Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Parents Defend 7-Year Old Mykayla Comstock’s Medical Marijuana Use

source: The Daily Beast

Little Mykayla Comstock consumes a gram of cannabis oil every day. She’s also battling leukemia—and her embattled parents tell Winston Ross it’s ‘amazing’ how much the marijuana has helped their daughter. 

Mykayla Comstock, 7, one of Oregon's youngest medical marijuana patients, shows a type of cannabis butter the family uses in cooking, November 2. (Beth Nakamura / The Oregonian / Landov)

MILWAUKIE, Ore. — Two weeks ago, Mykayla Comstock was an ordinary 7-year-old girl living through an extraordinary ordeal. She’s been battling leukemia since June, when a basketball-size tumor was discovered in her chest.

Now Mykayla is in the middle of another battle—and in the national spotlight—over whether children should be able to use marijuana to mitigate the crippling effects of chemotherapy. A newly registered member of the state’s Medical Marijuana Program, she has consumed a daily gram of cannabis oil, encapsulated in a pill, since shortly after her diagnosis. The leukemia quickly went into remission, say Mykayla’s unapologetic parents, and in the months that followed she has been able to cope with the debilitating symptoms associated with her traditional cancer treatments.

She also likes the way cannabis makes her laugh.

“It’s like everything’s funny to me,” she tells The Daily Beast.

Mykayla’s controversial but perfectly legal cannabis use rose to national attention late last month when an Oregonian reporter wrote a piece on her after discovering her Facebook page. The story quickly went viral, and Mykayla’s mother, Erin Purchase, says she’s since fielded phone calls from producers from Dr. Phil and Anderson Cooper. Local television reporters also bang incessantly on the family’s door in Gladstone, Ore., she says.

Purchase says she never sought or anticipated this kind of attention. She and her boyfriend, Brandon Krenzler, whom Mykayla calls “daddy,” always knew they would obtain a medical marijuana card if their daughter needed one, she says. When oncologists diagnosed the 7-year-old with an aggressive form of cancer known as T-cell leukemia earlier this summer, Purchase and Krenzler drove Mykayla to The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation clinic in Southeast Portland clinic and got her enrolled in the state program.

Purchase and Krenzler tell The Daily Beast they aren’t the least bit embarrassed or ashamed of their actions. They’re convinced the cannabis oil their daughter now ingests in two pills each day not only has mitigated the effects of her chemotherapy but also perhaps knocked her leukemia into remission. But they made sure those early visits to the clinic where Mykayla gets her medicine were “discreet,” through a side entrance, they say. They did not tell the girl’s biological father, who they say has been out of touch for most of the child’s life. They kept it quiet, to themselves.

Now they’re famous. And they’re being attacked, they say, by people who don’t understand the power of marijuana as medicine, who call them lousy parents, who’ve seized on the comment Jesse Comstock, the girl’s biological father, made in that first newspaper article—that he visited in August and found his daughter “stoned out of her mind.”
‘I’m not drugging my child. 
I use this for her medicine.
 It’s amazing, and I think people should know that.’

 Mykayla admires her dress while her dog, Chase, looks on November 2, 2012. The dress, made for her by a family friend, contains 1,000 folded origami paper cranes. The crane folding holds cultural significance in Japan, where the gesture of folding and offering that many cranes to someone symbolizes prayers or well wishes to the recipient. (Beth Nakamura / The Oregonian / Landov)

Comstock couldn’t be reached for comment for this story, but he’s not the only one nonplussed that each month little Mykayla consumes the distilled equivalent of a pound of marijuana, which remains classified by the federal government as a Schedule 1 narcotic, right up there with LSD and heroin. 

Purchase and Krenzler say the oncologist who was treating Mykayla “blew up on us” when she found out about the cannabis use and that the doctor-patient relationship became so strained they asked for a new provider. (Neither the girl’s new oncologist nor her previous doctor returned phone calls from The Daily Beast.) The couple—he a handyman in between “technical” jobs, she a hemp jewelry maker—also say they’ve received vile emails from people declaring them not just unfit parents but also deserving of jail time.

“I hope they never have to be who I am,” Purchase says. “I hope they never have to feel what I’m having to feel, what she’s having to feel. I’m not drugging my child. I use this for her medicine. It’s amazing, and I think people should know that.”
But the two have discovered something else about being in the national spotlight: an overwhelming show of support, from all over the country. The number of “likes” on Mykayla’s Facebook page has tripled in the past few weeks, to 5,000. 

A call for donations to help the couple replace their broken-down car hit $2,000 last week, only a few days after the “Fairy  

No comments:

Post a Comment