Bodhi is just like any other 6-year-old. He likes riding his scooter and attends kindergarten here in Flagstaff. At 31/2 years old, Bodhi had his first seizure — it was severe and his parents, DeeAnn and Eric, rushed him to the hospital, where they were told that Bodhi had a tumor on his brain. Fortunately, he turned out to be tumor-free. However, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. Concerned for her son’s health, DeeAnn agreed to put Bodhi on a number of pharmaceuticals, but after noticing severe side-effects along with unabated seizures, she opted for a more holistic route, incorporating a number of vitamins, amino acids and a high-CBD cannabis tincture.
HMH: What first exposed you to medical cannabis?
DeeAnn: Many different neurologists didn’t know anything about nutrition or CBD. I saw Dr. Sanyjay Gupta’s documentary about Charlotte’s Web, and I knew it was something that we needed to try with Bodhi.
We initially didn’t look into if Bodhi had food allergies and we later found out that he had leaky gut; so, then, we brought in the CBD and that seemed to keep things stable. I joined a Facebook group called Pediatric Cannabis Therapies and another through a dispensary down in Phoenix. We would go to meetings once a month with other parents. Researching helped me realize there is so much information out there about it.
How have you seen cannabis improve Bodhi’s life? How has it changed your family’s dynamic?
I feel like it helped with some of the side-effects with the pharmaceutical; Bodhi wasn’t as moody. He is on 5 different vitamins, an herbal extract from the naturopath, glycine (an amino acid) and the CBD tincture. We eat healthier. I think that it has actually made our family healthier and more aware of what we’re putting into our bodies.
The gold at the end of the rainbow was really taking our health into our own hands. There are so many things you can do to prevent illness, rather than just treating it when it happens.
Bodhi is administered vitamins 3 times a day after he eats. Tinctures are 3 times a day, it used to be 4 times a day, but after a year of him having no seizures we lessened the amount. He still takes a pharmaceutical twice a day — a super low dose — and he will be off of the pharmaceutical after another year without seizures.
What do you think needs to change in the cannabis industry?
I think there’s a lot of the recreational side coming into it. Even the names seem recreational; it’s not conducive for presenting it as a medicine to the mainstream. I wish that it would go towards more medicinal sounding names and take some of the stereotype out of it. I think it would be important to make the edibles more medical.
I have seen how detrimental alcohol is in comparison; I do hope that it is eventually legal both recreational and medical.
Have you struggled with the negative image cannabis has been associated with in the past?
I feel like it’s my duty to help educate people. I’m really proud of the fact that it has worked well for Bodhi in conjunction with other supplements. Anything that we can do to help reverse the stereotype and help show people that it is a great medicine without any of the nasty side effects of a lot of pharmaceuticals. Even though my husband was initially skeptical, he has come on board and really wants to help educate people too.
I am so grateful that it is legal and available in Arizona. No one even had CBDs a few years ago and now I feel like it’s really coming around.