This young entrepreneur is ahead of her time! Go. Rylie GO!

Excerpts from the Article: 

In a field in rural Northampton County, thousands of green hemp shoots raise their spiky leaves toward the sky.

The fledgling plants belong to 14year-old Rylie Maedler, who says medicine made from plants like these gave her a renewed chance at normal life, childhood and a beautiful smile. Now, she wants to help do the same for others.

Rylie is CEO of Rylie’s Sunshine, a cannabis research and development company, and the founder of the Rylie’s Smile Foundation nonprofit. With her new Virginia hemp farm, she hopes to improve the quality of medicine available to pediatric patients who can benefit from medical cannabis, just like she did.

In 2013, when Rylie was seven, her painful, shifting teeth seemed at first to only indicate that she’d need braces. When her teeth started rapidly falling out and her face started changing shape, her parents realized something was very wrong. Numerous doctor’s visits later, Rylie had a diagnosis: aggressive giant cell granuloma, an ultra-rare degenerative bone disease that behaves similarly to cancer. With the tumors threatening to cause facial deformities and her daughter experiencing painful seizures, Rylie’s mother, Janie, was desperate for solutions.

After learning that cannabis oil could help with bone regeneration, the Rehoboth Beach family began giving Rylie cannabis oil. Though Delaware has allowed medical uses of marijuana since 2011, administering the drug to children was illegal at the time.

The bones in Rylie’s face began to show signs of regeneration and her seizures significantly dialed back. Today, the teen continues to take cannabis oil several times a day and is maintaining good health. 

In the aftermath, Rylie and Janie successfully lobbied the Delaware state legislature to legalize cannabis oil for the treatment of several intractable illnesses in children and to make it legal for children taking medical marijuana to do so on school property.

Now, Rylie is embarking on a new mission: Through her nonprofit and forprofit, Rylie and Janie have set their sights on several research and development targets that will improve the world of medical cannabis and help other sick children. The mother-and-daughter duo acquired the farmland in Birdsnest and, this month, they oversaw the planting of Rylie’s first full field of hemp. The 4,884 plants that went in the ground July 3 were donated by Front Range Biosciences, a Colorado agricultural biotech company, and will be used for research and to make CBD oil that will be donated to children in need.

Hemp, a plant in the cannabis family, is bred to have much lower levels of THC — the active ingredient that gives people a high. Hemp is legal to grow in most states under strict rules and can be used for a variety of industrial applications in addition to its medical uses.

The term “medical cannabis” encompasses the medicinal applications of a variety of compounds contained in the cannabis plant, including both CBD and THC.

“It gave me my life back, my childhood back and my smile,” Rylie said. “I am living proof that cannabis is a real medicine that can save lives.”

Cannabis-based medicine can be effective on a number of conditions, though most of what is known is based on anecdotes or observation of patients, said Dr. Patricia Frye, medical director of Takoma Park Integrative Care and one of nation’s top physicians specializing in medical cannabis. The reason why has to do with how various compounds in cannabis interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a modulating system the body uses to stay healthy, Frye said.

“It’s present in everything from jellyfish to humans,” she said. “And, really, the whole purpose is to maintain what we call homeostasis, so it interacts with almost every neurotransmitter and hormone — every regulatory system — in the body.” Cannabis contains about 500 different compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenoids, flavonoids and omega fatty acids. About 150 of them are unique to the cannabis plant, said Frye, who is also associate professor of medical cannabis science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. The compounds THC and CBD are usually the most abundant, and, therefore, also the most well-known, but other major types include CBG, CBC and THCV. So far, the only compound found to be psychoactive is THC — and then only if it is heated, Frye said.

Beyond her new farm, Rylie has her sights on more policy changes on pediatric use of medical marijuana.

“I want Rylie’s Law to be a federal law,” she said, referring to her Delaware namesake regulation that extends medical marijuana use to pediatric patients. “I don’t want children to be overlooked, and everyone deserves to have a medicine that helps them the best.”

She says the current programs shown to her annually in school health class rely on scare tactics, like saying that cannabis causes people to lose IQ points, to convince kids not to try recreational drugs. “The current scare tactics they’re using, it can give children the wrong idea about children who take it as a medicine,” Rylie said.

According to Frye, the brain is still developing up until about age 25, and too much THC exposure has been found to interfere with brain development, which is why there is so much emphasis on protecting young people. However, moderate amounts of THC have not been found to be detrimental, she said — and for patients with very serious medical conditions, the medicinal benefit of THC is weighed against the risk of developmental problems, Frye said.

“Rylie is an honors student who has full (CT) scans regularly to make sure her brain is developing normally,” Porter wrote.

“She’s living proof that there exists a place in modern pediatrics medicine for cannabis and that so much of the information out there is just plain inaccurate.”

“I almost cried that day,” she said. “But, every year that I’ve seen it, I get used to it, sadly. I can’t really cry about it any more. I just want to fix this for everyone else who’s going through this.”

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