Curing the Stigma


Ryan was born December 22, 1998. There were no pregnancy complications and he was born a healthy 8 pounds, 9 ounces. He grew like any other normal baby and met all his milestones. When Ryan turned eight months old, he experienced his first seizure.

“What do we do Next?”

Three months later Ryan had another febrile seizure (a seizure associated with a high body temperature but without any serious underlying health issue). By January of 2000, he started having seizures without a fever. But the doctors found no cause. By the time he was four years old, his seizures began to get out of control. They were triggered by the glare of the sun, over excitement, overheating and simply staring out the window of a moving car.

His mental delays started to show. His ability to learn stalled, and his speech development began to slow. He was tested, scanned, and was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of Epilepsy. The drugs had little to no effect on the seizures that Ryan experienced. Kimberly, his mother, grew used to this routine and asked, “What do we do next?”

Ryan is now 16 years old and is in his second year of high school. He has the mental capacity of a three-to-four year old. Through the years, Ryan has tried 17 different drugs with side effects that cause mental disability, on top of his seizures.

In the past, he has had up to 100 seizures per month and up to 18 in one night. Nonetheless, he has stayed the happiest and most loving person. Ryan is now taking cannabis oil, which has decreased his seizures by 75% says his mother. They are also seeing signs of advancement in his learning and mental capacity.


Our Last Hope

“Cannabis oil has been our last hope. I know this is not a cure but it could help him live a better life without or limited seizures. Ryan will always need me but he doesn’t have to have seizures when there is something that could possibly save his life. The potential is endless for Ryan without the interruption of seizures. Cannabis oil could provide that opportunity for him,” says Kimberly.

Kimberly contacted Erin Reed, owner of Jack’s Extracts, hoping for help in her battle towards normalcy with Ryan after her doctors ran out of options.

What do you do when you take your kid to the doctors and they don’t know what to do? As a mother, that is what frightens Reed.

“The crazy thing is it made me learn. I didn’t know that most of the side effects in those kids are caused by the drugs they are given [and] not because they’re having seizures. I had no idea, and cannabis can cure it,” says Reed.

A friend of the Reed’s was diagnosed for the second time with ovarian cancer and they asked her for help as well. “She doesn’t have cancer anymore (second battle with cancer). She definitely changed her diet but she only used chemotherapy. It went from her cervix to her liver, and the spot on her liver disappeared. Chemotherapy doesn’t do that,” Reed describes.


Jack’s Extracts

The demand for oils, like Rick Simpson oil (RSO), has led Reed to create extractions that are changing the way we look at oils and what the true meaning of “medicinal” is throughout her company, Jack’s Extracts.

Cannabis is popping up everywhere. The perception of oils and extractions are evolving, as we combat diseases in ways we never thought possible. Thanks to social media, more people are growing aware of these alternative uses. Though research is still limited, we tend to believe our doctors solemnly to our own faults, as Reed would say.

Her brother had a two year battle with cancer. What she learned was that you are your only advocate, in reality. Everything is experimental when it comes to cancer treatments. “We are so used to having ‘Oh the doctor gave me a prescription and it’s this many milligrams and this many times a day,’ we just do it,” Reed adds.

Since expanding to become a cannabis company, Jack’s Extracts focus mainly on the medicinal aspects of the plant. As a cultivator, Reed didn’t always believe the people that talked about the medical side of cannabis. The more that she meets people in need, the more Reed feels she can’t turn away from this growing need.

“Twenty percent of all our products are given away for free. We [work with] wounded vets organizations. We hope to give to them every month so none of them have to buy it because I was strictly blown away by the knowledge of how it helps them,” says Reed.

Smoking cannabis can help with symptoms of  PTSD because it inhibits the brain from dreaming while sleeping. THC on a cell creates a protein mandate — and on the most basic terms, cancer is a protein deficiency in a cell. The simplicity of how one might handle these problems is what made Reed seek for herself answers.


Fight the Fight, Side by Side

On a recent trip, Reed participated in a cannabis conference in one of the world’s leading countries in the cannabis industry as a whole — Israel.

Last year Pfizer, an American global pharmaceutical company, gave Israel millions of dollars to fund cannabis research. Doctors such as Raphael Mechoulam, who discovered the THC molecule, were keynote speakers.

“One of the things I learned in Israel was, the leading doctor for Crohn’s disease and marijuana was there, 62%t of Crohn’s patients that smoke cannabis go into remission, which just blew me away,” says Reed.

The U.S. is six months behind Israel when it comes to researching things like PTSD and Crohn’s disease and the way we look at cannabis medicinally.

“I am a normal mom, 33-year-old woman, running a company like cannabis shouldn’t reflect anything but that,” adds Reed.

Jack’s Extracts is close to releasing a transdermal patch, which is one of the fastest ways to absorb medicine as we grow older. From smoking and vaping to oral treatments or suppositories, Jack’s Extracts is helping patients fight the fight, side by side with them.


A Life Changing Medicinal Drug

“Sometimes I wonder if this is what Israel kind of made me ‘epiphanize’ (I had an epiphany on the bus one day), I got up and just said that ultimately I think what I’m realizing is that there is lack of cannabis companies coming [out of the] dark world [and] into the light, because when I go wherever I go, I can count on one hand the cannabis companies that are exposing themselves like that.” Reed adds, “We are highly involved in becoming a transparent and legitimized cannabis company.”

 It’s not just about the money for Jack’s but about bringing awareness to a life changing medicinal drug.


Emerald contributor since March 2012


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