Ireland, WV, April 29, 2016
Seven years ago, Mike Lockard and his wife brought home their fourth child, a beautiful baby boy they called Levi. Mike and his wife quickly realized that something was wrong with their son. Levi was having extreme difficulty in nursing and began rapidly losing weight. The Lockards took Levi to WVU Medical Center, where they were told their son was going to die. They were instructed that all they could do was to take their baby home and make him as comfortable as possible. Not ready to give up, Mike and his wife took Levi to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, where doctors put Levi on a temporary feeding tube. After Levi began gaining weight, the doctors put in a permanent GI tube.
Seizure Control, But With Side Effects
Levi has cerebral palsy. He is totally deaf. Along with these challenges, Levi also has two different kinds of seizures and has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Levi’s seizures are currently fairly well controlled with medication; however, these drugs come with serious side effects. In the past, when Levi was on a common seizure medication called Keppra, Levi experienced rages as a side effect of the drug where he would bite, hit himself, or bang his head onto the floor. While Levi was taking Keppra, the Lockards spent up to 16 hours a day just trying to keep Levi from hurting himself.
It’s ridiculous. With all the drugs that people are allowed to take, it doesn’t make sense that we can’t have a plant that has grown in the ground for centuries.
The medication that Levi takes now causes tooth decay, lethargy, and behavioral problems. Levi also has frequent episodes of flushing that can cause him to feel fevered and become dehydrated. Mike and his wife have been forced to quit their jobs to provide Levi with round the clock care through the Title XIX Waiver program. This program recently experienced drastic cuts by the WV DHHR that will affect the Lockard family.
Local Doctors Are Skeptical of Cannabis Benefits
Mike has spoken to Levi’s pediatric neurologist about medical cannabis, but the doctor, like many, is skeptical. She has read the studies about cannabis oils coming from other states and believes the results can be attributed to placebo effect. She thinks that people are seeing good results because the studies are comprised of patients who “moved to Colorado to get the oil.”
I’d rather give my money to a mom-and-pop dispensary in my town where the money would help put a kid through college instead of it going to buy a new speed boat for a drug lord in a Mexican cartel.
Mike personally experiences anxiety and pain along with a wheat allergy that causes severe GI symptoms, all conditions that have been successfully treated with medical cannabis by patients in other states. Mike says, “It’s ridiculous. With all the drugs that people are allowed to take, it doesn’t make sense that we can’t have a plant that has grown in the ground for centuries.” Mike would like to be able to use cannabis for himself and for his son, but fears cannabis that comes from the black market, which can be contaminated with mold and pesticides or “cut” with other substances. Mike believes instead in the economic benefits legalizing medical cannabis could bring to West Virginia: “I’d rather give my money to a mom-and-pop dispensary in my town where the money would help put a kid through college instead of it going to buy a new speed boat for a drug lord in a Mexican cartel.”
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