Shortly after MyKayla Comstock, 7, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia, her father Brandon Krenzler began administering marijuana to her.
The family live in Oregon, where medical marijuana is legal, however the use of it by children remains controversial.
“She was very sick, she was in a lot of pain … she was basically experiencing everything you wouldn’t want your daughter to experience,” Mr Krenzler told the Huffington Post.
Doctors initially suspected lactose intolerance before discovering a mass in her chest and making the cancer diagnosis. Her parents sought approval from her oncologist for cannabis use ten days after her diagnosis.
“The doctor’s response was not very good at all,” Mr Krenzler says. “She called us, basically, criminals.”
The family sought a new oncologist. Mostly, however, he says the medical professionals the family deals with will not be drawn on the subject, some asking that he “refrain from discussing their opinions with the media or anyone else at all.”
Writing on his CannaDad blog, Mr Krenzler describes some of MyKayla’s symptoms in the weeks leading up to her diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: fevers and spotty rashes, constantly coughing, severe stomach pain, a lack of appetite and night sweats.
She receives “about a gram of cannabis oil two to three times daily” as well as the raw juice of marijuana for “non-psychoactive effects,” says Mr Krenzler.
The result, he says, is a restoration of Mykayla’s appetite, as well as managing to bypass effects of the cancer treatments, including nausea and neuropathy. Without marijuana, Mr Krenzler believes MyKayla “would be sick every single day””, as well as in pain requiring narcotic pain medicines, such as Vicodin or OxyContin.
In spite of the legal sanctions on the use of marijuana medically, Mr Krenzler and MyKayla’s mother, Erin Purchase, nevertheless had anxieties as they began the cannabis treatment that the state might remove their daughter from them.
“No Human should ever have to fear persecution from their government for their choice in Medicine,” he says on his Facebook page.
Mr Krenzler writes that Mykayla’s cancer is in complete remission, but that she is still required to undergo standard chemotherapy regimens for another two years. Her official medical prognosis is a 76.9 per cent 5-year survival rate.