Five-Year Old Approved for Medical Marijuana Treatment

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Five-year-old Zander Welton is an unlikely trailblazer, but as one of the few children to receive a medical marijuana card from the state of Arizona, he is just that. After all conventional treatments for his severe epilepsy had failed, Zander’s parents, Jacob and Jennifer Welton recently turned to Dr. Elaine Burns, Medical Director of Southwest Medical Marijuana Evaluation Center.

The compelling seriousness of Zander’s condition and the failure of conventional treatments to help him, made it important to try medical marijuana.

Five-year-old Zander Welton is an unlikely trailblazer, but as one of the few children to receive a medical marijuana card from the state of Arizona, he is just that. After all conventional treatments for his severe epilepsy had failed, Zander’s parents, Jacob and Jennifer Welton recently turned to Dr. Elaine Burns, Medical Director of Southwest Medical Marijuana Evaluation Center. They hoped medical marijuana could finally offer him some relief from the dangerous seizures that had ruled his life since infancy. After extensive review of his medical history and an in depth examination, Zander received his physician’s medical marijuana certification letter.

Since he was 9 months old, Zander has suffered from a genetic defect, cortical dysplasia, which has caused him to have the weekly seizures; some so severe he forgets to breathe. He is autistic and only able to communicate via grunts and squeals. Sometimes he is able to walk. Other times he reverts to crawling. In his short life, he has endured brain surgery, shock therapy, and an entire gamut of medications. His quality of life is minimal, to say the least. For Zander, medical marijuana was a last resort. It may not be a miracle drug, but for this child and his parents it is, because it means hope. Zander’s mother, Jennifer Welton, said, “I don’t want him stoned. I just want him better. If this finally works for Zander and I finally get to meet who he is, that would be amazing. Because I don't know who he is, he's just a little boy that's trapped in this craziness.”

Recognizing that prescribing medical cannabis for such a young child is highly controversial, Dr. Burns explained the reasoning behind the doctors’ recommendation. “The compelling seriousness of Zander’s condition and the failure of conventional treatments to help him, made it important to try medical marijuana. It is not a treatment for minor conditions. But seizures are major and there is significant anecdotal evidence of its beneficial effects on seizures, including a decrease in seizure activity. At the end of the day, parents don’t care about double blind studies. What they want is hope. I firmly believe we are giving this family hope.”

Because medical marijuana is not covered by insurance, Zander’s family is facing a $300 per week cost for his medication, a significant out-of-pocket expense for anyone. Many worthy patients are facing or will face similar financial challenges, leading Dr. Burns and other industry leaders to recognize a need for a charitable organization to fund treatment for individuals such as Zander who can most benefit from it but who can least afford it. They are currently working together to establish a national non-profit charity.

Dr. Burns, an Arizona-licensed and board-certified Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) and Certified Expert in Cannabis Medicine, is the founder and Medical Director of the Southwest Medical Marijuana Evaluation Center. She was the first physician in Arizona to pass the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine’s (AACM) physician certification test which established her as Arizona’s only certified expert in the clinical application of cannabis medicine. With interests in both anti-aging and the medical uses of cannabis, Dr. Burns is deeply committed to improving the quality of life for her patients.

In addition to a Mobile Unit that travels around the state, Southwest Medical Marijuana Evaluation Center is located in Phoenix at 12620 N. Cave Creek Road, Suite 7, in Scottsdale at 8010 E. McDowell Road, Suite 105 and in Fountain Hills at 16913 E. Enterprise Road. For further information, contact Dr. Elaine Burns at 480-656-2119, email her directly at drburns(at)EvaluationToday(dot)com or visit EvaluationToday.com.

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Elaine Burns

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