SPECIAL REPORT: Charlotte’s Web marijuana treatment

Little Ezra a few months ago before taking another form of Charlotte's Web that contains THC. Courtesy Marisa Kiser

Families from all over the country are picking up their things, leaving everything they know behind, and coming to Colorado.

“I am a single mother with two children and my entire family is in the South Carolina/North Carolina area,” said Marisa Kiser, who has a son with disabilities.

Kiser came seeking access to Charlotte’s Web for her son, Ezra. Charlotte’s Web is a medical marijuana strain processed into an extract. She said Ezra, before taking Charlotte’s Web, would have 300 to 500 seizures a day. Now, he only has between zero and five a day.

Little Ezra, along with dozens of other children in Colorado, takes Charlotte’s Web to control seizures. But that wasn’t enough for Ezra a few months ago.

“Earlier this year at the beginning of February there was a sudden onset, literally,” said Kiser. “He went from being severely hypertonic, which is where he is now where he is very floppy and doesn’t have much tone in his muscles, to where he was bent backwards. The muscle spasms were so bad that he was bent backwards and he could almost touch his head to his rear end.”

Eventually Ezra started taking a stronger form of Charlotte’s Web that contains THC, and that helped him recover.

Ezra has his ups and downs but continues to do better, just like Addelyn Patrick, who we introduced to our viewers a few months ago.

READ MORE: Family moves to Colorado Springs for oil-based medical marijuana

“We came to Colorado in May,” said Meagan Patrick, Addelyn’s mom. “Addy was born with a brain malformation and it causes her to have uncontrolled epilepsy.”

Addelyn still has seizures, but the difference in how Addelyn was back home in Maine is like night and day.

“She was so overly medicated on the standard pharmaceuticals that she had zero quality of life,” said Patrick. “We really just carried her body through life with us.”

These families are part of the Realm of Caring Foundation, a nonprofit organization set up to help families of patients who can’t afford the treatment. It’s also looking at the research behind it, but with limitations as long as marijuana stays illegal on the federal level.

“The government holds a patent on cannabinoids as neuroprotectants and antioxidants. This is odd to me since they say it’s a schedule one substance which means it has no medical value whatsoever,” said Heather Jackson, Executive Director for Realm of Caring in Colorado. “I don’t understand that we have to wonder how we got here.”

The “Realm” families in Colorado Springs use each other as a support system.

Jackson said Realm of Caring as an organization has helped shift the legislation in 12 states already, but she said they have a long way to go.

“A lot of what has changed the perception and made the polls switch is just regular families who are just trying to help their kids and that just makes sense to people,” said Jackson. “I think this is a more of a common sense thing and more people are beginning to get that.”

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