Fleeing from the heavily conservative state of Texas to the marijuana capital of America, Colorado, is the best decision the family of a five-year-old girl who suffers from severe, multiple daily seizures could have made. Hannah Loew would be considered a felon in her home state of Texas, but in Colorado she is able to access the medication she needs to deal with Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy that used to be almost crippling for her.
In 2014, Hannah and her parents left everything behind in their home state and rented a home in Colorado Springs so that their daughter could have a better quality of life at about the same time Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill allowing limited use of marijuana for severe forms of epilepsy like Hannah’s. Texas law allows oils that are high in cannabidiol and low in tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of marijuana. According to Amber Loew, Hanna’s mother, only oil containing levels of THC higher than a 20-1 ratio allowed under Texas law have been effective for her daughter.
The Loews prefer a 14:1 dose — something that violates Texas law, but is entirely legal (even recreationally) in Colorado. Amber says that she and her family are not alone as cannabis refugees from Texas. “I know of at least 15 other families here, all from Texas, that they’re here for the same reason we are. This little bottle of THC is all that keeps us from Texas,” she told KHOU.
Since they have moved, Hannah’s condition has improved. Hannah now attends a full-day kindergarten at a public school with the help of a Medicaid-paid nurse who stays by her side in case there are problems. Amber Loew says that the change in her daughter is absolutely remarkable:
“I would say she’s had about an 85 percent reduction in her seizures since we moved here. She has been doing phenomenal, especially the last year.”
“She can be a child. She’s able to be a kid,” Paul Loew said. “She will be able to be with us and not so doped up on (pharmaceutical) meds that she’s glass-eyed zombie.”
KHOU witnessed the remarkable impact of the oil as they spent time with Hannah and her family:
After school, while at a playground next door to their home, she began to convulse and collapsed into her father’s arms. Hannah’s parents and her nurse rushed her into their living room where they calmly went through a medical routine they’ve done now hundreds of times: A heart monitor attached to her finger, a suction machine to make sure her airway remained clear, and an oxygen mask to help her breath.
Then Amber Loew took a small additional dose of THC in a syringe and rubbed it inside Hannah’s mouth. Her seizure began to fade.
Hannah’s seizures while here in Texas, sometimes lasting more than an hour, used to require an ambulance ride to the hospital and heavy medications to induce a coma and end her convulsions. In Colorado, the Loews say Hannah hasn’t been to the hospital in more than a year, and the seizure we witnessed lasted just four minutes, ending shortly after the additional dose of THC.
“Come to my home, and you be responsible for her for 24 hours, and you see her go what she goes through. And then tell me that you won’t legalize this,” Amber Loew said pointedly. “You’re going to say that she can’t be with family and she can’t go back to her home state all because of a bottle of oil. And it’s sad.”
“And we left, on a leap of faith,” added Paul Loew “We can give her a better quality of life [in Colorado]. Why wouldn’t you just for the sake of a child?”
“We consider ourselves medical refugees. This is a basic need for her. And we are a refugee in our own country,” Amber said.
Last year, another family made the difficult decision to move to Colorado (from Illinois) to help their son, 15-year-old Coltyn Turner, find some relief for his Crohn’s Disease. The (legal) medication he was taking was not working and, out of other options, the Turners also became “medical refugees.” Thanks to cannabis oil, the teen went from being wheelchair-bound to climbing mountains. Unfortunately, like the Loews, the Turners can’t go home.
“He’s a prisoner in the state of Colorado because of medication,” his mother explained. “Coltyn can’t go, he can’t go back home, he can’t go see his friends, he can’t go see his family, he is stuck in the state of Colorado… He can’t live a normal life in the place where he grew up and the place where he has six generations of family. It’s just tough.” Coltyn says that despite his invisible prison cell, he is much happier.
“It’s great because I can finally do stuff that I wasn’t able to a long time ago, like I can finally ride my bike after three or four years, shovel snow, hike mountains and it’s just amazing,” Coltyn said. “It’s had a larger positive effect on me than any other pharmaceuticals have, and the pharmaceuticals, all they did was make it worse.”
Unfortunately, not everyone can move to Colorado — but there are countless Americans that could benefit if this powerful medicine was available to everyone.
Watch a report on the amazing benefits cannabis oil has had on Hannah Loew, below:
Featured Image via Screengrab