Charlotte's Web, not just a story anymore.


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Over the break I watched a segment on how parents are turning to unusual treatments in order to help their children who suffer from epilepsy. In a recent article on Huffington Post, Heather Jackson is one of those parents. During the past nine years, Heather's son Zaki basically lived a toddler, with his epilepsy causing nonstop seizures he was rendered incontinent and completely dependent on his mom.  With a new treatment called Charlotte's Web, his health has taken a complete turn for the better. 
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Charlotte's Web is the name of medical marijuana being used to treat children with epilepsy. The nonprofit Realm of Caring Foundationin Colorado grows this type of plant year round and is high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the component in marijuana that gives the user a "high".  After the plants are harvested, they are hung to dry and are cured much like tobacco; they are trimmed, weighed and sealed into food-grade bags for shipment. Every single of the plant is used, including the stem as fertilizer. Through shipment, it is sent to Realm's lab in Denver where the buds and leaves are stripped from the stems and soaked for hours in grain alcohol to extract cannabinoids. This results in a dark amber-colored liquid which is then strained through a fine mesh to remove all plant material and poured into an evaporator to remove the alcohol. Realm of Caring takes great care in the production of Charlotte's Web since it was directly created to help children who suffer from severe cases of epilepsy.
The problems people are having lately are on if this treatment for epilepsy is ethically correct. If this is something that can save a child from having 20 or more seizures in a day why should people have a problem with it? During the segment on television I completely understood that these children were not getting a high from the Charlotte's Web since that part of the plant is completely taken out. If this form of medication is given to children by their parents, it must be something that works.

1 Comment

There is a lot of great science at work here. It seems as though the day may finally be approaching when the world will acknowledge the marijuana plant for all its medicinal benefits and not just for its stigma as an illicit drug. I've watched a number of documentaries on the process that you talked about in this post - the stripping of THC from the plant so that the user only receives medical benefits from consumption - and it's truly a superb feat. It has been proven time and time again that cannabidiol is an effective agent for reduction in the frequency and intensity of seizures, and in young children it can sometimes be the difference between life and death. Marijuana in this state can also be used to treat the effects of Tourette's Syndrome, Asthma, and even Alzheimer's Disease, among others. You can visit the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines' website here to learn more about the various ailments that can be positively impacted by the use of medicinal marijuana.

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