In what has become known as “pot for tots,” some parents have turned to medical marijuana to help treat their children with cancer. Such was the case with 3-year-old Landon Riddle, who was diagnosed with leukemia about a year ago.
Living in Utah at the time of diagnosis, Landon’s mother, Sierra, allowed for traditional treatment of her son’s cancer, which included aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. However, according to an article on Huffington Post, the side effects the little boy experienced were devastating. Landon suffered nerve damage in his legs, excruciating pain, vomited dozens of times a day, and even went 25 days without eating at one point.
"Around the clock, he was usually on liquid morphine, Ativan, Promethexane," Sierra told CNN during an interview in July. "And it just really didn't seem to be helping."
As a last resort, Sierra moved her family to Colorado Springs, Colorado, in order to partake of the state’s marijuana laws. She began to give Landon Cannabidiol, or CBD, and Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – both in liquid form.
"Within four weeks we could see the improvement," Sierra told KRDO.
Researchers from Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco have found that, in addition to helping ease pain and nausea, CBD (the non-toxic, non-psychoactive compound in cannabis) can actually stop the spread of many types of aggressive cancer.
Sierra was thrilled to see her son not only respond to the marijuana but also return to his former energetic self. Unfortunately, not everyone agreed with the route she went, and one Colorado doctor even reported her to Human Services for refusing chemo for Landon. Human Services has tried to say Sierra missed ten appointments with them, which she calls a “blatant lie.”
“They are not only forcing me to do something against my will as a parent, they are forcing me to make my child sick,” Sierra told CBS4.
In a statement to CBS4, Children’s Hospital Colorado pointed out that 25 percent of childhood cancers are acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The survival rate for these patients treated at Children’s Oncology Group is over 90 percent but, of course, they note this is attained with two to three years of chemotherapy.
Riddle maintains the pot has been what put Landon into remission, telling CNN, "As soon as we started taking the oil, his platelets have been a regular healthy person's level and [doctors] can't understand why.”
This case has me torn in about a million different directions. While I completely respect this woman’s decision to treat her son with medical marijuana and don’t deny that he has had success, there’s also no denying that high survival rate with the use of chemo by Children’s Oncology Group. One has to wonder if the two might be able to used as a tandem treatment. In any case, there seems to be plenty of indication that more research should be done on the use of medical marijuana to treat childhood cancer.
Where do you stand on this highly contentious matter?