Parents will do anything for their sick child to get better, even if it means searching for
unconventional forms of treatment outside of mainstream health care programs. The medical
marijuana industry is facilitating this trend, for parents who are on the hunt for a specific type
of cannabinoid: cannabidiol (CBD) in the form of oils and extracts.
The non-psychoactive compound of marijuana provides a plethora of benefits for patients
diagnosed with epilepsy, tumors, autism and Crohn’s disease. Since CBD-potent products can’t
get you high, kids can safely partake in the medicine without fear of debilitating side effects.
For adults, CBD has recently been found effective in reducing cigarrete cravings and skin
CannaKids, a California-based organization that specializes in educating and connecting parents
with medicinal marijuana treatments, is currently pioneering the green movement that has
received plenty of attention from global media outlets, including CNN, BBC and Vice. The
cooperative’s objectives involve providing parents with alternatives to traditional treatments
offered by doctors, such as chemotherapy or prescription drugs (in most cases, CBD is used in
tandem with other medical procedures). They also serve as a voice for parents who are bullied
by groups against cannabis.
The organization offers their own CBD extract line, also known as Honey Gold Cannabis Oil.
With all of their products carefully lab tested (by Steep Hill Labs and SC Labs) and handled by
PhD scientists, parents can be sure that their kids only ingest the best and safest forms of the
organic medicine. During production, specialists test for pesticides and dangerous micro-
biologicals. This is a salient step in the process, due to recent issues with contaminated CBD
products from other manufacturers containing molds and unlisted, foreign ingredients.
Tracy Ryan, CEO and lead consultant of CannaKids, started the cooperative after dealing with
her own personal encounter with CBD. Her daughter, Sophie Ryan, was diagnosed with Optic
Pathway Glioma, a rare brain tumor that affects children with neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1). Over
75 percent of patients are younger than 10; and if left untreated, the complex disease can lead
to blindness. Doctors recommended chemotherapy for Sophie, which she endured for two
years, while taking CBD extracts.
“Historically with chemotherapy, you would have six months of shrinkage and then the glioma
never shrinks again,” said Ryan. “Sophie’s now had 22 of 23 months where we’ve seen
shrinkage. Every time [with chemo combined with cannabis oil], we kill the glioma over and
over and over again. Normally, these patients have these masses their entire lives.”
Ryan faced numerous challenges in acquiring cannabis oil from reliable sources. She initially
relied on Dr. Jeffrey Raber from Pasadena for a constant supply of CBD, until the lab was shut
down by local law enforcement groups. The incident was a wake-up call for Ryan, which led to
the inception of CannaKids in March 2015.