Tommy Turner's son Coltyn Turner has Crohn's disease. When he was 12, he contracted a bacterial infection after a near-drowning accident that lead to Crohn's disease. And now the family believes cannabis oil saved Coltyn's life.
Complications included fatigue, failure to thrive, lupus and more. And so after his 14th birthday on February 29th, 2014, Coltyn Turner and his father moved from Illinois to Colorado.
"We knew Colorado had the access to what we needed to try," Tommy Turner says in a recent video.
The Turner family is one of hundreds that call themselves medical refugees. People who have left their home state to seek treatment using cannabis in Colorado. Treating sick children with cannabis is controversial, since studies show recreational use of cannabis is detrimental to the teenage brain.
Evidence supports cannabis treatments for young people
But there's a growing body of evidence to support medical cannabis use for children and teens. In a recent interview, the head of the Canadian Paediatric Society even told the CBC he would treat his own child with cannabis if needed.
For Tommy Turner, the decision to seek cannabis treatment for a 14 year old was emotional.
"When I thought of my son consuming cannabis, there's just no way, but when you deal with other medicines not working and you watch your son deteriorate to the point of being near death you can't help but think 'Why not?'"
"Everything else was failing him, what's the worst that can happen by using cannabis?"
Within six months Coltyn was in remission.
"The years and years of telling my kid say no to drugs and here I'm the dad buying my kid a drug. It's just feeling guilty and sad and scared and hypocritical and just all these horrible thoughts going through my head of 'What am I doing to my kid?' I just had to let that all go. And I did. And I just thought about Coltyn."
In this emotional video produced by Golden Peak Studios, Tommy Turner explains what the past two years have been like for Coltyn.