It is impossible to hear the story of Sandra Wilkinson and her 9-year old daughter Mia without experiencing strong feelings of both sympathy and admiration. Mia was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy called Ohtahara syndrome, which was causing her to suffer up to 100 seizures each day.
Understandably desperate to help her daughter, in 2013 Sandra began treating Mia with orally administered cannabis oil. She personally extracted the oil from dried cannabis flower, obtained from a Licensed Producer (LP), using a prescription from a neurologist in Alberta. A few months after starting the treatment, Mia’s seizures stopped. As of this writing, she has been entirely free of seizures for 19 months. Sandra believes that if not for the cannabis extract, she would have lost her daughter by now.
In July, the prescribing neurologist, citing Alberta Health Services policies that do not support the use of cannabis for epilepsy, declined to renew Mia’s prescription. Running low on medicine, Rebecca sought a new source for medical cannabis and found a doctor at an Ontario cannabis clinic who was supportive of this course of care and willing to write a prescription for Mia, so her treatment could continue uninterrupted.
For the time being, Sandra will be forced to continue the tedious process of making her own extract from dried cannabis flowers. This because—until a Supreme Court ruling in June that expanded the definition of cannabis—LPs could not legally offer extracts and other derivatives.
From its beginnings, CMCC has supported expanding patient access to alternative forms of cannabis to supplement dried flower. Accordingly, members Tilray and Peace Naturals Project were among the first companies to be licensed to produce lab produced, lab tested extracts. Extraction equipment is currently being installed and tested. Production and distribution are expected to commence before the end of the year.
The field of medical cannabis is progressing constantly and quickly. Access to pure, precisely tested extracts gives patients and healthcare practitioners valuable new treatment options. CMCC members are constantly working to increase patient access, support legitimate research, provide opportunities for education and outreach, and we’re proud to be part of this important evolution of modern medicine.