Colorado has become a promised land for desperate parents trying to save their children.
In the past year-and-a-half, hundreds of families from across the country have uprooted their lives and moved here for a special kind of medical marijuana. They arrive with children suffering from incurable forms of epilepsy, life-threatening disorders with seizures that not only strike every day but also restrain their kids at the developmental level of toddlers.
The medical marijuana treatment they seek — low in THC and rich in a compound called CBD — is unregulated, and there is little research to guide parents on how often it works. But the happy anecdotes of families who have already tried it encourage even more families to move, creating a growing community of parents who are praying that a federally illegal drug will succeed where traditional pharmaceuticals have failed.
For the past eight months, The Denver Post has followed Ana Watson and her family as they moved from North Carolina to Colorado with the dream that medical marijuana will help her son, Preston, and stop his relentless seizures. Their journey was harder than they expected. The answers were more elusive than the happy anecdotes seemed to promise.
But they kept pressing forward because they said they had no other choice. Because Colorado was the only hope they had left.
"Colorado represents hope at this point," one of Ana's new friends here said. "This is the state of hope."