DENVER - The Green Solution, a Denver medical marijuana dispensary, says it has launched a fundraising campaign in hopes of supporting a surge of pediatric cancer patients seeking alternative therapy in Colorado.
Called The Jonah Fund, the campaign is named for 2-year-old Jonah Allen, of Longmont, Colo., who was diagnosed in 2013 with a glioma -- an inoperable tumor on the left side of his brain. The Green Solution said it is subsidizing a portion of the cost of cannabis oil therapy for Jonah.
The cannabis oil is made up of THC and CBD. CBD is scientifically known as Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive concentrate extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant. The oil is administered orally. THC is the more commonly known compound in cannabis that is known for producing a "high" and when coupled with CBD it is considered to have greater cancer fighting properties.
Jonah’s campaign comes on the heels of the December 2013 annual report released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Medical Marijuana Registry, which recorded an 81 percent increase in the number of children under age 18 seeking hemp therapy in the state over the past year.
According to CDPHE archive reports, the number of cancer patients using medical marijuana in the state has more than tripled in just four years, increasing from 908 patients in 2009 to 3,079 patients in 2013.
However, surging demand, along with the cost of therapy, has limited the availability of treatment for many families.
Although medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2000, helping patients avoid legal qualms, the cost of therapy for patients can be prohibitive.
"We have thousands of dollars still in debt to hospitals, we can't afford the oil without help," said Patrick Allen, Jonah's father.
The Allen family, who had relocated to Massachusetts in 2013, returned to Colorado to seek cannabis oil treatment upon learning their son had a brain tumor.
Prices for a one-month supply of cannabis oil can run between $1,000 and $2,000 according to Realm of Caring, a Colorado non-profit organization specializing in treatment of pediatric ailments with cannabis oil.
In addition to receiving cannabis oil, Jonah is also seeing traditional oncologist. Although his family has health insurance, the cost of CT scans and office visits has been mounting since Jonah's birth.
Already diagnosed before birth with Pediatric Hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid around the brain that can cause fatal swelling, Jonah endured three surgeries before the tumor was discovered.
Compelled by Jonah’s story, the four Speidell brothers, who own The Green Solution, said they decided to host a fundraiser to ease the cost of his care.
The Speidells said they hope that Jonah’s story will continue the groundswell of support for CBD/THC research and assistance to families seeking treatment with medical marijuana.
"We are happy to help in any way we can," said one of the Speidell brothers.
According to organizers, proceeds raised up to $30,000 will immediately benefit Jonah, with any additional funding directed toward The Jonah Fund’s mission to financially assist other families using CBD/THC therapy.
Supporters can donate securely online to The Jonah Fund at YouCaring.com/TheJonahFund or by visiting any of four The Green Solution locations.
The online campaign ends in just a few days on February 28. More information about Jonah and his family can be found at PrayForJonah.com.