In many places it’s difficult to get medical marijuana when you’re an adult. But what if you’re not? A Colorado teenager who suffers from a rare neurological disease has two wishes: to keep attending high school, and to take the medical marijuana that controls his seizures. Unfortunately, these wishes aren’t likely to come true, not because anyone doubts that the young man’s disease (diaphragmatic and axial myoclonus) is serious or worthy of such treatment, but because Colorado has a zero-tolerance policy regarding drugs – including medical marijuana – in its public schools.
According to the Colorado Independent the teenager, a resident of Colorado Springs whose name was not published, was prescribed marijuana lozenges to control the seizures that attack him with no warning. His school district says he can go to school, but only if he doesn’t take the drug. The district says this is because it has to abide by a Colorado law forbidding possession or use of medical marijuana on school grounds, even though the medication is legal under state law.
Why does the teenager need to take cannabis to control seizures? Well, his father, Shan Moore, told the press that his son’s condition was like “hiccups on steroids.” He also said that medical marijuana lozenges help relieve the spasms, which can sometimes last as long as 24 hours.
The National Institutes of Health also use the word “hiccup” to describe myoclonus, calling it that, or a “sleep start” gone crazy. Specifically, they say, “When more widespread, myoclonus may involve persistent, shock-like contractions in a group of muscles. Myoclonic jerking may develop in people with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Myoclonic jerks commonly occur in persons with epilepsy, a disorder in which the electrical activity in the brain becomes disordered and leads to seizures.”
For the moment then, the teenager has to skip school and take the marijuana or suffer seizures. His parents, along with local medical marijuana activists, have been petitioning the state legislature for assistance, but there has been no decision yet.