This is a story about a girl who can’t talk. She can’t even walk, chew or play like most children her age can. She couldn’t even stand until a couple of moths ago. Her name is Bella Chinonis and she comes from Grand Blanc. She is one of about 150 children who were approved for medical marijuana treatment in the state of Michigan.

Bella’s seizures have been reduced

Bella suffers from a genetic disorder called 1p36 deletion syndrome. Since she was born her life consisted of seizures that last anywhere from 2 to 27 minutes. If she’s not having seizures, then she’s taking an array of prescription medications that should manage these seizures and other medical problems she’s been dealing with since she was born. Her mother Ida claims it wasn’t until she was introduced to medical cannabis, actually cannabis oil, that things started turning around for her daughter. “She can stand now. She responds to voices and she loves the movie ‘Frozen.’ She didn’t do that before and the only thing different we are doing is giving her medical marijuana.” She takes cannabis oil that was specially made for her with specific combinations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). She takes it three times a day. She will never develop like other, healthy children her age, and she will always need constant care. But her seizures are finally reduced.

A parent’s struggle

After having Bella on various medications for years and with same results, her mother decided to pull her off the various prescriptions and wanted to start administering medical marijuana to her after researching the effects of the drug. Needles to say she was hopeful it would help her. However, the process of getting medical marijuana to her 6-year old was far from easy. Bella’s neurologist refused to prescribe medical marijuana to minors so her mother had to find other doctors who would examine her daughter and approve her request for medical marijuana. Adult residents of Michigan need to have a recommendation from only one doctor, but children and minors are required to have two recommendations. Bella’s mother looked for recommendations from Detroit and Texas based physicians – they examined Bella and made the recommendations needed for her medical marijuana application.

Still a controversial topic

Some medical professionals are still hesitant when recommending medical marijuana to children. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement saying they oppose the use of marijuana for minors. According to their web site their reason for not supporting medical marijuana is because of, “the negative health and brain development effects of marijuana in children and adolescents, ages 0 through 21 years.” Even though almost half of the country has some form of medical marijuana program up and running, the plant itself is still a mystery, as we don’t have enough scientific research about its effects. Besides, we badly need an education program regarding medical marijuana, because as we can witness in the case of Bella, education about the drug means the difference between people supporting or refusing the use of medical marijuana.


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