Locally Grown Medical Marijuana Used At Children’s Hospital By Beth Dodd

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A two-month old New Mexico girl is being treated for severe epilepsy at Children’s Hospital in Aurora using Charlotte’s Web, a variety of medical marijuana grown here in Teller County that can be life-altering for suffering children and their families. The infant is the first and youngest child to receive medical marijuana at Children’s Hospital.

Little Amylea Nunez is noticeably more alert since she starting receiving the medicine on February 11, which is a cannabis oil administered orally with a syringe. Charlotte’s Web, which is grown locally at what may be one of the largest cannabis production facilities in the state, is high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the substance that creates the “high” sought by recreational users, and is actually hemp rather than marijuana. Although Amylea’s doctors have given permission for her to receive the substance, her parents, Nicole and Ernie Nunez, have to give it to her themselves because of legal limitations. The hospital cannot prescribe or recommend medical marijuana.

If the Charlotte’s Web oil helps Amylea, her parents hope that she can be taken off the pharmaceuticals she has been receiving. Anti-seizure medications can cause liver damage. While hemp oil has no know side effects, experts caution that no long term studies have been done. However, the constant seizures in children like Amylea, who started seizing when she was just a few days old, can cause brain damage.

Amylea is now part of a case study at the hospital for treating severely epileptic children with cannabis oil. A separate short-term study in 2015 found that 45% of the patients studied experienced a significant reduction in the frequency of their seizures.

A statement issued by Children’s Hospital said, “We don’t yet have the science to fully understand medical marijuana and how it impacts children, which is why Children’s Colorado supports research to determine the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana. Children’s Colorado has a CDPHE-funded medical marijuana study that is strictly observational to assess response rates, changes in behavior and side effects of artisanal marijuana products on children with severe epilepsy… Medical providers do not know the long-term effects that marijuana will have on learning, memory and behavior, especially in infants and young children.”

Amylea’s mother Nicole Tesch-Nunez said on the family’s fundraising web page, “Thank you everyone for all the prayers, love, and support. We are truly blessed to have this much support in our journey to help our daughter. She has started the Charlotte’s Web CBD oil. We are hoping that this oil works for her and helps show proof for others suffering from seizures.” If you would like to help the Nunez family with the cost of their daughter’s medical care, you can make a donation at www.gofundme.com/qrdaek5w.

Charlotte’s Web hemp oil is named after Charlotte Figi, now age 9, who was the first child successfully treated for epilepsy with the substance. When she was only 5 years old, she had suffered from almost constant seizures for much of her short life, and doctors had run out of ways to help her. Her desperate parents tried medical marijuana and were delighted when her seizures greatly diminished. Although she has some impairment to overcome because of her medical history, she is now attending school, a joyful accomplishment for a little girl who was not expected to survive.

Charlotte’s Web is produced locally by the Stanley brothers, who have greenhouses in Teller County and run the Indispensary in Colorado Springs. Their business has grown tremendously as the word has spread. Charlotte’s Web has been featured on 60 Minutes, The View, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, TIME, Wired, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, and Forbes, among others.

“The story of Charlotte’s Web and little Charlotte Figi has spread like wildfire,” said Joel Stanley, CEO of CW Botanicals, the manufacturer of Charlotte’s Web, on a YouTube video on their website. “We had reserved all of the supply for the Realm of Caring waiting list. We just ended that waiting list.”

This is great news for families wanting to try the remedy for their children. Since Charlotte’s Web has now been classified as industrial hemp rather than medical marijuana (all Charlotte’s Web products contain less than 0.3% THC), it can be legally purchased by anyone. You do not need a doctor’s prescription or a medical marijuana card. Unlike marijuana, federal law permits the cultivation, processing, marketing and possession of hemp and hemp products. Teller County recently gave the Stanley’s approval for a major expansion to grow this particular type of cannabis.

Charlotte’s Web products are carefully quality controlled and professionally packaged. The Stanley’s Colorado production facility is registered with the FDA and meets current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) for dietary supplements. All of their products also meet or exceed the American Herbal Products Association’s (AHPA) guidelines, which go above and beyond FDA requirements.

Because it is hemp rather than marijuana, Charlotte’s Web can be ordered online from http://cwbotanicals.com and shipped to all fifty states. It can also be purchased at over 60 locations in Arizona, Colorado, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, and internationally in Poland and the UK. This is a pleasant contrast to when the Stanley brothers first began to produce it. Families were moving to Colorado with their sick children to be able to get it, and there was a waiting list. Now it is available to whoever needs it anywhere in the country.

“Making money is not the #1 goal of this company,” said Stanley. “Impacting the quality of life of others, and impacting the necessary social change, is what our company is about.”