LOS ANGELES– A.J. was 13 when he found out he had bone cancer. In 2016, after six years of aggressive treatments and chemotherapy, doctors gave the 19-year old only three months to live. There were 20 tumors in his lungs and nothing more that traditional medicine could do for him, according to doctors.
Despite that terminal diagnosis, A.J. and other young cancer patients, were featured this week on Los Angeles KTLA News (video here). After three months of cannabis oil treatment, A.J. sat next to his parents during the news segment, and explained what he had been through. The treatments, according to his parents, have cleared his body of tumors and eliminated symptoms like fevers.
A.J. and the other children featured by KTLA are all patients working with Southern California medical cannabis research nonprofit CannaKids.org, and its founder Tracy Ryan.
Ryan’s daughter Sophie was the inspiration for the first-time mom to become an advocate for medical cannabis. Diagnosed with an aggressive neuroblastoma at eight months old, Sophie started chemotherapy before she could walk. Ryan was desperate, like most parents would be in her situation, to find a way to slow the spread of the tumor, or any effective treatment for her daughter.
That’s when she found cannabis oil, and eventually founded CannaKids. The nonprofit is sponsoring medical trials and is developing formulations to treat several conditions, including autism, severe pain, and cancer.
Their work, Ryan believes, is helping to change minds about the medical efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoid-based treatments. Other nonprofits, like veterans’ organization The American Legion, have also called on lawmakers and the federal government to allow legalization and expand medical research of cannabis.
“The pressure is absolutely intensifying, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch,” Ryan said. “You’re going to see more and more lawsuits popping up against the DEA, against their attempts to block access, and the much-needed scientific research needed to study this plant and it’s numerous medical benefits.”
“I was even more encouraged when I saw my friend Sebastian Cotte’s group lawsuit take the next step, which will require Jeff Sessions, the DEA, and DOJ to answer questions based on cannabis being Schedule 1, as an unconstitutional act.”
Cotte, in July, joined four other plaintiffs in Stone Mountain, Georgia, to file a suit challenging the constitutionality of federal drug classifications. Status as a Schedule 1 drug prohibits legitimate cannabis research in the U.S., and in fact, defines marijuana as having no medicinal benefits. Like Ryan, Cotte’s is a parent whose son suffers from a chronic, potentially fatal condition (mitochondrial disease), and has used cannabis oil since 2014 to help control seizures.
CannaKids.org’s appearance on KTLA comes at a time when the organization is getting ready for a new round of human trials, as well as expanding the nonprofit’s mission of developing medicinal oils that will treat chronic pain, autism, and cancer-related illnesses. Ryan said there’s many ways that cannabis industry members, patients, advocates, the public, and entrepreneurs can help. A February fundraiser will support education for healthcare professionals – for more information of the fundraiser, visit RallyforKids.com/Los-Angeles.
“We are extremely focused on raising money for the many human trials we are planning right now with three of the top hospitals in the US,” Ryan said. “We’re also working to secure investors that are looking for equity stake through our CK Sciences entity; this is our for-profit that will works towards getting pharmaceutical cannabis all the way through Phase 3 human trials, resulting in an FDA-approved medicine for patients suffering from cancer, severe pain, and autism.”
“We have an event coming up in February called Rally for Kids with Cancer and all funds will flow through our 501c3 non-profit, SavingSophie.org. The funds from this incredible 2-day event will go towards the education platforms doctors and nurses will require so that trials can take place in the first place. Remaining funds will go to the trials themselves,” Ryan added. “Additionally, we are always doing fundraisers that CannaKids produces which raises much needed funds for our patients who are suffering financially.”
“And as to politicians, we are always looking for connections to anyone in this space that could use our support to help change the legislation! So long answer is…all of the above,” she said, finally.