THESE ARE DAYS when it's important to find some good news, to seek out stories that remind us of our fellow human's capacity for decency, compassion, and selflessness. So turn away from the darkness—just for a minute, it'll still be there if you start to miss it—and let's examine the light for a minute.
At a recent cannabis event, I spoke with Jesse Peters, CEO of Eco Firma Farms. We talked about upcoming events, projects, and the ever-changing landscape of cannabis regulations. Peters is a friend—full disclosure—and I asked him if he was aware of anything that I may have missed that would make a good column. He paused for a second.
"Well, we've been working with a woman and her daughter," Peters said to me. "I can give you her number. I think they have a pretty interesting story."
He was right.
The woman asked that I keep her identity private, so I'm going to call her M, and we'll call her 28-year-old daughter D.
D was born blind, and had a heart attack when she was 10 days old. Extensive seizures followed, and her doctor said that D had a less than 25 percent chance of survival. Miraculously, she pulled through, but D has struggled with seizures since then.
First, a definition of terms: WebMD, the favorite website of paranoid hypochondriacs everywhere, breaks seizures down like this: "The brain controls how the body moves by sending out small electrical signals through the nerves to the muscles. Seizures, or convulsions, occur when abnormal signals from the brain change the way the body functions."
Anyone who has ever seen a person have a seizure can tell you it's terrifying and leaves you feeling helpless. The actual experience of having one is infinitely worse.
Even when D's seizure meds did work, the side effects were the stuff of nightmares. "She would bang her head and tear her skin open," M told me softly. "It made her gain a terrible amount of weight."
Then three years ago, D met with Peters, along with Jason Wasserman from Udoxi Scientific. They suggested a tincture made from cannabis, low in THC and high in CBD. The doctors told D's mother that while they couldn't openly support it, she was welcome to try anything that might help.
And so she did. And the results were a welcome surprise. "I wouldn't call it a miracle, but D's quality of life is so much better. We've greatly reduced the number of traditional meds she's on, and the tincture balances the awful side effects of those meds—she feels better, her quality of life has improved, and we've seen a reduction of her seizures by 20 percent."
It's an ongoing struggle to find the right balance in the tincture formulas, which they gift to D. Too much THC can trigger seizures, so Eco Firma crafts lower THC/higher CBD tinctures, always with an eye toward refining and improving the quality of life for D.
"I'm very happy working with Jesse and Jason," says M. "Without them, I would be dependent upon a dispensary telling me what they think would work. And I would be buying what [Jesse and Jason] provide at no charge."
The crafting of these tinctures is a collaborative effort between Eco Firma and Udoxi. This partnership of mercy was formed a few years back, when Eco Firma began providing Udoxi with high CBD strains to be made into high-CBD products such as shatter, concentrates, and tinctures. Udoxi handles the processing, and there is no charge to the patients for the products made.
"We're always working to refine our products. With D, the goal has been to dial in a formula to offer her a higher degree of relief from the seizures," says Peters.
I ask him if he finds a difference between serving the medical as opposed to the adult-use market.
"Definitely. I'm super happy there is an adult-use option, and that people can participate in that to whatever degree they wish. But with medical, there is a stronger sense of purpose."