ARIZONA: Zander Welton, 5, was born with cortical dysplasia, a genetic defect that disrupts cellular patterns in the brain and is often the cause of epilepsy.
Zander had his first seizure when he was 9 months old and now has them weekly. His parents, Jennifer and Jacob Welton of Mesa, Ariz., said they had tried multiple treatments, including various medications, brain surgery and even shock therapy, to help Zander.
Zander’s cortical dysplasia, combined with autism, has limited his speech to grunts or squeals, according to ABC affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix. He lets his parents know he is thirsty by bringing them an empty cup.
But Zander’s treatments have not completely stopped his seizures, according to his mother. She told KNXV-TV that while his medication helped lessen their severity, they made him more combative.
The severity of Zander’s seizures can vary greatly. Sometimes only his eyes twitch, while other times the seizures are so severe Zander’s entire body stiffens, and he stops breathing, Welton told KNXV-TV.
When Jennifer and Jacob Welton saw videos of other children who appeared to be thriving after they’d been treated with medical marijuana, they pursued a medical marijuana card for Zander, and eventually found a doctor who was willing to treat Zander’s epilepsy that way.
Once they receive their card, the Weltons said they would treat Zander with cannabidiol oil, or CBD, a chemical found in marijuana.
“I wouldn’t even be thinking about this if it didn’t do something beneficial for him,” Jennifer Welton told KNXV-TV. “I don’t want him stoned. I just want him better.”
But the effectiveness of treating epilepsy with CBD has not been studied in humans, only in epileptic animals.