Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Vermont is one of those states. But that doesn’t matter to one elementary school, where access to a child’s needed medication is being blocked by school administrators.
Aurora Husk has to leave her Bristol Elementary School twice a day and take a walk with her mom so she can receive two carefully timed doses of hemp oil. Three doses a day (one takes place at home), in conjunction with traditional pharmaceutical medications, helps keep her seizure disorder in check. Without these meds, she suffers up to 40 seizures a day. While it’s extremely fortunate that they’ve discovered the benefits of hemp oil, the legality of the substance is causing difficulties on Aurora’s school days. Bottom line? The treatment is against federal law, which means her school can’t keep it on hand to give out to her twice a day, and worse yet, nobody can administer it on school grounds — not even her mother.
Her mom, Megan Vaughan, says Aurora is starting to feel singled out from her peers, and as the walks take about 15 minutes each, they’re disrupting her school day. But the school, which receives federal funds, says that as it’s against federal law, it cannot make any exceptions. The hemp oil they use is high in cannabidiol, and some studies have shown promising results in treating not only epilepsy but other disorders, like cancer, multiple sclerosis and anxiety.
Yes, an exception should be made, for her and other children who are in need of (and benefit from) the use of medical marijuana and its components. Aurora’s story is unfortunately not uncommon, as the American Epilepsy Society shares that around one-third of patients suffer from seizures that are treatment resistant, and many move toward CBD or medical marijuana to treat their illnesses — or even save their lives. Parents whose families live in states where medical marijuana is not legal have even had to make the gut-wrenching decision to uproot their families to flee for states where quality treatment derived from cannabis is available.
Parents turning to CBD is becoming more widely accepted, as moms and dads relate incredible stories — anecdotal, of course, but incredible nonetheless. Stories about a boy with severe nonverbal autism who began speaking just two days after starting treatment with CBD hemp oil, or another girl who has suffered from debilitating seizures since she was just an infant and is now making massive progress, hitting milestones her parents never thought they’d see.
Administering medications in a school setting should not be construed as administering illegal drugs. Marijuana’s non-psychoactive component CBD is showing great promise and likely has fewer harmful side effects as other drugs that are used to treat, for example, seizure disorders. While more research needs to be done, there also needs to be sweeping policy change regarding the medicinal use of marijuana, even when it comes to its administration in public schools.
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