cannabis, her seizures ended all together. “It’s given us our life back. It allowed for a little bit of normalcy, and a lot more freedom,” Wilkinson told VICE NEWS, who first reported this story.
However, the treatment was tricky from the beginning. Canadian laws on medical cannabis are a little slippery. Marijuana is not actually recognized by the federal government, though doctors can still prescribe it. And Mia’s doctor did.
But at the time, medical patients could only smoke marijuana flowers, not ingest it is an oil or edible or vaporize it. Sarah didn’t want her young daughter smoking anything, so she illegally extracted the cannabis oil herself. (VICE doesn’t say exactly what method Wilkinson used, but given that she was administered them as drops, it’s likely she used a simple olive oil or ethanol process, as opposed to blasting in her backyard.)
After the seizures had dissolved from the Wilkinsons’ lives, another complication arose: the hospital that had given Mia her original prescription changed their marijuana policy and no longer allowed their physicians to renew cannabis prescriptions. Though prescriptions are legally allowed, many hospitals have policies like the Alberta hospital that screwed over the Wilkinsons.
This has caused a black market network of parents to form in Alberta. Kendra Myhre, who administers CBD oil to her two year-old for his fatal seizure condition, told VICE that parents like her have been forced to go underground by uptight hospitals. They’re afraid more of their children’s suffering than whatever criminal charges might be coming their way. “We didn’t want to see [our son] suffer and put him in a casket before the age of five. We wanted to give him the best possible life for as long as he’s got,” she said.
As of this week, Myhre had finally found a doctor who would issue her child a prescription, but Wilkinson had not. Good thing for Mia that her mom is bad as hell and willing to acquire her medicine by other means. “She’s my daughter and I’m not willing to see her die because some people are uncomfortable with cannabis as therapy,” she said.