A mum has spoken about her son's amazing transformation after taking cannabis to alleviate life-threatening seizures - and how it led to her being investigated by child welfare services.
Speaking to Paul Murray on Radio 6PR, the mum, known as Kim, said that her two-and-a-half-year-old son, who suffers from Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome, went from being almost incapacitated to walking and talking after being administered cannabis.
“We started that in August of last year and he went from being a little boy who stumbled around everywhere and had to wear a helmet to being able to, within days, start walking very solidly and not bumping into things, to within a week running for the first time. It was just crazy.
“He went from saying just one or two words at a time to actually putting sentences together. We were standing back thinking this was unbelievable."
The Perth mum said her son's condition causes horrible seizures, but that the cannabis had helped immeasurably.
“Our little boy doesn’t just have a two-second seizure or a five-minute seizure - his seizures go for 20, 25 minutes plus, and they are full body seizures, which can be horrific.
“Some of these kids are having them 200 times a day, and that’s limiting their ability to have a great life as well."
Kim said the decision to administer illegal cannabis was not taken lightly but she could not believe the health improvements she saw.
“We’re from a very middle-class family who toe the line and follow the law, I suppose just being normal people, we were sort of 'wow, this is crazy’.
“We’re looking at this but then to see the actual difference that it made to him, I was like 'this is why we’re doing it'."
Unfortunately for Kim and her husband, the major improvement in their son's condition led to her having to reveal what had helped.
“I believe police had been informed," Kim said.
“Kids need to be looked after and you make sure the right thing is being done for any child, so I was completely open to talking to them about it.
“Like I said to them, this is something that I need medical professionals' help to navigate through, because this could be the answer for our little boy.”
She said she obtained the product through other parents and on the east coast of Australia.
“I don’t pay for this product. It’s given to me by people out there who think this could be a fantastic medicine for all types of kids with epilepsy, with seizures and things.
“It’s not a medical cannabis that gives a high – they’re actually able to get the THC to a quite low dose. I tried it before I gave it to our son and it had no effect on me other than I had a really sound sleep."
Kim said she understood the various opinions from people about administering cannabis to her child but, after enduring years of fearing for her son’s life, she said was willing to risk it.
“I can certainly understand how people can look at it and think number one, it’s an illegal substance and, number two, she’s giving it to her two-and-a-half-year-old son.
“But when you weigh it up with what the potential outcome for him could be and that one seizure could take him away from us - it could kill him or it could take his ability to walk, talk, eat, anything, away from him.
“You’ve got to weigh up the dangers of what you are actually giving him. Just the impact on our family to actually limit the seizures and to see our little boy come out, it’s just amazing. It gives us hope that he can be a productive member of society.”