CEREBRAL PALSY AND CANNABIS
Author of “Cannabis is The Human Companion Plant”
We share one South African mom’s experience in growing medicinal CBD for her disabled daughter. Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common childhood motor-disability condition in the world. There is a long history of using Cannabis for seizures and spasticity going back hundreds of years. This paper aims to highlight the healing relationship between Cannabis and Cerebral palsy (CP) in young children and adolescents.
Most children with CP have spasticity, stiff muscles and awkward movements but over half can walk independently. CP affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture as well as controlling their movements. There are varying degrees of the condition ranging from autism to quadriplegia. Every single case is unique and often there are co-occurring conditions for example epilepsy and autism. 
What is the cause of Cerebral palsy (CP)?
Most CP cases are related to brain damage caused as a result of pregnancy or birth complications. Low birth weight, premature delivery, multiple births, artificial fertilization and pregnancy related infections can increase the risk of congenital CP. Sometimes severe newborn-jaundice goes untreated and this can also result in CP. Some children are only diagnosed after birth and problems like meningitis and head injuries are common. In general the specific cause in most children is almost always unknown.
What about brain damage?
More than half of children born with Cerebral palsy also have cognitive impairment and their intellectual ability is affected. However, many CP children can still lead happy and meaningful lives. CP is essentially caused by brain damage and some children may experience difficultly in processing information. Some children may even experience blindness or deafness depending on the severity.
In South Africa we have an unusually high rate of Cerebral palsy compared with the world
In the 1980’s I started working with Cerebral palsy patients in the townships of Cape Town like Khayelitsha and Gugulethu. It struck me then as alarming that there were so many babies diagnosed with this condition. My question as a teenager in the field “Is it possible that medical malpractice is responsible for our shocking statistics?” We have as many as 10 cases per 1000 births compared to the world average of 2.1 per 1000 births.
According to South African personal-injury law specialists DSC Attorneys medical malpractice definitely features as a key issue. In 2018 in Gauteng there were 1148 serious events leading to infant brain damage where newborns were deprived of oxygen. More than 43% of all claims against SA state hospitals are birth-related injuries especially Cerebral palsy. In 2016 R769 million was paid out for Cerebral palsy claims involving medical negligence. Most of these claims were lodged against the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. 
Strong evidence suggests that Cannabis is highly useful for children suffering with Cerebral palsy
June is national Youth Month in South Africa and sick children are very close to our hearts. We share the story of Cape Town mom Marlese Meskin and her now 18 year old and legal daughter Leah.
Marlese Meskin aka “Daggakat” is passionate about Cannabis medicine and horse-therapy for her daughter Leah
“When you’re a special needs mom, you search for treatments from the moment your child is diagnosed.”
Leah Meskin was diagnosed with Cerebral palsy (CP), Microcephaly and Dystonia just 3 days after she was born. Her mum chose to avoid chronic medication and to focus on physical therapies like horse-riding. This type of therapy also contributes to social interactions for other special needs moms and the spirit of sharing experiences.
Marlese still has her June 2015 copy of National Geographic Magazine with a giant dagga leaf on the cover.
“The image of the little girl getting CBD oil with a dropper, resonated with me immediately. A girl who looks just like Leah and the information on CBD blew my mind! I simply had to get hold of this kind of Cannabis oil that didn’t have the ‘high’.”
“I have always been interested in what natural medicines have to offer.”
Marlese embarked on a mission to find CBD oil for Leah to help treat her symptoms. South Africa’s own ‘Daggakat’ had clearly done her research into Cannabis medicine and especially CBD. Her idea was to use CBD to enhance the therapeutic effects of THC while reducing possible side-effects of the high. Leah’s mom soon realized that “free from the garden medicine” far outweighed the high costs of trying CBD oil.
“I tried to get more CBD by making root infusions, unheated tinctures, consuming raw plant and making teas. But still I got “high” and realized that I needed “Hemp”. At this stage high CBD strains wasn’t a thing yet here, but in America it was rising in popularity. The story about Charlotte’s Web on CNN amplified my need to start treating Leah with CBD. I started to look into Hemp CBD strains with low THC levels.”
“I saw resemblances of Leah in Charlotte Figi, although she had a different diagnosis, she was still a special-needs child.”
“It made me anxious because people with CP were listed as high-risk for Covid-19 complications. I must iterate it was quite emotional for me during 2020 lockdown when she passed away during the Covid-19 epidemic.” 
Marlese became obsessed with obtaining feminized CBD seeds to grow this medicine for her daughter. She invested in her personal CBD research where she tested the products for Leah convinced that it would help her spasms. She also hoped that Cannabis would help the early onset of arthritis that is common in Cerebral palsy teenagers.
“I chatted with friends about growing CBD for Leah’s medicine. They offered to grow the lowest THC strain in the world as they were unfamiliar with CBD. They harvested the hemp flowers and tested it by smoking to see if they “get high”. I received the hemp buds in time for Leah’s 18th birthday. To witness CBD improve her mood, relax her spastic limbs and help her sleep through the night was just beautiful.”
Leah’s mom says that whole-plant extract had a visible effect on muscle spasms that the CBD isolate hadn’t done. The effects being noticeable within 30 minutes of consuming full-spectrum CBD.  Marlese confides in us that Cannabis has lived up to its promises in the short time she has tried it. “The oil relaxes her stiff body, unclenches her hands and calms her mind.”
Special-needs families and their care-givers face tremendous levels of frustration and uncertainty and desperately need support. There is no cure for Cerebral palsy, however, this doesn’t mean that children cannot have a healthy and productive life.  Bottom of Form
We believe that Cannabis can improve daily functioning of Cerebral palsy patients and this leads to improved quality of life. 
Anyone suffering with Cerebral palsy and their families deserve the very best treatment available. Cannabis is showing the world that it’s an effective way to treat many of the severe symptoms associated with CP. High CBD strains can help to treat musculoskeletal problems, spasticity, spasms and seizures. Cannabis also helps with sleep and appetite problems as well as depression and anxiety.
Dagga is a safe natural alternative for Cerebral palsy, offering many of the benefits without any nasty side-effects
Today specific strains of Cannabis are cultivated to target specific symptoms. You may be wondering which strain will benefit your child’s specific condition. Some favorite feminized Haze strains are Lemonz CBD, Blueberry Haze, Hawaiian Haze CBD, and feminized Amnesia CBD. Another strain that holds great promise for me is the pure Afghan Black Domina due to its high CBD levels. Many growers are now focusing on strains that favor a particular cannabinoid for example CBD. This allows parents to easily find products that target their child’s specific condition. [7, 8]
“People must start consuming more of the whole plant opposed to just the CBD isolate extracts to maximize the benefits of the CBD plant medicine.”
You can follow Marlese and Leah’s story on Facebook @CBDforLeah
CITATIONS FOR CANNABIS AND CEREBRAL PALSY (CP)
 (Newman T) “What’s to know about Cerebral palsy?” Health News – Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/152712
 (DSC Attorneys South Africa, 20 July 2020) “Cerebral Palsy in Babies: a Medical Malpractice Crisis in South Africa.” https://www.dsclaw.co.za/medical-malpractice-resources/cerebral-palsy-babies/
 (Dr L Blumkin 12 June 2015) “The Effects of Cannabis on Dystonia and Spasticity on Pediatric Patients.” NIH U.S National Library of Medicine Wolfson Medical Centre Clinical Trial NTC 02470325 Dr L Blumkin Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
 (Professor Bernard Dan, Brussels University Belgium 19 March 2021) “New Ethical Issues in Cerebral Palsy.” Journal Frontiers in Neurology (Pediatric Neurology) https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.650653
 (Olawale OA et al June 2013) “Psychological impact of cerebral palsy on families: The African perspective”. Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice Volume 4 Issue 2 pages 159-163. PMCID: PMC3724294 PMID: 23914092 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3724294/
 (Natalie Saunders, reviewed Dr Mike Bohl, 4 June 2021) “CBD Oil for Cerebral palsy: All You Need to Know” https://naturalwellnesscbdoil.com/blog/cbd-for-cerebral-palsy/
 (Dr Allan Frankel) “Cannabidiol (CBD) and Cerebral palsy.” https://www.greenbridgemed.com/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-and-cerebral-palsy