Colorado Springs Mother Made The Controversial Decision To Treat Her Son’s Cancer With Cannabis, Instead of Chemotherapy.
Her 4-year-old son, Landon, is now in remission.
Could marijuana really help fight cancer? We talked with doctors who say a lot more research needs to be done for those claims to be validated. However, we found evidence of more parents allowing their children to use medical marijuana during chemotherapy to ease the side effects.
In Sierra Riddle’s case, she stopped her son’s chemo all together. It was a dangerous move according to doctors, but one Sierra believes saved her son’s life. Landon looks like your typical boy, riding his tricycle almost every afternoon. Unfortunately, he didn’t always have this much energy. “Landon was 2 when he was diagnosed with aggressive T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia,” Sierra said.
Sierra lived in Utah at the time and started Landon on chemotherapy. She says she watched as his condition slowly deteriorated.
“Within three months, he lost 50-percent of his body weight,” Riddle said. “He lost his ability to walk.”
Desperate for help, Sierra started searching for alternatives to chemo and found cannabis.
Not every state supports medical marijuana, so she packed her bags and moved to Colorado Springs.
In May 2013, Sierra made the drastic decision to stop chemotherapy, believing it was doing more harm than good. Doctors disagreed and called the Department of Human Services, fearing Sierra was putting her son’s life in danger.
“I moved here so we could have safe and legal access to marijuana,” Riddle said. “I told doctors I didn’t want to do chemo anymore and they said I didn’t have a choice.”
Within 24 hours, child protective services came knocking on Sierra’s door.
“They (case workers) expected to walk-in and see ‘cancer’ Landon,” Riddle said. “Instead, they saw this Landon running around and eating. He didn’t even complete 40-percent of their treatment plan and he’s 24 months in remission almost and he continues to improve.”
Doctor Amy Brooks-Kayal is the Chief of Neurology at Children’s Hospital in Aurora. She’s familiar with medical marijuana treatments, primarily with children with epileptic seizures.
“The use of it (marijuana) with children is relatively newer,” Brooks-Kayal said. “It’s really been in the last year that we’ve seen an increasing number of children that are being given medical marijuana products.”
Doctors at Children’s Hospital are not allowed to prescribe pot to patients because there’s too many unknowns at this point in time.
“There is a significantly increased risk in children and that’s because we know children’s brains respond differently to medications,” Brooks-Kayal said. “We don’t have a lot of scientific evidence in support of the use of medical marijuana products.”
Sierra says it’s time for change.
“There’s 46 children a day diagnosed with cancer,” she said. “If we don’t allow research on this, our children are going to continue dying.”
Sierra now makes cannabis oil at home and has a small marijuana garden out back.
Only time will tell whether there’s a proven cure in the plant, or whether Landon’s impressive turnaround is an isolated case. Sierra says she has no plans to stop giving Landon cannabis, fearing his cancer could relapse. In addition to marijuana oil capsules, Sierra lets Landon use a vapor pen.
News 5 also learned more than 200 children under the age of 10 now have medical marijuana cards to treat cancer and epileptic seizures. Doctors say it could be another decade or longer before learning what effects medical marijuana could have on a child’s brain.