We want to be healthy. We want our children to be healthy.
We want to prevent disease, and we surely want to treat disease compassionately. We want nutritionally complete food and we want safe and effective medicine. Well, where do we all start?
Before we go any further here, let’s be clear, we’re talking about the responsible use of cannabis for parents, our children, and the children of the future. We are talking about the lack of access to safe medicine.
Let’s start with the Jamaican study.
In Jamaica cannabis is culturally acceptable and considered to be a safe and effective way to relax and relieve stress, as well a natural medicine. A controlled study was done comparing the health of babies born from a group of women who were smoking and consuming cannabis in a tea and a group of women that were not using cannabis during pregnancy. The results are surprising.
Not only were there no significant differences between the groups of newborns, but the newborns from the cannabis group scored a little higher in autonomic stability and reflexes at one month of age. These babies were actually more social than the babies from the non-using group and had significantly higher scores in: habituation to auditory and tactile stimuli, degree of alertness, capacity to be consoled, and self-regulation. 
They had less irritability, fewer startles and tremors, a higher and better quality of alertness, and were more rewarding for their caregivers than the neonates of the non-using group of mothers. At 5 years of age there were no significant differences anymore. Why would these children have scored higher in autonomic stability and reflexes at 30 days old, but then be scoring around the same at 5 years of age?
Science offers us answers.
Human breast milk contains cannabinoids including THC, some of the same cannabinoids that are found in cannabis. It’s no secret that
breast milk is better for infants and children than cow’s milk or formula, and cow’s milk is actually an acidic animal protein and a carcinogen that wreaks havoc on our bodies and the bodies of our children. Most formulas actually contain several carcinogens in their ingredients and most formulas also contain genetically modified (GMO) ingredients as well. So if human breast milk contains the same cannabinoids that are found in cannabis, shouldn’t these huge corporations be adding cannabinoids to their formula instead of carcinogens?
Studies show that “the blocking of cannabinoid receptor activation during early development is considered to have ‘catastrophic’ effects.” So if the cannabinoids in human breast milk that are crucial to the development of an infant aren’t added to the infant formulas, where are babies getting them?
Well, they are not receiving cannabinoids at all.
This isn’t something we should just be writing off either. It’s something that should have our full attention, as infant formulas are supposed to replace the nutrition our babies are getting from breast milk, and these corporations honestly fall far short of what should be their goal. And even worse, pregnant women are being offered medications with dangerous side effects instead of being offered natural options.
Benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan, cause a 3-5% increase in babies born with a birth defect, defects including cleft lip and/or cleft palate. They are also highly associated with preterm delivery, low birth weight, and other perinatal outcomes. So why would women take medications with such terrible side effects while pregnant? Most women feel that there are no better alternatives. And it’s not any better for the developing fetus if mom is stressed out and anxious all of the time. In most of the US and Canada, a child can be taken away from their parents because of the mother’s decision to use cannabis while pregnant instead of toxic pharmaceutical medications. Children are routinely taken away from parents who use cannabis in their home. Children this year have died in foster custody and CPS custody after being taken away from pot-using parents who provided a safe and nurturing environment for their children. All year long I’ve been reading articles about families and hearing stories from friends and acquaintances that have had their children taken from them for using cannabis responsibly. Where is the justness? Drugs like Xanax, however, are considered to be safe and acceptable.
One of the most important reasons for breast milk containing cannabinoids is the reaction in which a baby learns to suck out milk and start using their jaw muscles (a similar reaction to when a cannabis user develops the “munchies”). In a 2004 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology we learn that “[E]ndocannabinoids have been detected in maternal milk and activation of CB1 (cannabinoid receptor type 1) receptors appears to be critical for milk sucking … apparently activating oral-motor musculature”. This means that some infants experience failure to thrive which can lead to a whole host of other problems on a developmental level. This is outrageous.
And how do formula manufactures get our babies to consume their formulas when cannabinoids aren’t present? By making formula taste sweet, with ingredients like sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other dangerous sweeteners. According to Dr. Mercola, “the CDC found perchlorate, a chemical from rocket fuel, in 15 brands of infant formula, including two brands that accounted for 87 percent of the market share in 2000.” The top offenders included Similar and Enfamil. Other contaminants discovered in some infant formulas include:
- Melamine (linked to kidney failure)
- AGEs (advanced glycoprotein end products)
- Genetically engineered ingredients
Cannabis Reverses and Treats Stress and Mental Illness
I am a parent who cares about doing everything right for my children so much that I easily slip into mindsets like depression, anger, stress, anxiety, guilt, and sleep deprivation if I’m stressed about the well-being of my children. My wife is one of those parents, and many of our friends are those parents. These emotions take us over and inhibit us from being the type of parents we want to be, the type of parents we feel like on the inside when we’re at peace. These emotions prevent us from responding the way we know we should to our children when they need our support and direction, and we know this, but we accept it as the vicious cycle it is.
We become frustrated and we raise our voice, when we know that talking louder or yelling isn’t going to benefit us or our kids. We leave the room while they’re crying even though we know it’s up to us to solve the problem of why they are upset, and to support them while they are going through the emotions. They just want to be held, but our backs and shoulders are tired, our necks are sore, and we get headaches. We sit down with them to play, but within minutes we’re fidgety, thinking about stuff we could be getting done, or for many parents, our minds are taking us back and forth to the barbaric and unnecessarily interventional hospital birth that was far from what we planned for our first baby, or a stressful visit to the pediatrician. We replay stressful scenarios in our heads using our imaginations to worry constantly.
Or often, in the case of parents who’ve experienced great hardship or abuse as children, we start to think more about memories from our past that we may have buried or forgotten about. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is much more common than what is actually being recognized. I believe that when a lot of people hear “PTSD” they think of war veterans returning home with “flashbacks”, but PTSD can result from having Post-Natal Mood Disorders or depression and can affect us for the rest of our lives if we don’t pay attention to it, treat it, and work through it properly.
Most people that have used cannabis, whether or not they support it, will agree that it has relaxing properties. Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the many medicinal molecules in cannabis, actually helps us forget about bad experiences and helps us work through them and process them properly all the while removing damaged brain cells and helping us to become mentally stronger and more efficient.
It’s a simple remedy.
We inhale or consume cannabinoids, and we relax. Suddenly that day dream of depression is replaced with an ear to ear grin. The attention problems that have us wanting to get up and do something else are overcome with patience and a fascination for building blocks and coloring books. Suddenly the stress that results in a loss of appetite and the anxiety that is a thick clammy blanket over our skin are hung out to dry as we become hungry and realize how incredible good food tastes when we feel this way. Everything in our life becomes simplified with the addition of a single plant.
Some people would argue that smoking cannabis is dangerous because the smoke itself, like tobacco smoke, contains hazardous chemical. Interestingly, studies show that smoking cannabis can actually be beneficial for our lungs in that it improves lung capacity and actually can retard or in some cases reverse lung, throat, and oral cancers. THC opens up our lungs to remove smoke and dirt, while nicotine does the complete opposite, causing our lungs to bunch up and make it harder to cough. Studies also show that we do not provide others with a “contact high” when we are smoking around them. To the best of my knowledge there are no studies to date on the effects of third-hand smoke from Cannabis, but it is not dangerous on the level that cigarette smoke is.
That being said, there is a simple way to inhale cannabinoids without burning them.
Vaporizers are cleaner and safer instruments for inhaling cannabinoids. Unlike joints, pipes, and bongs, vaporizers only release enough heat for the cannabis material to release the cannabinoids as you inhale them. For a lot of users, it’s a more preferred method to smoking because it’s not harsh on the lungs and doesn’t produce smoke. All in all it’s a safer and more responsible method when using around other people who don’t smoke and when using in front of children, but for most people vaporizing is a more expensive option. Until there are studies that show that the smoke from cannabis is dangerous, there is no reason to discriminate against one method or the other. Some users prefer not to inhale cannabinoids at all, while some people prefer only to inhale them.
It would be easy for skeptical parents to say that parents who are using pot are not as responsible as parents who don’t use cannabis, but the fact is that it is irresponsible for any parent to raise their children in an environment where stress is present every day. We need to be accountable for our own actions and we shouldn’t make judgments about the decisions of other parents, especially when those decisions are clearly what best benefits the whole family. Children deserve happy parents, and if cannabis helps parents be happy and healthy, and reverse disease in the process, then everyone should be able to respect that.
Let’s look at an example of what happens in a society where we use judgments and control instead of compassion and common sense.
About 1% of our population has epilepsy. It one of the most common and chronic health conditions for women who are pregnant. Epileptic seizures typically become more frequent while pregnant because estrogen increases seizures. The Mayo Clinic has this information to offer about taking seizure medication:
“Any medication you take during pregnancy can affect your baby. Birth defects — including cleft palate, neural tube defects, skeletal abnormalities, and congenital heart and urinary tract defects — are the primary concern with seizure medications. In addition, taking certain seizure medications, such as those that contain valproate, or more than one seizure medication during pregnancy can increase the risk that your baby will have impaired cognitive development. Valproate products include valproate sodium (Depacon), divalproex sodium (Depakote, Depakote ER) and valproic acid (Depakene, Stavzor). Other problems caused by seizure medications might include minor birth defects that affect the baby’s appearance, such as wide-set eyes or a short upper lip — though it isn’t clear whether this is related to the drugs or the disease.”
For babies whose mothers take seizure medication, the risk of birth defects is 4 to 8 percent — compared with 2 to 3 percent for all babies — according to the Epilepsy Foundation. The risk seems to be highest when more than one seizure medication is taken, particularly at high doses. Without medication, however, uncontrolled seizures might deprive the baby of oxygen. Seizures can also increase the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.
This is what the Mayo Clinic says you can expect if you have epilepsy and become pregnant:
“Women who have epilepsy face a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications, including:
Severe morning sickness
Vaginal bleeding during and after pregnancy
Premature separation of the placenta from the uterus (placental abruption)
High blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy (preeclampsia)
A low birth weight baby
Failure to progress during labour and delivery
Babies with congenital anomalies”
I hope you’re thinking what I’m thinking…there is absolutely no mention of cannabis. And not only would this medicine prevent these seizures, but it regulates hormone levels, reverses hemorrhoids and anal fissures, treats nausea while increasing appetite, speeds up and balances metabolism, and the list goes on.
Medicine made from cannabis is non-toxic.
High CBD strains of cannabis controls seizures almost completely, and if the THC levels are lower than the CBD levels, there is no high experienced with smoking or consuming it. THC is the chemical in cannabis that becomes psychoactive when heated, and although also non-toxic, some people generate anxiety or experience paranoia from psychoactive THC, and with too high of a dose a person can experience temporary psychosis.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently apologized for his previous stance on medical marijuana and put together a documentary called “Weed” which follows the lives of several people, but namely a child named Charlotte who has Dravet’s Syndrome, a rare form of childhood epilepsy. Starting around the time she was a year of age, she started having seizures, soon averaging up to 300 seizures a week. Her parents were out of options when Charlotte’s doctors wanted to put her in a medically induced coma, when her father saw information online about another child where his seizures were being prevented with oil made from a high CBD strain of cannabis.
I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen the film yet to watch it, but long story short she is now having an average of one seizure a week or less. And not only that, but the medicine is also restoring much of her cognitive function. Another aspect of cannabis that has been well studied and documented is that cannabis works with the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies to do amazing things for us, one being that cannabis cleans out our dusty old damaged brain cells while supercharging our mitochondria. These same cannabinoids also reverse inflammation, which in turn can reverse neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even Autism, especially in children.
Cannabis & Cancer
We’ve known for many years that using cannabis as a medicine alongside chemotherapy has many benefits including: pain relief, increase in appetite, regular sleep, fighting depression, etc….but it is relatively new to most people to hear that cannabis actually kills cancer cells. The US Government has known since as early as 1974 that cannabis kills cancer cells, but as soon as the DEA found this out they shut down the Lewis Lung Carcinoma study. Cancer has been increasingly more profitable for the pharmaceutical industry as the years have gone by, especially when considering that chemotherapy treatments in the US cost an average of $100,000 a year per person, and 1 in 2 people on this continent get cancer at some point in their lives. The US Government even went as far as to take out a patent on cannabis in 1999 as a neuroprotectant and antioxidant, while claiming at the same time that cannabis has no medicinal value and is as dangerous as heroin to ensure they can attack, arrest, and incarcerate people that choose to use it as a medicine while continuing to profit from cannabis prohibition.
Most people, including children, see a complete reversal of their cancers in just a couple of months with no side effects from treatment. And sadly, the effort to silence the success of the children making these miraculous recoveries is tremendous. Take 3 year old Landon Riddle for example, who is in remission from leukemia thanks to the cannabis oil his mom has been giving him, but the doctors who are treating him have made it clear that Landon will be taken away from his mother unless he continues chemotherapy even though he’s in remission, the same chemo that caused him to go 25 days without eating at one point.
This should infuriate every parent, but for some reason it’s still happening to children all over the country. Another example would be Daniel Hauser, a 13 year old boy from Minnesota. There was a warrant out for his mother, as she had been forced to break laws to help her son hide from authorities who literally forced chemotherapy on him, something that he did not want or need in his body. There are many cases of children being ordered by courts to undergo chemotherapy. This is happening all over the continent.
So if we, or our children, suffer from seizures, cancer, or other chronic conditions, and we don’t live somewhere that respects our right to use this plant, what are the options?
There are many options obviously, and all of them carry with them extreme consequences. But a better question is why would anyone want to live anywhere in the world where a plant with this much potential is treated like a dangerous drug with no medical potential, so dangerous that people in the US have served as much as 30 years in prison for using it and selling it? A place where our older children are locked up and punished for simply following their own intuition, or just following peer pressure, and using the plant? This is a travesty.
Collectively, we’ve let ourselves be fooled. In the 1930’s Harry J. Aslinger came to the conclusion that making cannabis illegal would be very profitable for certain industries, and thus began an enormous campaign of propaganda and fear tactics to disseminate misinformation in all western countries. Keep in mind that hemp makes clean fuel, extremely strong fibres, durable building materials (hemp bricks are mold and fire resistant), nutritious food, potent medicine, greener paper production, cleaner plastic, than almost any other material on our planet. It’s completely renewable and can be grown again every year, where trees take hundreds of years to grow back. But the corporations that run this world are not interested in renewable, as we already know.
So what can we do to protect ourselves and our children from disease if our government won’t protect us from their own laws?
Sadly, the only option for a lot of parents is to move somewhere where cannabis is legal medicinally or recreationally. Some parents have been dropping everything to bring their children to Colorado in hopes of being able to use high CBD medicines safely and legally. Although they are still breaking Federal Law, Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that they will not be using resources to interfere with patients that are using it legally as a medicine. But he’s not a man recognized for telling the truth, and it is obvious that we cannot rely on our government to protect those of us who choose to use this plant when they are still killing and incarcerating men, women, and children to keep this plant illegal in the interest of profit.
Another option for us is to BE OUR MESSAGE.
We can choose not to keep this information to ourselves. We can choose not to feel like this issue is too taboo for general discussions. We can share this information with everyone we know, and ask them to support their fellow human beings in one of the most important issues of our time. We can fight by peacefully surrendering our wilful ignorance and decide for ourselves that this plant is going to be legal. We can donate money to families trying to relocate to legal states for their children. We can change the laws where we live by sharing information. We can make our own change instead of waiting for the times to change. We can do what’s right for our families and empower other families to do the same. We deserve to live free and happy.
About the author:
Martin Wuest is a proud parent, husband, and an activist from Detroit, Michigan. Martin advocates strongly for the legalization and decriminalization of Cannabis. He works with others to raise awareness about the benefits of Cannabis and a plant-based diet for preventing and reversing diseases and developmental disorders. Martin works from home and spends most of his free time writing and gardening.
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