The Fulton family relocated from Australia to Canada to help their two daughters, eight-year-old Georgia-Grace and 13-year-old Tabetha have a degenerative lung disease.
Before consuming cannabis oil, Georgia-Grace and Tabetha could barely walk a block comfortably. Now both girls enjoy walking, running and surfing comfortably thanks to cannabis oil.
National Access Cannabis Founder Alex Abellan also joins us on the call to talk about how he has helped the Fulton girls access safe and effective cannabis oil.
Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. That’s www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback(at)cannainsider(dot)com to get started. Now here’s your program.
Hi this is Matthew Kind. I just want to give you a little bit of an update on this interview before we get started. There’s five total individuals in this interview other than me. Alex Abellan of National Access Cannabis, Bobby Jo Fulton and Marcus Fulton who are the parents of Tabitha and Georgia Grace Fulton. Tabitha and Georgia Grace have a degenerative lung disease that causes massive inflammation in their lungs and the only way they’ve been able to experience relief is with cannabis oil and they left their native Australia to come to Canada to access that oil because they haven’t been able to do it there legally. So you’re going to hear their journey from Australia to Canada and how it has affected them as a family and what they’re up to and I just wanted to give you a little context before we got the interview started so I hope you enjoy it.
While many of us here in the U.S. view full cannabis legalization as inevitable and many states have now legalized full adult and medical use that is not the case everywhere. As you’re about to hear our next guests moved from Australia to Canada to legally access the life changing benefits of cannabis to treat degenerative lung disease. I want to welcome to the show Alex Abellan, founder of National Access Cannabis and the Fulton family, mother Bobby Jo Fulton, Tabitha Fulton, Georgia Grace Fulton, and father Marcus Fulton. Welcome to CannaInsiders everybody.
Group: (Group hi’s)
Matthew: Did I get everybody’s name right? I just want to make sure.
Matthew: Great. Well first the Fulton family can you tell us where you are in the world right now?
Bobby Jo: Victoria.
Bobby Jo: A long way from home.
Matthew: Yeah and how about you Alex?
Alex: I’m in Ottawa, Ontario right now.
Matthew: Okay great. Well let’s get a little background here from the Fulton family first. Can you give us a little idea of what you’re doing in Canada and you’re journey from Australia for your two girls? Bobby Jo or Marcus if you want to lead us off that would be great.
Marcus: Go ahead Bobby.
Bobby Jo: Well to begin with we given that it is highly illegal in our own country, Tabitha was getting very sick very quickly. We had no alternative pharmaceutical medicine. We had run out of every option there. So we did a twelve week trial in our own country that proved that we could get her off steroids and in fact off her daily oxygen procedure as well but what we couldn’t do was continue to use the cannabis oil in our own country.
Matthew: Now Tabitha and Georgia Grace how do you feel when you take the cannabis oil versus when you don’t have access to it? How does it affect your life would you say?
Tabitha: Well with the steroids I feel like after a while I wasn’t getting the benefits of the help I was supposed to be getting from the steroids.
Tabitha: And so obviously I did not have very good quality of life and when I; since being on the cannabis oil I have had an amazing quality of life. I’ve been able to do so many things that I have never been able to do like I got to surf. I got to do so many things. I could ride a bike and to me that’s a big thing. I have never been able to do that in my entire life.
Alex: Yeah if I could interject here I just want mention that Tabitha and the Fulton Family, Georgia Grace too they’ve been through a lot. Tabitha she was awake for only 45 minutes a day and sleeping the rest of the time because of the lack of oxygen she was getting and her quality of life in Australia was; it was really hard on the Fulton family and I have to say Marcus and Bobby you guys are the best parents in the world for what you guys have had to struggle with and the frustrations you were experiencing in Australia. I can tell you right now that the girls are amazing. They’re doing so wonderful Matt and it’s like a, it’s like night and day. I don’t even know if I could describe how amazing these girls are doing here in Victoria and really what we’re asking is we want to make sure they can go home and have the same safe access there in Australia.
Matthew: Alex let’s back up a little bit and maybe you can tell us what National Access Cannabis is and how you came to help the Fulton family?
Alex: Well the National Access Cannabis was a model that I started in Canada to help my community by helping the people that were using cannabis as a medicine and helping them from being ostracized from the community because if you were; if anybody says I’m using cannabis or marijuana then people all of a sudden with the Reefer Madness everybody would think oh you’re taking drugs when in reality it was a medicine. So the first thing I did was National Access Cannabis came up with a state distribution law.
The number one thing for us whether it’s medical or recreational really it should be done safely. So we developed a model that does risk reduction and health awareness through education and then that way people can make an informed decision if they want to use cannabis recreationally or medically. So that’s how it all started and then that’s how I met the girls because once National Access Cannabis started working with the community we started seeing amazing results. I mean people were coming in it was almost like a miracle for half of these people.
So when we started realizing that we need to spread information out there and help as many people as we can and when I found out that the Fulton’s were having trouble in Australia with these two little girls I said well if you come to Victoria on vacation ya’ll come over here and we’ll see if we can help you out and sure enough they came to British Columbia. They flew all the way from Australia and I think Tabitha you had an attack on the plane I believe right at the airport so we needed to get her a doctor right away. So we ended up getting her a doctor when she came to Canada and because of National Access Cannabis we work within the healthcare industry we had contacts with physicians so we were able to find the girls quite quickly a pediatric lung specialist to help with their lung disease. So we started that way and now we have Bobby and Marcus and the whole family with us and we’re all participating together trying to spread the word.
Matthew: Alex can you give us an overview of the medicine’s that Tabitha and Georgia Grace are taking quantities, strains? What can you tell us about the cannabis oil?
Alex: Okay so presently, well now that we’re allowed to make oils the licensed producers here in Canada are not ready to make the oil in the way that these kids need. The children needed our cold fuse so of course the THCA so that it’s not psychoactive and also with the CBD. So what we did was we connected the Fultons to a licensed producer here in Canada and Bobby their mother is very knowledgeable in making these oils and the father too. So what they did is we presently got them cannabis oil licensed producers and then when the Fulton family received it they did the dosing from what they got from their doctor. So I can let Bobby answer that question. Bobby so can you run us through and Marcus how exactly you’re making your oil?
Marcus: Sure. As you’ve heard we’re using a prescribed amount of cannabis with a prescribed amount of sunflower oil and pairing it with the use of a Magical Butter machine which regulates temperature and basically does the infusing for you. It’s a very reliable way of doing it. Previously we had been using a slow cooker or something like that with that it’s psychoactive and a little bit harder to control. With specific machines like the Magical Butter it makes it very easy to basically dial up what you want and that way you get a very consistent result.
Alex: Yeah so (10:10 unclear) called Magic Butter where you can make your oil. It doesn’t hold temperature so it does activate the THC so then you can make cold fused oil. So they’re doing it at home and within like the next couple months we’re expecting our licensed producers to have these products available to our patients here in Canada, National Access Cannabis so the future is already here I think with the cannabis industry with these oils so we’re just waiting just for the government to allow us; allow the licensed producers to be able to produce these oils for children.
Matthew: Anecdotally is there any particular strains or concentrations or anything you can tell us that is working better for you Tabitha and Georgia? I mean I guess that question is for Alex or Bobby Jo or Marcus but I mean is there any difference here or is it really any cannabis oil seems to be doing the trick?
Bobby Jo: Well yeah.
Marcus: Besides basically supports a holistic medicine if you like so it needs to provide at least a certain amount of THC as well as the other cannabinoids and CBDs. So realistically something with a high CBD and a lower THC, there are various varieties which are specifically grown by producers now with understanding the specific conditions. So you can definitely get the particular type of flower that you like. Something with a higher CBD and a lower THC so that your extraction will reflect that as well it would be much higher in CBD and lower in THC or both in the acid form. It is still very useful.
Alex: Yeah to answer your question Matt presently right now we’re not going to specific strains. I mean that is the research that we’ll be doing in the office in the clinical trials as well to prove efficacy, but presently we just know that cold fused oil of THC and acid based and also with the CBD that it seems to work for their girls without strain specific. That’s something that we want to look into in the future Matt but presently it’s not strain specific right now.
Matthew: Okay and Alex just to clarify so you said the THC is not active so that means there’s no decarboxylation going on here is that?
Alex: That’s correct. You know there’s different temperature when you depending on how much you heat the cannabis plant or cannabinoids you lose some cannabinoids and you change the dynamics of that cannabinoid. So yeah we’re keeping it below a certain temperature so that the THC does not become psychoactive so you can take THC and just not get high as long as you don’t heat it up and that’s why people have to light a joint or even vaporizing it to have a heat to it to get that high effect but in this case yeah THC won’t give you that psychoactive effect at all.
Matthew: Bobby Jo and Marcus as the parents of Tabitha and Georgia Grace what has it been like for you to witness this transition. I mean we heard first hand your daughters are able to surf and run and do cardio activities. What do you see as the biggest change?
Bobby Jo: Tabitha and I have spent twelve years in the hospital together. The biggest change for us is that Tabitha and I don’t have to spend the time together. Tabitha can live a somewhat normal life. We were told a few years ago that we would have our little girl until she was sixteen if we were lucky. Now we have hope and that’s something that we never had before.
Matthew: That’s great. Now we’ve already heard that the Australian government is not friendly to cannabis right now. Has there been any signs that they may make an exception for the Fulton family or is it something where you’re considering staying in Canada or what’s the next chapter in your journey do you know yet?
Bobby Jo: Oh absolutely. We’ve been pushing our state government for a special exemption to get the girls home and on their oil. The Australian government is taking very, very, very tiny steps towards this but hopefully Tabitha and Georgia Grace can push it a bit further and a bit faster.
Alex: Yeah and we’re working now as well, we’re communicating with now, the person we’re communicating with the Health Minister in Australia and definitely they do believe that there are proven anecdotal evidence anyways and there’s also a (15:37 unclear) in the United States for infants as young as three months old for severe seizures. So the Australian government is aware of those effects, it has a medicinal benefit but they still have a lot of criteria so we keep it very tight for example for these girls that’s not part of their criteria and that’s why we’re communicating with the government over there in Australia to let them know that there are other benefits as well here which we’re doing research and then until we can prove efficacy it seems as though Australia is not willing to allow too many people to try cannabis. Because the last message they want to deliver and I agree with them is that cannabis isn’t a cure all for everything but just because that’s true doesn’t mean that we have to be so stringent on our rules regarding cannabis that has; that’s not going to hurt anybody and show that it’s helping these girls with their rare lung disease.
So that’s where we’re at right now and at least we’re in communication. The government is being really nice and cooperative and they just want more research but the issue we have here today is that I have this family from Australia staying with me here in Victoria and when their VISA expires that they might have to return home and I can’t allow that to happen because first of all they are a beautiful family. I don’t want them to leave at all because they came into my life and just kind of turned it upside down it’s amazing. They’re a beautiful family so I don’t even really want them to leave, but at the same time they have friends back home, they have a life back home and the courage of this whole entire family is amazing. It makes me want to just breakdown and cry. I love these guys and they can’t go back home if they can’t bring the medicine I mean that’s impossible so it’s almost like a hostage.
It’s a strange situation where we’re at right now Matt but I can assure you that we’re going to you know we’re working together and we’re going to make this happen and we’re going to help these kids and I can’t wait till the day till they can all go back home it’s going to be amazing.
Matthew: Yeah. Now can you tell us a little bit about the degenerative lung disease that the girls have because I just want to understand how the cannabis is actually helping? Is it an inflammation fit here where the cannabis is reducing inflammation?
Bobby Jo: Absolutely.
Alex: Talk to Bobby because Bobby is the mother that has been doing so much research on this for her children. She’s the best advocate for her kids so she’s; so Bobby I think this is one that you should just explain you know it from top to bottom do you want to explain that to Matt (18:15 unclear)?
Bobby Jo: Absolutely. The girls we basically called the rarest of the rare. They were undiagnosable in our own country. They saw every specialist available to them. We then took it a few steps further and actually had them diagnosed by a specialist at Colorado Children’s and their diagnosis is actually an unknown ILD. So basically it’s the outer lung that’s affected. It becomes so inflamed they can’t put oxygen through to their bloodstream.
Matthew: Wow. So you didn’t really receive a diagnosis you’re saying until you came to Colorado. It’s this variant that nobody understood.
Bobby Jo: Yeah absolutely. As I say they’re the only children in the world that we know of like them. We had been told that we won’t have a name until autopsies so it’s not something that we really want to push for as you probably understand. So we’re happy with an unknown ILD. With is an interstitial lung disease which essentially says it affects the outside of the lung. Where asthma intends to affect the inner and outer airways. Our girls have massive inflammation around their lungs.
Matthew: Okay and Tabitha how does that feel when you’re fully inflamed like that with no treatments?
Tabitha: Well like when I was on steroids when I would get; when my lungs would get quite inflamed for a few years steroids would put the inflammation down to an extent but it never really went away. I was always sore chest and when I would breathe you could hear a crackling noise it was not a fun time but unlike the cannabis oils all the inflammation is gone and there’s no crackle anymore which is a good sign.
Matthew: Right. So a lot of listeners out there who might be on the edge and not understand that you can have the access to this medicine without a high. I mean you’re not walking around high. It’s a legitimate medicine. I mean do you get that question a lot Bobby Jo like hey are you giving your kids drugs.
Bobby Jo: Oh absolutely, absolutely. It’s the go too oh my goodness you’re giving your kids joints. No absolutely not, absolutely not. No it is so high in Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9, the list goes on and it is not psychoactive in any way, shape, or form.
Alex: Yeah and you know Matt that is the most important thing is we need to educate the public, our communities so that families like the Fulton’s don’t get ostracized just because of the word cannabis and that’s one of the issues that we’re trying to tackle right now and of course through education that’s what we’re going to do and hopefully in the next five or ten years with proper research and clinical trials we’ll prove efficacy and we’ll be able to help other children with this same lung disease.
Matthew: Now have any individual politicians in Australia expressed any sympathy towards your cause Bobby or has it just been across the board just no feedback?
Bobby Jo: Oh no we’ve had the leader of the Green in our own state, Tammy Franks, we’ve been working with her for nearly three years now to try and get some type of exemption. Leaving the country was our last resort.
Matthew: Sure. Yeah especially as you approach a Canadian winter I’m sure you’re thinking that more and more.
Bobby Jo: I will tell you I’m glad she’s on Canada soil because a Canadian winter on Prednisone and oxygen there was just no way.
Matthew: Oh my goodness.
Bobby Jo: We had them at the end of that.
Matthew: Well what can we do, what can listeners do to support the Fulton family here and Tabitha and Georgia Grace? I mean this is really, this is really a touching story. It’s hard to believe that governments with the flick of a pen can restrict our personal freedoms like this but I guess it’s the world we live in at the moment. But how can listeners support you Bobby Jo and Alex?
Alex: Well first of all we do have a foundation or we did start something for the girls here. Anybody who wants to help with donation, Bobby will probably know more about that. The most important thing and maybe Bobby can answer that and you can say what it is the name of the foundation or I keep forgetting the name so what was it again Bobby?
Bobby Jo: It’s the Go Fund Me page.
Alex: Yeah and any help we can get would be amazing that’s for sure. You know we’ve been doing all we can and what I’d really like the listeners if they wanted to do anything that (23:45 unclear) and that is that you should be open minded and to look into this anecdotal evidence and then see for yourself and then hopefully we can get these licensed producers or people that are producing cannabis to start doing more research and clinical trials and create like a den number so that we can get this medicine in pharmacies for these kids and it could be probably covered by the government.
But also I think if there’s anything that I ask for this whole industry is for us to come together and for us not to make people, just because they use cannabis oil, feel ostracized and put them in the same realm as a drug user or stoner when in reality they’re using it as a medicine that helps them to function through life, and I can assure you that I’ve been in this industry for a while and I’ve helped a lot of people, and they’ve actually healed me by educating me on this plant even more through seeing it happening in real life and I just think if we can share that information with everyone out there and it’s happening. The movement has started and it’s an amazing shift that’s happening right now and it’s happening around the world, and I think we should just continue on the path that we’re on and I think people are opening up. People are really looking at cannabis differently and yeah just educate yourselves and through education we can figure out more about this amazing plant that some people consider medicinal and some people call it spiritual and I’m on both camps for sure.
Matthew: Well Bobby Jo, Tabitha, Georgia Grace, Alex, Marcus thank you so much for being on CannaInsider today and sharing your story with us. We really appreciate it and we hope you Tabitha; I know Georgia Grace isn’t in the room anymore but we hope you get continued access to this medicine and there’s a quick resolution to all this for you.
Bobby Jo: (25:50 unclear)
Alex: Thank you Matt for the time and for you considering how to spread the word this is amazing. I can’t thank you enough Matt for doing this for this Fulton family. They’re a special family and we really need to get this message out there for all the families and Bobby we talk all the time and she’s getting emails from so many families here in Canada wanting to know more about what these kids are doing and how it’s affecting them and how it’s helping them now with their lung disease. So again Matt I can’t thank you enough.
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[3:27] – Fulton Family background
[4:16] – Tabitha discusses her condition without using cannabis oil
[5:59] – What is National Access Canada
[8:26] – Overview of the cannabis medicines Tabitha and Georgia Grace are on
[11:11] – Particular strains that are working better to treat the ailment
[14:02] – Biggest change in Tabitha and Georgia Grace
[14:58] – The possibility to be able to use the cannabis oil in Australia
[17:58] – What is degenerative lung disease
[19:55] – Tabitha talks about how it feels with no treatments
[22:11] – Are politicians in Australia onboard with the treatments
[23:11] – How can people support the Fulton family
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five year?Find out with your free guide at: http://www.cannainsider.com/trends