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Raising River

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River “Ducky” Barclay’s father, John Barclay, remembers the exact date that his daughter was diagnosed with Batten disease—Nov. 16, 2017. And he remembers when she first had a seizure, on St. Patrick’s Day, after eating junk food for dinner and complaining of a headache. It’s not surprising that he remembers these dates, considering that River’s diagnosis of Batten disease changed the course of his life.

At first, River was just complaining of headaches and having vision issues. Her eyes were crossing, and John initially thought his daughter simply needed glasses. Soon, she began having seizures, and John was faced with finding a way to treat his daughter.

River began experiencing frequent seizures that required a lot of medication. She was having small seizures, drop seizures and at times, John observed her having about 300 seizures a day. There were times when she seemed to stop and would almost catch herself seizing, and other times when she would jump or launch herself into the air and would need to be caught and protected from hurting herself. All of this meant she had to be heavily medicated.

“There was definitely this sense of taking her spirit,” John explained about the effects of the medications. “The two medicines she was on also took her speech; she stopped swallowing; she stopped doing everything. She was holding her saliva, and I couldn’t get her to go to school or to do anything; she was on the couch all the time. It was just horrific.”

“She started doing so much better, and we thought this is literally liquid gold.”

 

Finally, River was taken off the medication and given cannabidiol (CBD). Her family learned about CBD from a doctor who discreetly passed on the knowledge that it was something they could try. And now, despite suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder that is destroying irreplaceable brain cells, she is experiencing fewer seizures. As residents of Washington State, it was easier for Barclay to get his hands on medical cannabis than it would have been in other states.

“Michelle, my ex, was an asset manager and worked with a medical marijuana dispensary,” he explained. “They had this CBD tincture, and I thought, ‘It can’t hurt.’ There were supposed to be two milligrams [of CBD] for every 10 drops, which of course is still inaccurate, but she tried it, and we started to see results.”

Soon, they began getting more tinctures and trying higher amounts of CBD with River. Although it did not restore their daughter’s health to her previous state before her brain cells were damaged, she could now do things without having to be held or restrained for fear of constant seizing.

“She started doing so much better, and we thought this is literally liquid gold,” he explained. “But we still had to keep upping her dose because her condition is so bad. Right now, we’re on about 260 milligrams per day, and she just goes through so much CBD.”

“It was getting so expensive, but it didn’t matter that we were spending $1,000 a month on CBD, because it was helping,” John added. “But then I realized I could grow it too, so I started doing that.”

Batten disease is a specifically tragic condition, one that easily makes parents feel hopeless and lost. But John has a message for parents of children with this disease, or other parents with children who are suffering who want to try CBD, “Don’t give up.”

“If there aren’t any results, don’t give up; try another kind of CBD,” he said. “It’s like a headache. You know, if you take a Tylenol for the wrong kind of headache, or aspirin for the wrong kind of pain, you switch and take another medication. It’s the same thing with CBD, for cannabis. Give it a shot; test it a little bit; record the results. Then you can keep track of what actually worked. We started small at first, but when we gave her more, we saw better results. If I didn’t see anything after so much time, I gave up and went on to the next thing. And share the knowledge, because what didn’t work for you could work for someone else.”

River is getting help and relief from CBD, and for John and the other people who love her, that makes all the difference.

 

 

 

 

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Strain of the Week: Cheesecake

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Thanksgiving is upon us once again. Whether you’re getting together with family (despite differing opinions about the election or concern about COVID-19 gatherings) or staying home, there are always two types of people. Those who like pie as a traditional dessert during the holidays, and those who prefer cheesecake. Both fruit pies and cheesecakes have many varieties in flavor, and often enough it really comes down to whether or not you like fruit or cheese—and the obvious answer is cheese, of course. This week we’re looking at a strain called Cheesecake.

Unless you’re looking at a key lime-flavored cheesecake, you’d be hard-pressed to find any cheesecake that is relatively green in color. Usually, cheesecakes feature a cream color, maybe some black (a la chocolate cookies) or red (via fresh raspberry) instead. The strain we’re reviewing this week though is encased in a beautifully vibrant green hue that is truly a beauty to behold. Once you begin to break it up though, and you’ll find that its scent is the reason behind its curious name. Aroma of fruity, sweet cheese reminds you of a fresh, blueberry cheesecake.

Cheesecake is caked with shiny trichomes, exuding a visual potency making you want to get home as quickly as possible to savor its flavor and strength. As a strong indica-dominant strain, it’s the perfect way to end the day, just like a slice of cheesecake is the perfect way to end a Thanksgiving meal.

For those who relish a good “dessert” strain, this one will provide a light, giggly mindset with a comfortable body effect. Reviewers report that many people will find a time-space distortion that persists way longer that one might expect. Never fear—this strain will help to temporarily dispel the fears of the present (and the future).

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Legal Cannabis in Texas Could Create $500 Million a Year in Tax Revenue

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A new economic analysis shows that legalizing cannabis in Texas would generate up to a half a billion dollars annually in tax revenue as well as create tens of thousands of jobs in the state.

Vicente Sederberg LLP, a national firm that specializes in cannabis law and policy, found that if given the estimated adult-use cannabis market, Texas would reach $2.7 billion annually in cannabis sales. Legalizing cannabis in the state would also raise an additional $10 million in business licensing fees, which would help offset the cost of starting a cannabis regulatory program. The report adds Texas would save an estimated $311 million a year in criminal justice resources if cannabis were legalized in the state.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue and tens of thousands of new jobs would be especially helpful in overcoming the losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Shawn Hauser, a partner at Vicente Sederberg, in a news release. “Texas is leaving an enormous amount of money on the table by keeping cannabis illegal.”

The report found between 20,000 and 40,000 jobs would be created directly in the industry, along with tens of thousands of ancillary jobs such as construction work, HVAC installers and manufacturers and electric and water service providers. Legal cannabis would also bring in a lot more tourists, enough that Colorado Governor Jared Polis jokingly told Texas to not legalize cannabis so his state keeps reaping the benefits of cannabis tourism.

The University of Connecticut also released a study that projected how much money legal recreational cannabis could bring to Connecticut. The study, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, found the state could bring in up to $100 million in tax revenue in just four years.

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Seth Rogen Recommends Cannabis and Movies to Suppress COVID-19

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Actor Seth Rogen sent out a tweet this weekend providing a brief but thoughtful cannabis-inspired message to fans.

On August 15, the actor aimed to motivate his followers to remain at home to stop the spread of COVID-19, and smoke cannabis while doing so. “People of British Columbia! Please do not go out to parties and BBQs and other large gatherings! The COVID is still out there! It’s more fun to hang out alone and smoke weed and watch movies and TV shows anyway! Do that instead! Thank you! the actor wrote.

His message specifically targeted the Canadian province of British Columbia, given his Canadian heritage. Rogen, along with actor Ryan Reynolds, were both asked by the Premier of British Columbia, John Joseph Horgan, to motivate citizens to play it safe and help control the spread of the virus. After the Tweet went out, Horgan backed up Rogen’s statement with the province’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

With the help of a few famous Canadians, Horgan hopes to continue finding ways to reiterate the importance of social distancing, especially when it comes to sharing cannabis products. Dr. Henry has also driven that fact home by providing many facts on her government website. Under “Don’t pass around drinks, smokes, tokes, and vapes,” the recommendation reads: “Now is not the time for sharing anything that’s been in your mouth.”

The topic of using cannabis while being infected with COVID-19 is still controversial. Although cannabis is well-known as a useful tool to treat inflammatory symptoms, there aren’t many studies yet regarding its effectiveness against a respiratory illness. In March NORML suggested that it may not be a good idea to mix the two for the time being. “. . . because COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, some of you may wish to limit or avoid their exposure to combustive smoke—as this can put undue stress and strain on the lungs,” the organization wrote.

This is not the first time Rogen has spoken out for something he believes in. He’s been an adamant advocate of cannabis for some time, but has also stood up for other causes, such as research into Alzheimer’s disease.

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