Sophie’s Story

Sophie Isabella Ryan was born October 3, 2012, perfectly healthy weighing in at 8 pounds, 7.4 ounces. Her birth had zero complications and I had the perfect pregnancy, doing everything right by way of diet and constant checkups with my OB. On June 20, 2013, Sophie had her first MRI scan after nystagmus, shaking of the eyeball, presented in her left eye. On June 23rd, at 8 ½ months old, Sophie was diagnosed with a low-grade, Optic Pathway Glioma brain tumor. My husband, Josh, and I were originally told that her only option would be a 13-month protocol of chemo in hopes to stop the development of the tumor. Since it is a slow-growing tumor, chemo was never meant to get rid of the tumor, and doctors told us if they saw even minimal shrinkage it would be considered a huge success.

At this point, after succumbing to an emotionally devastating situation, we decided to dust ourselves off and look for other ways to save our daughter outside of just Western medicine alone! After creating a Facebook page called “Prayers for Sophie,” a friend on Facebook put us in touch with Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, who was filming a documentary about how cannabis oils kill cancer in pediatric patients. I was originally inspired to try for a natural birth after watching their first documentary, The Business of Being Born, so I knew if these ladies were now focused on a film about cannabis, there had to be something to it! These women worked hard to surround us with the top oil makers and experts in California, and so our journey to healing our daughter began!

Sophie has been on high-concentrated THC and CBD cannabis oil since she started chemo in October of 2013. The only side effects she ever had was a little sleepiness that completely went away as she acclimated to the oils. Now her only side effect is hunger, which is amazing since the chemo can affect her appetite. Despite several rounds of chemo, Sophie continued to gain weight and has a great quality of life despite having chemo once a week with short breaks from time to time. Her hair has grown back, she is advancing developmentally, and despite the nine blood transfusions she has required she is otherwise very happy and healthy.

After 13 months of chemo and high doses of cannabis oil, Sophie’s brain tumor was about 85 to 90 percent gone, and a massive cyst that had formed was about 90 percent gone! We were told that chemo would also not get rid of the cyst. We were told that Sophie would go blind in her left eye and her right eye would likely be compromised. Because of the shrinkage we have seen, we have been able to save much of her vision!

But Sophie’s story didn’t end there. Her tumor having an 85%+ recurrence rate has recurred several times. But despite these recurrences, we have continued to shrink a very difficult tumor protocol after protocol.

When Sophie began using a clinical trial drug that requires her to stop all additional medications, supplements, and vitamins, her oncology team at CHLA where she is now treated recommended we keep her on cannabis. They have watched her thrive over the years on protocols that can be very toxic. Protocols that Sophie has breezed through, often times with zero side effects at all. She is now in school with normal children her age and truly excelling. We are so proud of her every day and what she has inspired.

Because of the success, we have seen in our daughter’s 5- year battle, we have partnered with Cure Pharmaceutical here in California to fund the next 4 years of cannabis and cancer research at the Technion Institute in Israel. It’s not enough that we believe this is working, we need to KNOW that is it working and the only route to that answer is research.

Sophie finally stopped treatment after 6 long years, and was deemed a medical miracle more times than anyone can count due to her use of cannabinoid therapy alongside cancer treatments. Sophie is now part of ongoing NK Cell research led by renowned cancer research scientist Dr. Anahid Jewett at one of Southern California’s top universities. Their groundbreaking discoveries have spawned even more research on 17 cancer patients who represent all ages, many different types of cancer and are in varying stages of their treatments. The goal is to find better, less toxic treatments for patients suffering from cancer. We look forward to what the science tells us!


Weed The People
National Geographic – 7 minute piece
National Geographic  – Full documentary
Entertainment Tonight
Huffington Post: Meet Some of the Kids at the Center of the Medical Marijuana Debate
Huffington Post: Weed The People Movie Looks at Children, Cancer and Cannabis Medicine
United Patients Group
Cash Hyde Foundation
The Fifth Column News
The Stoner’s Cookbook
Hype Houston

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