PORTLAND, Ore. - A 7-year-old girl suffering from leukemia has become one of Oregon's youngest medical marijuana patients.
Mykayla Comstock's mother credits the drug with helping put the cancer into remission.
But her father, worried about the effects of the drug on her brain development, alerted child welfare officials to the treatment.
Mykayla was diagnosed with leukemia last spring and the marijuana eases the effects of chemotherapy, according to her mother. The girl takes a gram of cannabis oil daily, The Oregonian reported.
"First you get hungry," Mykayla told the paper. "Then you get really funny, and then you get tired."
Her mother, Erin Purchase, 25, administers Mykayla's cannabis with the help of her boyfriend.
Mykayla's mother credits the drug for the leukemia's remission.
"As a mother, I am going to try anything before she can potentially fall on the other side," said Erin Purchase, 25, who administers Mykayla's cannabis together with her boyfriend.
Mykayla's father, who is divorced from the girl's mother and lives in North Dakota, was so disturbed by his daughter's marijuana use that he contacted child welfare officials, police and her oncologist.
Jesse Comstock said his concerns were prompted by a visit with Mykayla in August.
"She was stoned out of her mind," said Comstock, 26. "All she wanted to do was lay on the bed and play video games."
Comstock pays child support to Purchase and covers Mykayla's health insurance. After observing Mykayla acting strangely during an August visit, he took her to a private lab where technicians detected THC levels of an adult daily marijuana user.
Local police contacted the girl's mother, examined Mykayla's medical marijuana paperwork, then told Comstock there was little they could do. Oregon law requires no monitoring of a child's medical marijuana use by a pediatrician. The law instead invests authority in parents to decide the dosage, frequency and manner of a child's marijuana consumption.
Comstock, who used pot in the past, told the paper that he doesn't object to people over 16 using medical marijuana. But he worries about his daughter's well-being and the potential for addiction.
"She's not terminally ill," Comstock said. "She is going to get over this, and with all this pot, they are going to hinder her brain growth.
"It's going to limit her options in life because of the decisions her mother has made for her," he added.
'A normal kid'
Many doctors worry about introducing a child to marijuana when they say other drugs can treat pain and nausea more effectively.
Purchase believes marijuana heals, and credits the drug for curing her stepfather's skin cancer. She herself is an Oregon medical marijuana patient, and her boyfriend is Mykayla's grower. She is so convinced of the drug's safety that she consumed it during the pregnancy and while breastfeeding her second child.
When her symptoms are especially bad, Mykayla's mother and her mother's boyfriend feed her cannabis-infused food. She's had up to 1.2 grams of cannabis oil in 24 hours, the rough equivalent of smoking 10 joints.
Mykayla's first oncologist called the marijuana use "inappropriate," Purchase said. However, with marijuana, Purchase said her daughter has been able to return to a more normal life.
Mykayla is currently homeschooled by Purchase and Kranzler who are both currently out of work, according to the paper.
"She's like she was before," her mother said. "She's a normal kid."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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