ColumnistsVogue Williams

If weed helps sick kids, then I'm all for it

If weed helps sick kids, then I'm all for it

If I was a parent and my child was sick, I would want to ease their pain in anyway that I could – and that includes using medical cannabis.

Last year, I read a harrowing interview with a Cork woman called Yvonne Cahalane whose two-year-old son Tristan was born with Dravet Syndrome – a severe, incurable form of epilepsy.

Tristan was suffering up to 20 seizures a day when Yvonne decided to take action – action that could’ve landed her in prison if she were to attempt it here in Ireland.

Yvonne decided to treat Tristan’s seizures with marijuana.

She moved to Colorado where medical marijuana is legal, and seven months later, Tristan is seizure free.

In L.A. this week, I was looking at California’s marijuana laws for my new series when I heard about Tracy Ryan – another crusading mother who turned to cannabis to treat her daughter Sophie’s inoperable brain tumour. 

With Tracy and Sophie

The difference between Tracy and Yvonne is that Tracy didn’t have to leave her home and uproot her sick child to avail of a treatment that she had made a mature and informed decision to try. 

Tracy already lives in California where marijuana is legal for medical use.

Now, after over two years of treatment with cannabis oil, in conjunction with chemotherapy, Sophie’s tumour has shrunk and she’s been saved from going blind – a prognosis she was told was inevitable. 

I spent a morning at Tracy’s house finding out more about the curative powers of a drug I grew-up thinking of as an ambition-sucking gateway to the ‘harder stuff’. 

Sophie is thriving on her cannabis treatment, and as a side effect it gives her a great appetite. 

Tracey has started up a company called Cannakids, developing Cannabis oils to treat young children, and she has so far helped over 500 children in the past two years.

She has even helped parents relocate to California so they can take advantage of the cannabis law for the sake of their sick kids.

In L.A., I stood in bright Medical Marijuana Shops that looked like Apple Stores and I was amazed at how normalised the drug has become there.

Gone is the cliché of a stoner 18-year-old pothead wearing his jeans like a denim nappy – replaced by pensioners pouring over cannabis vapes to ease their arthritis and kids with passionate mothers who really believe this drug works miracles.

To say my trip to L.A. was a revelation is an understatement.

I was never into smoking weed although I did have a lot of friends who were very into it.

And it seemed to affect their ability to do anything much other than smoke, eat cereal and watch kids’ TV. 

It was like the spliff sucked the life out of them – and that didn’t make me want to try it.

But in California, I met bright professional people who use cannabis to ease anxiety symptoms, boost their libido and yes, treat more chronic disease. 

Getting stoned off your ‘biccie’ is not how they do it there. 

They use and legislate for the use of the drug in a totally adult way.

In California, I was able to see another side of a drug we criminalise and demonise – I saw its ability to help people.

And I know myself that if I was a parent and my child was in that situation, I would not think twice about taking any action necessary.

I’m not saying I would jump straight into cannabis therapy, but if it was available in Ireland I would do it.

Problem is isn’t

Me an my L.A love story

I flew to L.A. on Monday to start filming the final parts for my new series, ‘Vogue Williams On The Edge’.

After I arrived, I went straight up to see my friend James and his husband Adam with whom I stayed the night.

They live in the most beautiful house in the hills with incredible views, so I always try and at least stay a night with them when I go to LA.

I was trying my best to be good and not to have a few drinks – but that never happens when you haven’t seen friends in ages.

On Tuesday I had a meeting in the TV channel, E!, over in L.A.

I have done work with the company’s UK side in the past so it was nice to meet the L.A. crew too.

Their offices are so incredible and I got to go and see the studios and do the whole tour.

After, we went to the beach and then did a gorgeous hike up Runyon Canyon. I love the L.A.
lifestyle so much, amazing weather and the food is unreal.

It just seems like such a healthy way of life here but I do miss home too – even when I’m away for a short time.

I got to spend a couple of evenings down at Venice Beach, which is amazing, its like stepping back into the 60s, you have to go there if you ever visit L.A., its one of my favourite places.

I will be flying to Seattle by the time you read this for more filming so I can fill you in, in next week’s column.

I'm all for Irish dancing 

I was so excited to hear the news that Dancing With The Stars is coming to Ireland.

I was a part of the Australian version of the show when I lived over there and I loved it.

I think there are so many great people that they can get on the show, and its going to be  good viewing.

I love when we make our own versions of shows as I think they work really well.

It’s going to be the new big hit but I have to warn any future contestants, that is is not an easy show to do.

I  trained for up to eight hours a day and I still wasn’t any good. No line-up has been confirmed yet. I cant wait to hear the names and tune in.