Pubdate: Sun, 28 Feb 2016
Source: Des Moines Register (IA)
Copyright: 2016 The Des Moines Register
Author: Erin Miller
Note: Erin Miller of Dallas Center is an Iowa native and a mother of 
a medical cannabis user. She blogs about her family at


Imagine having a child with a diagnosis so rare that genetic 
researchers in three states ask your family to participate in medical 
research because they are officially learning from your child. 
Imagine having a child with neurological storms that no one caught 
until permanent brain damage had already been done. Imagine having a 
child so sick that the doctors you trusted come to your child's 
hospital bed and tell you that they don't know how to help you and 
have to send you elsewhere for help. Imagine being pulled into a 
private room and being encouraged to try cannabidiol. Imagine being 
so desperate to help your child and worrying if doing what is best 
for your child will make you a "criminal."

When you have a sick child, you find yourself in a battle to find the 
right team of specialists that can best manage their particularly 
rare set of circumstances. We never imagined we would have to fight 
for our child's legal right to have his medicine. Especially when the 
recommendation came from his neurologist. Our situation in Iowa is 
hypocritical and cruel at best.

My zip code should not dictate what medicines my child can access, 
nor should it dictate which representatives respond to our needs. My 
family should not have to concern themselves with breaking federal 
law to get a medicine that Iowa law says we deserve. Yet, many of our 
legislators continue to block access to cannabis oil.

It is insulting to sit in a public hearing and listen to the 
testimony from Drug-Free Iowa, who worries more about the potential 
abuse of teenagers on a cannabis oil (which doesn't even have enough 
THC in it to get a toddler "high"). Yet, my son is prescribed a 
benzodiazepine that is one of our country's most abused and deadly 
prescription drugs.

I can go to my pharmacy to obtain benzodiazepine, an "FDA-approved 
drug," which was prescribed to my child off-label. My son was given a 
drug that has never been approved for children. According to the FDA, 
benzodiazepine's "adverse side effects on mental development may not 
become apparent until many years later." Yet, I cannot legally obtain 
a natural organic substance patented and proven to work by the U.S. 
Department of Health and Human Services (Patent 6630507), which has 
no side effects and is nontoxic in high doses.

The hypocrisy that lies in all of this is astounding. I'm a mom doing 
what my son's specialists told us was best for our child. Iowa's 
lawmakers have no place standing between patient-doctor relationships.

I am not afraid of medical cannabis. I don't have to worry about 
detrimental side effects, unless you count my son as being 243 days 
seizure free a "harmful side effect." Cannabis has given my son a 
quality of life he has never known. He is learning how to ride a 
trike, do puzzles, he can walk and run and he is learning how to communicate.

Cannabis has given my son the gift of finally being able to be a 
little boy at 3 1/2, after a lifetime of suffering.

It has given my son and my family our lives back. It is time for our 
legislators to stand up and do the right thing.

Yet, the legislators who need to hear this are the ones refusing to 
come off of the House floor to speak with or respond to emails. It is 
incredibly frustrating that those who are supposed to speak for us 
don't even listen or respond to those they are elected to represent. 
Iowans need to take note of who is telling their fellow sick and 
suffering neighbors "no" and vote accordingly this election season.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom