Despite the fact that there is increasing evidence to support the use of medical marijuana, it is only legal in 23 states – and unfortunately for Coltyn Turner, Illinois is not one of them. Coltyn is a teenager who was first diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 2011, and until recently was confined to a wheelchair, as reported by The Free Thought Project.
Coltyn is now celebrating his 22nd month of remission after starting to self-medicate for his condition with cannabis oil. After his diagnosis, Coltyn's health continued to deteriorate and normal medical treatments were unsuccessful. After reading story after story about how cannabis oil can be used to treat debilitating and even critical illnesses, Coltyn was forced to move to Colorado from his home state of Illinois, in order to use cannabis oil treatment without fear of being considered a criminal. “I'd rather be illegally alive than legally dead,” he says.
The Turner family was forced to relocate, and they are understandably disappointed that the state has forced them to uproot their lives out of love for their son. They have left behind six generations of family and the place that Coltyn grew up – and now he must continue to fight the disease as “a prisoner in the state of Colorado because of medication,” according to his mother Wendy Turner, as reported inCannabis Now.
According to CNN, there are currently eight medical conditions for which cannabis may be used as a treatment in the states which have legalized it: cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, seizures, severe pain, severe nausea, muscle spasms or dramatic weight loss, and muscle atrophy.
The scientific evidence is growing
An increasing number of studies on the medicinal use of cannabis are being undertaken, and pressure is starting to really mount against those states that refuse to embrace it. Coltyn isn't the first child in Colorado to see an improvement in their medical condition since using cannabis as a treatment. According to CNN, a child named Charlotte Figi has suffered regular seizures since she was three months old, lasting between two and four hours, and leading to her being repeatedly hospitalized for long periods of time.
After a lengthy and complicated process of trying to get a diagnosis for Charlotte despite her blood tests coming back normal, she was diagnosed at the age of two-and-a-half with a rare and severe form of epilepsy, known as Dravet Syndrome. Her mother Paige took her to see a specialist who prescribed a ketogenic diet which is high in fat but low in carbohydrates. However, whilst this helped to control her seizures, she suffered from a loss of bone density and a low immune system.
The diet worked for two years, but then suddenly was no longer enough to prevent the seizures; Charlotte began suffering upwards of 300 seizures a week, losing the ability to walk, talk or eat. Her mother Paige then turned to medicinal cannabis as a last resort, and after struggling to find doctors willing to prescribe it to such a young child, a strain now known as “Charlotte's Web” was found to almost entirely alleviate the seizures.
Charlotte takes cannabis oil twice a day with food, and now at six years old, only suffers two or three seizures a month; she is also walking and talking.
The word is spreading
The stories that support the use of medical marijuana are growing in number all the time, and it is now believed that cannabis may have been able to save the life of David Bowie. Juicing cannabis is now becoming popular, as it is thought to not only cure, but also prevent diseases, as reported by Fresh News. Cannabis contains antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
The increased public awareness about the many uses of cannabis will play a huge part in putting pressure on other states to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes. It will also help to increase the number of diseases legally treated by cannabis in those states that are already showing support for this wonderful, life-changing plant.