California patient, Sophie Ryan, was just eight months old when she developed a twitch in her right eye. Her parents, Tracy and Josh Ryan, said she had been a happy and seemingly healthy baby, with no difficulties to speak of from a normal pregnancy and delivery.
The diagnosis of a “low-grade, slow growing, Optic Pathway Glioma (OPG) brain tumor,” was eventually realized with sobering facts. Success rates were high, but diminished eye sight was almost certain, with the child’s endocrine (hormonal) system predicted to be compromised.
Studies found within the National Institute of Health’s website came up short on OPG, with entries from 2003 and 2007, respectively, and little insight as to the cause of the rare disorder comprising five percent of childhood cancers.
According to Cancer.org more than 4,000 central nervous system tumors are diagnosed a year in children and teenagers in the U.S., with three out of four children surviving “at least five years.”
Brain and spinal cord tumors are the “second most common cancers in children (after leukemia),” accounting for “one out of four childhood cancers.”
Months of Misery = Slight Improvement
Thirteen months of chemotherapy was recommended for infant Sophie, with the dismal promise of the tumor shrinking “only slightly.” The old adage “close only counts in horseshoes” comes to mind, as mom and dad took a serious look at the alternative therapy of cannabis, with a nod from Sophie’s oncologist.
After creating Facebook page, “Prayers for Sophie,” a friend put Tracy in touch with celebrity and cannabis advocate, Ricki Lake, who was filming a documentary about cancer, cannabis and pediatric patients with filmmaker Abby Epstein.
“I was originally inspired to try for a natural birth after watching “The Business of Being Born,” so I knew if these ladies were now focused on a film about cannabis, there had to be something to it!” Tracy reported on YouShareProject.com, last year.
Soon Lake and Epstein were networking for Sophie, putting Tracy and Josh in touch with some of the top oil makers and experts on cannabis as medicine in the state, prompting the couple to share the wealth by creating “Cannakids,” an informational portal and oil resource for caregivers of kids with cancer and other serious ailments.
Cannakids, Miracles Every Day
Within the Saving Sophie web site, Tracy lists there are more than 155 studies proving cannabis is effective in killing cancer, with just 3.8 percent of government funding spent on pediatric cancer research. With 15,780 children diagnosed each year, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see there is something seriously wrong.
Through their own research and in working with experts the Ryan family created organic, solvent-free, Cannakids Honey Gold Cannabis Oil.
“We work with dozens of other patients directly affected by cancer, epilepsy, and other childhood illnesses by informing them on the beneficial uses of cannabis oil,” Tracy continued. “Three different doctors told one three-year-old child’s parents with a brain stem tumor that chemo would not work and they could not save her life. A few months after reaching a medicinal cannabis dose, the parents opted to try chemo – even though doctors said it would not shrink her tumor. After only 10 weeks of using cannabis oil and chemo the tumor is now 50 percent gone.”
Working up to just a tenth of a gram, due to unknown factors of psychoactivity with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), Tracy said Sophie did remarkably well, with the only side-effect of being a little sleepy – which faded as she became used to the oil. Now, Tracy shared, Sophie’s only side effect is hunger.
“When parents come to me with concerns in relation to the THC getting them high, I remind them what it is these doctors are putting them on – these horrific opiates and damaging pharmaceuticals that are not only damaging to their organs, but highly addictive,” Tracy informed. “The oil also protects their bodies from the chemotherapy drugs themselves that are highly damaging to the immune system.”
Keeping the immune system strong is paramount to fighting cancer and other modern-day ailments. Recently former President Jimmy Carter, 91, reported his brain tumors had shrunk after using a new treatment called Keytruda (generic name pembrolizumab), which mimics cannabis in boosting the immune system, helping the body to fight off the cancer.
President Carter also underwent radiation and surgery to remove another tumor on his liver, as his cancer was at Stage 4 when found, meaning it had spread throughout his body.
Per a report on NBC News, December 2015, it’s likely his cancer will come back. And, unlike the cannabis oil treatment there is no maintenance dose to keep the cancer at bay, and no help with the pain, nausea, and waste away associated with traditional treatments, as is found with cannabis.
In Sophie’s case and others who use cannabis oil for cancer, Tracy expounded on the fact that using the oil does away with opiates and pain killers in the first place, as the pain is quelled simultaneously with the oil, along with the cancer – as are other debilitating symptoms.
“The kids get happy when their pain goes away,” she said. “They are more relaxed, and they don’t have to be weaned off of addictive opiates with methadone – like I’ve seen 14 year-olds have to do.”
Add Oil, Tumors Shrink
As treatment continued with both chemotherapy and cannabis oil, with every follow-up scan, the tumor presented smaller and smaller – an anomaly with this type of tumor, per Sophie’s doctors, via Tracy.
“At just ten weeks of treatment with both chemo and the oil, the tumor was 50 percent gone,” Tracy shared. “By 12 months, it was 80 to 85 percent gone. We were told initially the cyst would remain and it’s gone. We were told she would lose her vision, and it’s saved. The doctor’s themselves agreed the cannabis oil destroyed her tumor.”
Chemotherapy was stopped in November, 2014. With a 90 percent shrinkage rate; the downside is, an average of 75 percent of cases reoccur. Sophie’s first scan post-treatment showed tiny specs of cancer in an area where there was nothing prior, prompting chemo a second time.
The good news is, because of Sophie’s cannabis use her immune system is stronger than ever during the traditional treatment of chemo that typically knocks an adult to the ground with infections, pain, waste-away and more.
Proof, Protocols & Patents
The U.S. Government has held a patient on one healing compound found within cannabis since 1993, Cannabinoids or CBDs. Within the patent’s abstract CBDs are said to have “particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”
According to a paper published in the National Institute of Health’s site, via the National Cancer Institute (updated Jan, 8, 2016), help from cannabis with side effects of chemotherapy are listed, with nausea, waste-away, and pain a given. And though Israel first reported THC putting tumors into remission in the late 1960s, only recently has the institute added verbiage stating, “Cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory.” Though they also state there is not enough evidence to recommend patients “inhale or ingest” cannabis as a treatment for cancer, Sophie’s story alone gives hope to many.
“Her immune levels hardly ever drop below a normal range on the oil. And if they do, they are in the upper range of low,” Tracy reported. “She’s the only child during chemo breaks that doesn’t have to have her labs drawn.”
Doing laboratory work can often be difficult for anyone. For a child, it can add to the physical and emotional scars already received from the ailment itself. Tracy said due to the persistence of the cancer, she has what is called a “porta-cath,” or portable catheter, in her chest where chemo drugs are delivered.
“You can see all the thousands of tiny holes in her chest from the thousands of needle sticks she’s had,” Tracy said sadly. “I’ve had to hold her down while they put this big plastic thing on her chest, with an IV running out of it, and blood running in a tube right in front of her face. Yes, labs are very traumatic.”
When asked if they are able to do the cannabis treatment without the chemo, Tracy said it didn’t work for Sophie.
“Sophie is Cannakids’ only optic pathway glioma patient who hasn’t responded to just the cannabis oil off-treatment,” Tracy said. “We are trying to get to the root of the problem to find out why her body doesn’t respond to a maintenance dose of oil to keep the cancer away.”
The hope from oncologists is that with time, the cancer will fade as she finishes her childhood growth spurts.
“But then you have to worry about when they go into puberty, then you have to get them to the age of 23 and 25 – and by then it’s 22 years of wait and see,” Tracy surmised. “The doctors feel confident at some point the tumor will just stop growing. But for now, she is in the heat of these growth spurts and it’s extremely troublesome.”
Building a Brain Trust
While Sophie continues treatment with both chemo and cannabis, Tracy’s latest project is to bring together, what she calls, a “brain trust” of doctors, scientists, and researchers from around the world. A sample of Sophie’s brain tumor has been sent to Israel with the hope that they will find a perfect match from more than 150 strains of cannabis, with the goal of putting Sophie’s cancer into remission for good.
“I am determined to keep my child from having to go through this any longer,” she concluded. “And I’m just as determined to help keep other children from going through this ever again.”
For more information on Sophie’s treatment with cannabis oil and Cannakids, visit: