For refusing chemotherapy treatments for her 3-year-old son Landon, opting instead to treat his cancer with medical marijuana, a Colorado mother says her doctor is now threatening to have her arrested and for Child Protective Services (CPS) to take her son away.
Sierra Riddle’s son Landon was diagnosed with leukemia when he was two, and Riddle says he was given just days to live. “They told us he’s on the brink of death,” Riddle said. “They told us that he wasn’t going to make it. He had only an 8 percent chance to live 24 to 48 hours.”
So when doctors prescribed a treatment plan which included chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Riddle agreed to the treatments.
While the treatments did help reduce the size of Landon’s tumors, Riddle says the chemotherapy made her son very sick and he also began to suffer from night terrors. Riddle said the chemo damaged the nerves in Landon’s legs and he once went 25 days without eating.
“Around the clock he’s usually on liquid morphine, Atavan, Permethisine … and it just didn’t seem to be helping,” she said. Riddle decided to stop the chemotherapy treatments and began to give Landon cannabis oil capsules this past January.
Unlike the type of marijuana that some use to get high, Landon’s medication contains such a low amount of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, that it’s nearly impossible for him to get high.
“As soon as we started doing oil, his platelets have been above normal for a cancer patient,” she said. “They have been a regular, healthy person’s level, and they can’t understand why.”
In mid-May Riddle decided to end chemotherapy treatments for Landon. When she informed Landon’s doctors of her decision to not keep Landon on steroids and chemotherapy treatments for the next three years, she says the doctors made her feel like she was sentencing her son to death.
Riddle says Landon continues to regularly have lab work done, and added, “He is responding amazingly to the cannabis, his blood work is immaculate, especially for a cancer patient! How can they not see the proof that is right before their eyes?! Cannabis is fighting his cancer!”
Landon isn’t the only leukemia patient to benefit from the use of marijuana. Seven-year-old Oregon resident Mykayla Comstock has also used cannabis oil to help her cope with the negative effects of chemotherapy. Her mother, Erin Purchase, says she believes the cannabis is responsible for Mykayla going into remission.
Despite Landon’s arguably successful progress and apparent remission, a doctor has threatened to turn Riddle over to state law enforcement for refusing to treat her son’s cancer, since doctors don’t view cannabis as a reputable treatment.
In response, Riddle says she is “willing to do whatever I have to do to make sure my child gets to live another day and gets to have that relief and have that quality of life he deserves.
“Cannabis, just like morphine, is a medication,” Riddle said. “It’s not just a drug, it’s a medication, and it’s a medication that helps my son to fight his cancer.”
The Colorado doctor involved has not released any statements and has not commented about the case to any media.
Refusing to treat cancer — especially a child’s cancer — with chemotherapy has prompted some doctors to file lawsuits against parents, since pediatricians have the ability to imprison parents for ignoring their medical advice.
“If you say ‘no’ to an oncologist — who is very much like a car salesman in the sense that he has a financial stake in your decision — you are costing him a loss in profits. He doesn’t like that. His BMW needs an upgrade, you see, and he’s hoping to fly to Hawaii to catch another golf game next week, and to do that, he needs another $20,000 in health insurance reimbursements from your policy. So if you say no, he might just be so angry that he calls the police on you. ‘You dare to say NO to ME? You’ll see who has the power NOW!’
You can almost hear the ‘Muah ha ha ha!’ following the whole scene.”
Marijuana as a legitimate medicine
Before Riddle’s story received national attention, a petition had been started on Change.org, urging the Governor of Colorado, the Colorado Springs police, the Department of Human Services and The Children’s Hospital, to recognize cannabis as a valid cancer treatment.
Riddle says she signed it, adding that she moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., with Landon so she could take advantage of the state’s medical marijuana laws.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000. As Mint Press News previously reported, many families with children suffering from a range of illnesses are moving “in droves” to states such as Colorado so they can apply for pediatric medical marijuana use.
Though medical marijuana is legal in 20 states, it’s illegal federal status has prompted some medical professionals and law enforcement agencies to call CPS on parents who issue the medication to their children, even if they have all of the documentation.
In California, Jason David says CPS showed up at his door after he shared how medical marijuana helped his son Jayden with his Dravet syndrome with the media. David says a local reporter alerted the authorities, but added that Jayden was never taken away from him, since David was able to prove he had all of the necessary documentation for Jayden’s controversial medicine.
Speaking to Mint Press News, David said he wondered why Child Protective Services never made a visit to his home when his son had been taken by ambulance 45 times and was taking more than 20 different pharmaceutical drugs. In other words, why was the American public convinced that marijuana was such a dangerous drug?
In those instances when a parent loses custody of their children, the children are often placed in foster care. But as previously reported, of the more than 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, it’s estimated that more than 50 percent are on some sort of psychiatric drug, calling into question the quality of care the child may receive.