Courtesy Grittmann family
Quincy (Meskwaki/Ho-Chunk) with her husband Brandon and their son Braedy, 3

Meskwaki Family Hopes Medical Marijuana Will Save Life of 3-Year-Old Son

Mary Annette Pember
3/28/14

Quincy Grittmann has faith. Her faith, however, goes far beyond the ordinary definition as a religious belief.  Hers is an explosion of surrender that she has pulled fiercely to her heart with both hands. To hear her describe her trust in the Creator is to be deeply humbled by the courage of this young mother.

“I have put my child’s life in the Creator’s hands and I know that no matter what happens it is going to be OK,” she said.

Grittmann of the Meskwaki and Ho Chunk tribes, is confident that her boundless faith and support of her Native family and community will sustain her as she embarks on the uncertain odyssey of a lifetime. On April 1, she and her little family are moving from the familiar in Tama, Iowa to the unknown in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She and her husband Brandon are moving to Colorado with their 3-year-old son, Braedy, so that Braedy can receive medical marijuana for the grand mal seizures he has had since he was 3 months old.

Braedy Grittmann, 3, has suffered from grand mal seizures since he was 3 months old. (Courtesy Grittmanns)The decision to move from their close-knit community on the Meskwaki Settlement near the little town of Tama has not been made lightly. But after extensive research into the benefits of medical marijuana coupled with months in the hospital and watching her son suffer from the side effects and limited success of powerful drugs, she has decided the only option is to move to Colorado. Like many other families, desperate for relief for ill relatives, they are moving to a state where medical marijuana is legal. The drug is illegal in Iowa.

The Colorado based nonprofit organization Realm of Caring, famously champions use of a strain of marijuana called Charlotte’s Web to control seizures; it is given in the form of oil and is not smoked. The drug is named after a five-year-old girl with intractable epilepsy, Charlotte Figi, whose seizures were controlled by use of the oil. The Charlotte’s Web strain is high in cannabinoids or CBD, and low in THC that produces the “high” associated with recreational use of marijuana. CBD is thought to have anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective and anti-seizure benefits.

Braedy’s story is similar to that of Charlotte who also inexplicably began having numerous uncontrollable grand mal seizures at 3 months of age. Like the Grittmanns, the Figis soon ran out of options, reported CNN.

After years of using powerful medications and multiple hospitalizations, doctors told Charlotte’s parents there was nothing more that could be done.  The little girl was having 300 grand mal seizures per week and in the hospital most of the time; the Figis signed a do-not-resuscitate order for their five-year-old child and said their goodbyes. Doctors even suggested putting her in a medically induced coma to give her little body a rest. In desperation, Charlotte’s parents began learning about the benefits of medical marijuana, especially CBD. Her mother Paige finally found a small amount of a strain with low THC and high CBD for $800. After getting a friend to extract the CBD into oil and having it safety tested at a lab, she gave it to Charlotte. Paige describes her family as pioneers. She confesses to being terrified at using Charlotte as a guinea pig but the results were stunning. Charlotte’s seizures stopped for seven days.

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