A 5-year-old Arizona boy whose severe seizures have proven untreatable with other measures has received a medical marijuana prescription.
Zander Welton was born with a genetic defect, called cortical dysplasia, that can cause epilepsy; the young boy has weekly seizures, some of which cause him to stop breathing.
After trying other therapies, such as brain surgery and drugs, parents Jennifer and Jacob Welton sought out a doctor who would give Zander medical marijuana after learning about other disabled children who have been helped by it, ABC 7 News reported
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To do so under Arizona law, the Weltons had to find two doctors to agree to the prescription, and then they had to have one caregiver with a medical marijuana caregiver card, ABC 7 said. Another regulation requires that the caregiver live with the patient.
Zander will be treated with cannabidiol oil, or CBD, which is found in marijuana.
“I don’t want him stoned. I just want him better,” his mother told ABC 15 TV
, saying this is a last resort for them to treat the seizures.
The treatment is controversial. ABC News reported that New York University Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
said it hasn’t been shown to work for epilepsy, but is licensed in 22 countries for multiple sclerosis spasms. Further studies need to be done, doctors said.
The medical marijuana is not covered by insurance, and it will cost about $300 a week. The family has been asking for donations from friends and family through social media. Currently, the state pays about $5,000 a month for Zander’s medicines, ABC 7 said.
“If this finally works for Zander and I finally get to meet who he is, that would be amazing. Because I don't know who he is, he's just a little boy that's trapped in this craziness,” Jennifer Welton told ABC 15.
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