Why I (need sincere efforts at reform to continue to) Give My 9-year-old Pot April 19, 2010 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Update on medical marijuana for autistic 9 year old with chronic abdominal pain. Existing (closed) thread from last fall.

The author (child's mother) gives an update on the progress of the treatment, local legal and logistical complications, and new insight as to how/why/which particular strains work for her son's particular ailments.
posted by toodleydoodley to MetaFilter-Related at 9:12 AM (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Thanks for the follow-up!
posted by magstheaxe at 9:45 AM on April 19, 2010


I was so wincing for the disaster ending and so happy that there was none. Still a frustrating story, even for someone with all the resources as this family. How does someone luck into getting someone to invest all that time and effort into growing the precise kind of plant for one child. It seems like an unheard of degree of pure generosity, to me.
posted by amethysts at 9:54 AM on April 19, 2010


amethysts, it reminded me of a story I read in the 80s or 90s (can't find now) of a large baby food manufacturer that was discontinuing one particular type/flavor of jarred baby food.

There was a child (born with severe, life-shortening disabilities) who was completely dependent on that particular baby food who was unable, due to severe food sensitivities and allergies, to eat *literally* any other type of sustenance. That particular food was produced pretty much in isolation from other foods in the plant and had been found to be consistently safe for the child to eat.

After being alerted to the need, the manufacturer then produced and delivered, free of charge, an estimated lifetime supply plus a bit more, to the child's family.

of course, the baby food company was simply retooling for a more profitable line, and it was probably a very simple write-off to produce one last run of food and donate it, plus great publicity. the producer in the current story is taking a much greater risk for much less reward.
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:07 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's an interesting story. Stories about people who need something and can't get it for some reason that's totally out their control are always heartbreaking to me. Like when the FDA decides to randomly ban some pain med that happens to be the only thing that works for some people. Or the whole medical marijuana story. Ugh.
posted by amethysts at 10:15 AM on April 19, 2010


well, it seems my memory was (typically) less accurate than I might have hoped. Here's the actual story, salvaged from google newspaper scans.

Raymond Dunn Jr's parents were in constant contact with the Gerber company since he was about 10 years old and the company stopped producing MBF (meat based formula) in favor of soy. They helped her find all the remaining cans existing in any inventory, but the supply was exhausted in 1990. At that point, Gerber employees volunteered to clean and reassemble the MBF machinery to produce another run of MBF for Dunn Jr. They produced a 2 year supply and told the Dunns they'd do it again if he ran out again. Apparently the run was repeated one or two more times and Dunn Jr. survived past his 20th birthday. Here is an account of a memorial placed by his parents at a local playfield.
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:20 AM on April 19, 2010 [20 favorites]


Wow, that's even more amazing. I guess people will team up and make sacrifices to help a child.
posted by amethysts at 10:24 AM on April 19, 2010


I guess people will team up and make sacrifices to help a child.

Yep.

I don't think it would be hyperbole for me to say that there is no feeling worse than knowing your child is in pain or sick and you as a parent can't make it go away. That said, I can't imagine how it would feel for a method that experience has proven to help your child, to be inaccessible. To watch your child in pain, knowing that the right medicine is out there and your child just isn't allowed to have it. I'm glad someone is motivated enough by the injustice and horror that would be, to be helping this family.
posted by bunnycup at 10:37 AM on April 19, 2010


did I know that Danny Thomas was Lebanese-American and spoke Arabic? no, I did not.

thanks bunnycup
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:46 AM on April 19, 2010


Wow, I really want to send a nice gift to her grower.

Seriously, if anyone reading this has contact info I would be happy to send along something to defray his expenses.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:06 AM on April 19, 2010


We need national legislation for medical marijuana so bad. State-adoption isn't going to spread to RI anytime soon (though it's in the NC house right now so maybe I should be more optimistic.) But I'm glad to hear of other parents following her lead and offering support to each other, even though it's infuriating that it has to be such an underground begger's market. Thank god for a generous grower and a communal network, but jesus christ, this kid's whole future is hanging on a very precarious, site and time specific treatment. Someone teach this lady how to grow her own or get her to California.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 12:19 PM on April 19, 2010


This is why I get so infuriated by the "they just want to get high!" brigade. Those who just want to get high don't need a special card or a doctor's order to get passable weed. They don't need to know someone who grows it, much less grows and donates it for free. They don't need to laboriously cook it up in their kitchen, creating a stench which just might get them busted. And they don't need to involve the state in what is, in Federal terms, still an illegal transaction worth prosecuting. They can just buy a baggie and get high, same as they've been able to for decades.

I do understand that some people -- if not many, in states with lax medical marijuana laws -- get a card as a legal fig leaf for their recreational use... but for every ten of them, there's a kid like this, or someone with cancer or AIDS. As far as I'm concerned, the idea that medical marijuana patients "just want to get high" is itself an excuse for those who "just want to keep arresting patients".

As for reform: if you want change, donate to MPP. Much of the legislative progress we've made over the last fifteen years is directly attributable to their work; they are in the trenches on this issue every day, lobbying for marijuana reform on the state, local, and Federal level.
posted by vorfeed at 12:37 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


And those who buy alcohol? Don't they "just want to get high"?
posted by Cranberry at 12:51 PM on April 19, 2010


toodleydoodley: "Here's the actual story, salvaged from google newspaper scans."

This deserves an FPP. Fricken do it, dude.
posted by Plutor at 12:52 PM on April 19, 2010


And those who buy alcohol? Don't they "just want to get high"?

No kidding. The double-standard between marijuana and alcohol would be the punchline to a bad joke, if it weren't the status quo.
posted by vorfeed at 1:06 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


This deserves an FPP. Fricken do it, dude.

Seriously.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:09 PM on April 19, 2010


Man White Russian, I haven't see any of that since college. It truly is the stickiest of the icky. Of course the real irony of the whole thing is that I'm pretty sure my roommates and I went through a similar phase when our guy ran out of White Russian:

1. Call up everyone you know, beg for White Russian.
2. Score some okay stuff, but cherish it because it too might be gone like the White Russian.
3. Get enough Strawberry Kush so we don't stab grandpa with a fork during Christmas.

The kid's not so different! Though I wonder why the medical grower is doing it indoors. If it is legal for him to grow, the yields of a greenhouse or outdoor plot are no where near comparable to what you can do with lights.
posted by geoff. at 3:47 PM on April 19, 2010


Someone teach this lady how to grow her own

I wonder if she is planning to start growing some of her own, or if it is too difficult to be worth it.
posted by jacalata at 5:33 PM on April 19, 2010


toodleydoodley: "Here's the actual story, salvaged from google newspaper scans."

This deserves an FPP. Fricken do it, dude.
posted by Plutor at 3:52 PM on April 19 [+] [!]


OK
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:47 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


A few things:
1. California does not have more cannabis clubs than starbucks. Maybe some areas like van nuys...but overall...not even close. But maybe...really? I need some legit stats on this. Anyone?

2. Strains are fubar. A strain in one geographic location called "White Widow" is pretty different from another "White Widow" in another location. In California, I can say without a doubt that its all marketing. In other areas it could be ignorance, marketing, or just messed up growing. Only Coke and Pepsi can do that shit worldwide...not even water is the same everywhere. Whatever they are using, they need to make sure they have a source of it that is uncompromised. Good luck to them.

3.They're doing it wrong regarding the olive oil. Olive oil burns very easily...and burning easily means having to keep it at very low(er) temperatures for less time...which means you don't extract as much of the cannabinoids as you do with a big ass slowcooker with 2 oz of pot, a kilo of butter, and a lot of water for 8 hours.

4. Poor kid.

5. Poor parents.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:52 AM on April 20, 2010


There are 2010 Starbucks stores in California. I can't find this number on Starbucks' website, nor can I figure out the timeframe, but they say that's where it's from.

As of last fall, there were about 2100 "dispensaries, co-operatives, wellness clinics and taxi delivery services". That might be where this statistic comes from.
posted by Plutor at 6:05 AM on April 20, 2010


hal_c_on: "A few things:
1. California does not have more cannabis clubs than starbucks. Maybe some areas like van nuys...but overall...not even close. But maybe...really? I need some legit stats on this. Anyone?

Yeah, it does. Answered up thread.

2. Strains are fubar. A strain in one geographic location called "White Widow" is pretty different from another "White Widow" in another location. In California, I can say without a doubt that its all marketing. In other areas it could be ignorance, marketing, or just messed up growing. Only Coke and Pepsi can do that shit worldwide...not even water is the same everywhere. Whatever they are using, they need to make sure they have a source of it that is uncompromised. Good luck to them.

This isn't true. Strains are real things. Particular strains of the plant have been cultivated to produce different concentrations of thc, with different effects when used. If you're saying that soil content, mineral content in water, and environment have effects on plants, thats certainly true. But when one considers that White Widow is designed to be grown hydroponically as described in the article (indoors, recycled water system for nutrient recycling, timed lights most likely a combination of metal halide for productivity and sodium phosphate for funkiness) the effect of the environment is mostly negated. This shit ain't getting grown in the ground in the backyard.

3.They're doing it wrong regarding the olive oil. Olive oil burns very easily...and burning easily means having to keep it at very low(er) temperatures for less time...which means you don't extract as much of the cannabinoids as you do with a big ass slowcooker with 2 oz of pot, a kilo of butter, and a lot of water for 8 hours.

No, they're doing just fine with olive oil. Olive oil is fatty enough to mimic animal fats, which is what reacts with thc when heated. Olive oil begins to burn at 200 degrees, so its pretty easy to manage on a stove. When cooked over an extended period of time as described in the article, it becomes very potent.

Most importantly, it is more reliable. Especially for a mother trying to prescribe and hit the target on a dose. When you make butter and bake the butter into goods, you have to contend with the fluctuating variable of digestion. Each time the child ate it, the effects would take a different amount of time to set in and affect him with a different potency depending on his stomach contents and digestive health at the time of dose. Pot oil, you can dab under the tongue 3 times and be feeling the effects in less than 5 minutes.

"When marijuana is eaten rather than smoked, the human liver produces natural cannabinoid metabolites that enter the bloodstream, creating a stronger effect than when cannabis smoke is absorbed by the lungs. The common technique of baking marijuana in brownies or other foods is effective, but unpredictable. The medicinal cannabis compounds are melted into the food when cooking, so the absorption of the herb is complicated by digestion of the food. Therefore, the optimum medicinal benefits are easier to predict and manage when marijuana is cooked with olive oil and packed into gelatin capsules."

4. Poor kid.

Yes.

5. Poor parents"

Yes
posted by lazaruslong at 11:30 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the update. As the older brother of a high functioning young woman with autism, I really feel for them. But for the grace of God/providence/neurochemistry, we're not in the same situation. We know another family with an autistic child, and he's wasting away because he's so severe he never learned to eat enough food. He could probably use the calming and appetite enhancing effects of marijuana, although I have no idea how to tell his parents, who are not pro-legalization by any means.

How can anyone rational read about this kid and still be anti-medicinal marijuana? I can kind of understand being against recreational marijuana, but not medicinal.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:12 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


lazarus,

Regarding "cannabis clubs" vs. starbucks:
Ok...cool...except that the article referencing the number of cannabis clubs in California says:

"Across California there are an estimated 2,100 dispensaries, co-operatives, wellness clinics and taxi delivery services in the sector known as “cannabusiness”. That is more than all the Starbucks, McDonald’s and 7-Eleven outlets in the state put together."

Thats rather contrary to the other statistic which says "2010 starbucks in california" unless there are less than 90 combined McDonalds and 7elevens in california, right? Lets maybe use a domestic source for that, rather than a Brit newspaper.

I still haven't seen been able to find legit stats on that...and neither has anyone here.

Regarding strains:
There is a particular parental line that will produce a certain strain (say "white widow"). But do you REALLY think that most who claim to sell, grow, or have white widow has those parental lines? I know for a fact that the answer is no. If pot becomes legal (not just california legal), I bet we'd see that here like they have it in other parts of the world. But we don't have that yet...and all sorts of people are selling all sorts of strains that had become legendary in the 60's-90s...but they are those strains in name only, not lineage.

Regarding cooking:
No. I know that the longer you cook(up to 8 hours) at a higher temperature (to a point...somewhere near the high 200s), the more you are able to extract out of the plant matter. Stirring a spoon in a kettle for a few hours on a stove isn't going to give you optimal results; its only going to get you tired.

Dabbing olive oil sublingually...never tried it...you do understand that you can do the same with butter, right?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:12 AM on April 22, 2010


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