CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - You might recognize Mia Morely if you followed the 18-months of stories on CBD oils a few years back. Mia was severely ill. Up to 30 pharmaceutical pills a day. Some were steroids. The picture on the left shows the toll it took on her little body.
Her parents moved from North Carolina to Colorado to get her on CBD oils, a strain of medical marijuana. They moved their family back to Wilmington once CBD oils were legal here.
Mia's dad says CBD oils changed his daughter's life. That's a recent picture on the right. Stark before and after.
Problem is, Mia's doctor just dropped her. Out of nowhere.
Mia isn't the only one.
Some North Carolina neurologists are suddenly dropping patients -- many are kids -- because they're taking CBD oils.
For those unaware, CBD oils are made from a marijuana plant but CAN'T GET YOU HIGH. They don't work for everyone but there are lots of anecdotal success stories like Mia's. They can be tricky because they aren't FDA-approved.
The medicine is manufactured in a way so all the THC – the part of marijuana that gives you a euphoric "high" – is removed. What remains is CBD, the therapeutic part of the plant.
Years ago a doctor told me you could drink a bottle of CBD oils and not feel stoned. It helps in keeping someone calm. Lots of patients with epilepsy and seizures say they find it works.
Over the past two weeks I've talked with multiple parents across the state who say their neurologist no longer wants to treat anyone on these oils. These families say they've go into their scheduled doctor's appointments with their kids... and walk out with no real answer as to why they're being kicked to the curb now.
In some cases, these parents say doctors are dropping kids they've treated for years, kids they've previously written notes for recommending CBD oil.
And again, it's not just Mia.
Eight-year-old Haley Ward is who North Carolina's CBD oil bill was named after. Her mom, Sherena, is appalled and scathing mad.
"As of April Haley will be dismissed if she's still using CBDs," Sherena told me over the phone from her home in Carteret County. "That's what her doctor at Duke told me. I'm so distraught! I'm also feeling very let down. Seven years of care from him and she's doing better than she ever has in her entire life, and now he's telling us to go find someone else."
Sherena says since being on CBDs, Haley dropped from having eight grand mal seizures a day to being seizure-free for five months. The seizures came back, but Sherena says they're off-and-on and when she does have one it's not that bad. She also says Haley has more body movement, healthier hair and skin and no longer vomits all day long.
"I credit CBD oils with her success," Sherena said. "Now I have to find a new doctor. As a single mom doing my best with a very sick child, it's a hassle I really don't need."
There might not be anything scandalous here. Maybe these neurologists decided at the same time to suddenly stop seeing patients on CBD oils. Maybe it was sheer coincidence.
Or, it could be something bigger.
The federal government getting more heavily involved? Drug Enforcement Agency changes? Pharmaceutical companies being more forceful in "encouraging" doctors to use trial drugs and not the natural plant?
I reached out to Duke University Medical Center to ask why one of its doctors is dropping kids on CBD oils (I've seen documentation with his name). A spokesperson said they "couldn't find anyone to speak to what I was asking."
I also reached out to the state lawmaker who originally sponsored the bill. She is aware it's an issue right now, but says she doesn't know why doctors are dropping these kids either.
One Charlotte mom whose child is on CBD tells me she thinks it's that doctors feel like their hands are tied. That they can write recommendation letters for CBD oils, but that federal law states they can't give dosages or advice... so... they can't really "manage" their patients and are deciding now to not deal with it at all.
Again, I'm being transparent in that I don't know the answer.
I just know it's exceptionally frustrating to parents who have already gone through too much with their sick children and the last thing they want to do is start from scratch with a new doctor.