Meet Kara, an unstoppable little girl nicknamed Monster for her tenacity.  In January 2016, Kara was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that starts in the nerve cells of an embryo or fetus and is rarely detected in children older than 10 years old.  In order to treat her cancer, Kara was subjected to a barrage of pharmaceuticals that left her exhausted and debilitated.

Meet two-year old Mae.  Shortly after turning two, this fun-loving little girl was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma and began undergoing chemotherapy.  The journey was painful for Mae and her family.

Meet Sophie Isabelle Ryan.  Despite a beautiful pregnancy and perfect birth, at eight and a half months old, Sophie was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Her doctors informed her parents that the only course of treatment would include 13-months of chemotherapy that would hopefully prevent the tumor from growing.  Sophie’s parents were told not to expect the tumor to go away, let alone significantly shrink.

These three little girls have a couple of things in common.  First, they were dealt incredibly unfair hands impossible to comprehend.  Second, they all found respite in something other than the protocols their doctors originally prescribed: cannabis.  And that’s what makes them CannaKids.  All three children are currently benefiting from products and services provided by the cannabis oil producing cannabis collective, CannaKids.

Cancer and Cannabis

Cannabis offers an array of therapeutic benefits to consumers whether they have specific medical needs or not.  Cannabinoids, or the chemical compounds native to the cannabis plant, such as CBD and THC have been found to alleviate symptoms related to conditions including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, chronic pain, bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

One of the more medically potent cannabinoids, CBD, has been found to contain health benefits that may revolutionize the way patients are treated

cannakids oil for kids CBD has been found to have anti-anxiety properties and antipsychotic properties, but it’s the cannabinoid’s potential uses in cancer therapies that are truly remarkable.

CBD and THC both interact with the endocannabinoid system in a way that reduces nausea, especially as a result of chemotherapy.  Moreover, CBD may have the ability to remove the need for chemotherapy as it has been found to reduce the proliferation of certain cancer cells.

In plain English, CBD can stop tumor growth without wreaking the havoc that chemotherapy inflicts on patients.

And that’s what got CannaKids started.

Meet Tracy Ryan, Sophie’s mother and the CEO of CannaKids.  After Ryan and her husband received the devastating news about their daughter’s diagnosis, they became determined to find alternative methods to treat Sophie’s condition.  They were eventually put in touch with Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, producers of the natural birth documentary, “The Business of Being Born.”  Epstein and Lake were in the middle of producing a documentary about cannabis oils’ capability to kill cancer cells in pediatric patients, so they connected Ryan with cannabis oil experts who were able to direct her in how to use the products to treat Sophie.

After a combination of chemotherapy and high-concentrated THC and CBD oils, Sophie continued to gain weight and develop at a normal rate, her brain tumor was about 90% removed, an accompanying cyst the doctors believed would not go away was also about 90% gone, and her vision—something Sophie’s doctors believed would be severely compromised—was reported to be “that of a normal two year old.”

Ryan and her daughter’s doctors credit cannabis oil with the incredible progress she has seen in Sophie’s condition

Ryan has worked with people all over the world in her devotion to harnessing the amazing potential of medical cannabis to treat patients (both children and adult) suffering from autism, epilepsy, cancer, and more.  Ryan is currently working with the Israeli company, Technion, as it studies the effects of cannabinoids on a variety of cancers, her daughter’s cannakids cannabis oil for kids tumor sample one of the first to be analyzed in Technion’s trial.

Ryan has been extremely public in her advocacy for medical marijuana.  She has been featured on NationalGeographic.com, Entertainment Tonight, the Huffington Post, Vice News, Yahoo.com, and is the central figure in the upcoming Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein documentary, “Weed the People.”

CannaKids’ staff is comprised of people who have been personally touched by cancer, and who are, consequently, committed to not only making cannabis accessible to those who need it most, but to providing a hand to hold for the patients and families who must traverse the frightening road of disease.

The Honey Gold (the name of the oil the company provides) is extracted by a team of PhD scientists specializing in organic chemistry using a solvent free process that leaves the oil pure of unnecessary contaminants and plant matter.  Products available for sale include CBD and THC tinctures of various flavors, THC-A oil tincture, and Honey Gold THC oil and CBD oil syringes containing 1, 5, or 10 grams of oil.

CannaKids Criticisms   

Despite the clear medicinal benefits of cannabis, the plant is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug, or an extremely dangerous substance with no medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.  This means that cannabis is federally illegal.  The DEA’s scheduling of the drug is informed by official opinions given by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Health Institutes National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Critics of CannaKids, such as Kevin Sabet, Ph.D., director of the University of Florida’s director of the Drug Policy Institute, argue that the collective is giving kids “God-knows-what.”

The cannabis oils CannaKids sells are not FDA approved and may be subject to contaminants like mold

But criticisms like these are hard to digest when looking at the cozy relationship between NIDA, the FDA, and Big Pharma.  NIDA studies and the FDA are often funded by pharmaceutical companies, who coincidentally, enjoy FDA approval despite the fact that adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals make up the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the blaring evidence that the opioid epidemic ravaging the country is being fueled by overly prescribed opioid-based pharmaceuticals.

At the end of the day, a parent is going to do what it takes to protect her/his child, and if that way happens to be federally illegal but unquestionably beneficial, then so be it.

Dianna Benjamin

About the author: Dianna Benjamin is a freelance writer, teacher, wife, and mom horrified and fascinated by social justice and our inability--yet constant pursuit--to get it right.