We recently received the greatest news………. after a long time learning everything we could about medical cannabis (or medical marijuana as it is also referred to), Natan Shai whose medical diagnosis is Hydranencephaly and Cerebral Palsy among other things, has been accepted to enter a seven-month research program which aims to show the benefits of medical cannabis in patients with severe spasticity.
Recently in many American states and different countries, cannabis has become legal for medicinal purposes, which in my opinion is amazing and definitely a big step forward in the right direction.
Finally, the stigma of the street drug is being replaced by educated research as to how this amazing plant can improve the quality of life by helping with pain management for example, or it can even go as far as saving lives with its therapeutical benefits.
Where we live in Israel it is legal for medical purposes but still quite difficult to obtain a license easily. We had heard about children like Natan Shai being helped by cannabis for epilepsy, but luckily and with thanks to God, since he had his gastro operation he hasn’t suffered from epileptic attacks at all.
So when we heard that there is a neurologist in Holon (about a 2 and half hour drive from Tzfat where we live) who is researching the effects of medical cannabis on patients with severe spasticity we quickly jumped on the band wagon.
Luckily for us, after a few questions over the phone and faxing Natan Shai’s complicated medical profile to the renowned neurologist, Dr Lubov Blumkin, who is directing this research, we heard back that we were invited to an introductory meeting in order to hopefully enter the research program. So last week we took Natan Shai and drove the 2 and half hour or so drive to Holon in the centre of Israel for our first meeting.
The research will involve a seven-month trial period, involving a once-a-month meeting with Dr Blumkin the Neurologist and Stephanie Libson the Physiotherapist, whereby they will check how the medical cannabis is helping Natan Shai and in which particular areas.
After the seven month period, if the treatments are successful God willing, Natan Shai will obtain a permanent license from the Health Ministry to use medical cannabis on a regular basis and hopefully, we will also be able to cut back on his many conventional medicines which he takes daily to help him relax and sleep as well as control his epilepsy. I am literally so excited about this opportunity that I had to share it with you!
Here on this blog, I would like to document Natan Shai’s progress in as much detail as possible so as to be able to help other parents with children like Natan Shai who are contemplating going down this non-conventional path. So stay tuned for monthly updates 🙂
1st Meeting (25th July 2017)
So, we set off at around 8.30am in order to reach our appointment in Wolfson Hospital by 11.30am. My good friend Chaya Ben Baruch and my daughter Efrat came with me.
Natan Shai was quite chuffed to have the day off of school and as he likes travelling the trip was pretty easy. He had his breakfast via gastro on the way and everything went as planned.
Besides Natan Shai’s medical file, I also brought along as requested by Dr Blumkin, a recent blood test, EEG results, and AKG results of recent tests that were conducted specifically for the purpose of this research.
Parking at the hospital was a little difficult, to say the least, especially as they appeared to be doing road works in the parking lot which didn’t help. In the end, I parked ‘the Israeli way’ – not paying any attention to the forbidden signs lol.
We found Dr Blumkin on the second floor and arrived just on time. We were immediately admitted and the introductory process began. Dr Luba Blumkin is a very nice and particularly humble neurologic doctor whose quiet presence and soft speech made us all feel very comfortable.
Also in the room was the physiotherapist and a representative from ‘Tikun Olam’ which is the first, largest and foremost supplier of medical Cannabis in Israel, and one of leading medical cannabis companies in the world.
This introductory meeting took about an hour and a half and I needed to fill in a long questionnaire relating to Natan Shai’s medical situation. Whilst I filled this out and answered questions, Natan Shai was being checked out physically by the physiotherapist.
We were given a full explanation of how the medical cannabis will be administered and what the breakdown of CBD and THC will be. There are two types used for this research, both in oil form and both from Tikkun Olam.
- Avidekel Oil: Breakdown 1:6 (6 times more CBD than THC)
- Avidekel Oil: Breakdown 1:20 (20 times more CBD than THC)
It is not yet clear which type Natan Shai will get because only on the next meeting which is in another 2 months will he be given his first bottle of oil. After that, we will be going back every month to check his progress. So stay tuned because I will be documenting this exciting whole journey!
Don’t forget to follow Natan Shai on Facebook!
With Much Love,
Hannah (Natan Shai’s Mum)
P.S. For those of you in the U.S.A. there is an American branch of Tikun Olam who should be able to help you find out about researches going on in your area.