When 3-year-old Landon Riddle came down with a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes, his doctor thought it was probably a virus. It wasn’t. Soon his mother got some of the most shattering news a parent can hear: Landon had acute lymphocytic leukemia, or ALL. In fact, doctors only gave him an 8% chance of living through the next 24-48 hours. He quickly started chemotherapy, the standard leukemia treatment for children. But this mom’s story of her sons’s leukemia treated with cannabis brings that standard into question.
Chemotherapy was devastating to Landon
ALL is normally one of the most treatable types of cancer, but for Landon the side effects of treatment were devastating. He couldn’t eat. He couldn’t sleep. He could barely walk or talk. The nausea and vomiting were so severe that both his family and his doctor feared for his life. Sierra was desperate for anything that would save her son’s life.
Family moves to Colorado to pursue cannabis, a natural cure
After reading about medical cannabis, she moved her family from Utah to Colorado, where cannabis is legal. Landon’s new oncologist prescribed cannabis to counteract the side effects of the chemo, and the results were miraculous. Landon could eat again. He could sleep. He gained weight, and had the energy to play like a normal toddler once more. The family finally had some hope that the little boy they loved so much would survive to become an adult.
Mother, Sara Riddle, thinks cannabis is a cure for her son’s leukemia
Cannabis and cannabis derivatives have long been used to counteract the side effects of chemotherapy, but is not currently used as a treatment for childhood leukemia. Sierra Riddle thinks it should be. She believes that the cannabis itself has helped fight the cancer, and while the American Cancer Society claims that there is no scientific evidence so support this, many researchers disagree.
A growing body of evidence suggests that cannabidiol, one of the active compounds in cannabis, does indeed kill cancer cells. In fact, British pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals is currently developing a cannabis-based drug composed of THC and cannabidiol for the treatment of one of the most aggressive types of brain cancer and expects it to be available by 2017.
In the meantime, little Landon continues to grow, play, and delight his mother and grandmother. After a legal battle over her right to choose the best treatment for her child, Sierra Riddle has prevailed; although technically still a chemotherapy patient, little Landon hasn’t had a treatment in 9 months. He has, however, continued to take his cannabis, and is still cancer-free.