Families with Sick Kids Moving to Colorado for Medical Marijuana

Two-year-old Grace Burriesci's family was desperate, and knew they had to do something drastic to save their little girl. Diagnosed with Dravel Syndrome, the toddler was suffering through as many as 400 seizures daily, and her parents feared that if these seizures weren't controlled, Grace would die from her condition, according to a report on The Today Show this morning. FDA-approved drugs weren't offering any relief.

After intensive research, the Burriesci family learned about a strain of marijuana called Charlotte's Web that had been helping other kids with intractable seizures, so they made a bold decision — to pack up and move from New York to Colorado, where medical marijuana is legal.

The Charlotte's Web marijuana is selectively bred to have low levels of cannabinoid — the psychoactive ingredient — so that kids taking this form don't get high. But this strain of marijuana does help reduce pain, nausea, and seizures, by hijacking normal brain circuitry and quieting excess activity in the immune system, gut, and nervous system.

In Grace's case, the marijuana hasn't completely banished the seizures, but it has dramatically reduced them from 400 per day to about 20. Results like that have brought more than 200 families to Colorado in recent months. And while there is little scientific research to back up results on this strain of medical marijuana, there are plenty of anecdotal stories.

The Burriesci's new neighbors, the Botker's, also made the move to help a child with uncontrollable seizures. Their seven-year old daughter Greta had tried a menu of medications and even surgery to quiet her seizures, but to no avail. With the move, Greta got access to Charlotte's Web. Her parents say that Greta's seizures have dropped from 15 per day to three. For the Botkers, those results make it worthwhile to split their time between their new home in Colorado and the family farm in Minnesota.