Pubdate: Tue, 16 Aug 2016
Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Sun Media
Author: Julia McKay
Page: A1


A Napanee-area marijuana facility is now able to sell its medical
product to patients in need, and a mother says her son is benefitting
from the development.

Six-year-old Gage is able to sit up by himself, playing with a few
coloured balls and his iPad while his mother, Kelly, shares their story.

Gage has lissencephaly type 1, a rare and incurable neurological
disorder, as well as having a severe, rare, yet unnamed, form of epilepsy.

"They can't even give it a name because he has so many characteristics
from other syndromes of epilepsy," Kelly, whose last name is not being
released to protect Gage's privacy, said. "And he currently takes cannabis."

Before the cannabis, Gage couldn't even sit up and was having problems
sleeping and in constant distress from multiple daily seizures.

For Kelly, seeing the improvements in her son's quality of life, with
the addition of the cannabis, has made the struggle worth it.

"We were out of options. We were told his seizures would never be
under control," Kelly said. "He's gone from hundreds of seizures a day
to having three days without a seizure. [Now] he's more alert, more
interactive and more awake. He's social." After trying multiple
medications and have a number of surgeries not work, it was an easy
decision for Kelly to want to try cannabis for Gage.

But it became an uphill battle, in trying to find a doctor who would
write the prescription and to find the money to pay for the medical

"I thought, what do we have to lose? [Cannibals is] not going to kill
him. When someone tells you that your child is going to die from
epilepsy, you're going to try anything," Kelly said. "It's almost
impossible to find a doctor to prescribe cannabis for, at the time, a
four-year-old. What doctor wants to take that responsibility?"

Turns out the prescription was not the only battle. For the single
90-gram dosage of a high cannabidiol, it costs $900.

"That was after a discount," Kelly said. "There is no coverage;
there's no funding for that." Along with those costs also comes the

"Friends and family are fantastic. Even people we know who would never
touched [the stuff ] or drugs of any kind, are promoting it now
because they've seen [the effects]," Kelly said. "This is not a
recreational [drug for him]. It works like other medications."

Although Kelly did joke about how many people have asked her how her
son smokes the cannabis.

The young child, with his gangly legs and big eyes, seen through
special glasses, received the cannabis extract mixed with coconut oil
through his gastrostomy tube.

"It's not a secret," Kelly said. "We don't tell people the other
medication that he takes."

The family met Ken Clement, founder of ABcann Medicinals Inc., through
a community event to raise funds for a wheelchair van for Gage. "He
wanted to help," Kelly said. Clement stepped forward and helped the
family, first with an understanding of the technical side of cannabis,
then to help cover the cost of the prescription.

Before talking with Kelly and getting to meet Gage, local media were
invited for an exclusive tour of the state-of-the-art facility.

ABcann Medicinals Inc., a medical marijuana facility located just
north of Napanee, has been open since 2014 and received its selling
licence earlier this year.

It's now one of the 34 companies licensed to grow medicinal marijuana
in Canada.

ABcann Medicinals Inc. founder Ken Clement is creating a standardized
medical grade product, which is free of any and all pesticides and
other chemicals, that can be recreated in other locations under the
same controlled circumstances.

Through a relationship with the University of Guelph, Clement has
created lab space within the Napanee facility for a three-year
research project.

"Over time, if you think about other crops like corn and wheat, tens
of millions have been poured into research with universities and
industry to create the most optimal products that we grow," Clement
said. "Nothing's ever been spent on the research on cannabis. We've
engaged them in controlled growth chambers. I went to them and said,
'I want to grow medicine and I want to take a climate on earth and
replicate it over and over again.'"

The facility monitors and controls each stage, from the seeds and
mother plants, to the complete drying process.
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