I first met Mike Robinson when discussing a previous High Times article on cannabis use and depression and was amazed by what he shared about his own life and the power that the plant had on him.
The former civil rights lobbyist and law professional has always had a passion for children, especially those in need. Robinson’s lobbying and legal work saw him advocating for children with different needs for over 20 years. He has also volunteered for charities aiding children and animals. Robinson also suffers from epilepsy himself and understands the limitations it can put on a person.
In recent years, Robinson has become the director of communications for the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine and is the founder of the Global Cannabinoid Research Center.
It was his work as the founder, director and in-person provider for the American Cannabis Compassion Alliance, which went to families across California and provided them with cannabis medication when in need. Robinson himself would travel the state from his Los Angeles by train to meet with patients. Due to his epilepsy, he was not able to drive himself.
Robinson’s work left him fielding calls and messages all day and night. Often, he would have his two phones on silent when going to bed. By chance, this one night in 2016 would be different.
While trying to sleep for a long train ride in the morning for work, he received a frantic message from a mother, Anne Mari, who found Robinson’s information through a Facebook search CBD and epilepsy. She was calling about her daughter, Genevieve.
Genevieve’s story extends beyond epilepsy and involves a painful misdiagnosis at age two. Anne Mari explained that she had taken her daughter to the doctor several times out of concern, but was turned away, with the doctor telling her she had nothing to worry about. However, when Genevieve suffered her first grand mal seizure at two years old, doctors said treatment would not reverse the brain damage she experienced due to frequent seizures.
After some time on medications, she began to be weaned off in 2015. However, things would not be positive for too long.
That night, Anne Mari messaged Mike and told him that she had been given a gram of CBD by a friend and wasn’t sure how to give it to her daughter, who has severe autism, epilepsy and O.C.D. Additionally, Genevieve suffered from frequent grand mal seizures and excessive “digging” into her own skin, among other awful side effects.
The results were so debilitating that she would only be allowed back in school if UCLA medical professionals signed off.
“Genevieve was going to be held back even in 8th grade after over a year of using oils, but the entire educational and therapy team made the decision with us that it was time to get her into high school,” Anne Mari explained.
Robinson fit the family into his schedule the next day.
“I was very concerned because the medication she was taking directly contradicted with CBD and could actually cause more seizures….They were psychotropic medications that an autistic child doesn’t need to be on. So I wanted to be there immediately, you know, to see what would happen,” Robinson recalled.
The next day, he arrived to find Anne Mari distressed as her daughter suffered another grand mal seizure. “When he got here that day,” Anne Marie recalled, “we had already been to the doctor that morning because she was so bad. A doctor was so troubled by Genevieve. She went to her purse, that of her own personal money. She took a $50 pill because she knew I was very financially strapped since her father died and she said, ‘I want you to get this kid to UCLA immediately and get a second opinion.’”
This dire situation led Robinson to feel a sense of urgency he had never felt before. He saw that the CBD Anne Mari had been given was around 80% potent and would be too strong to administer to a child orally.
Instead, Robinson went to his car and got a THC “rescue oil.” He gave the mother the standard warning that he is not a medical professional and that risks were present. In need of relief for her daughter, Anne Mari approved. They both said she responded immediately and was back on her feet.
Genevieve/ Courtesy of Mike Robinson
What happened next brought tears to the whole house: Genevieve got up and walked to her room with an iPad. Mike turned to see Anne Mari crying. “I actually asked her not to call the police,” he recalled with a laugh. She was crying because Genevieve could barely stand, much less walk to her room, on the cocktail of drugs she had been prescribed.
Not only that, she was humming as well. Robinson learned that it was the sound Genevieve made when she was happy; a sound the family had not heard in ages. After losing her father at a young age and having to take numerous medications, Genevieve was finally humming her happy tune again.
Robinson checked in the next day and stayed in touch with the family, as he did with other families he worked with. But something connected deeper with Genevieve than other clients. The same would be said for him and Anne Mari, who slowly began to form a deeper bond.
The two took it slow at first. After three months of dating in 2016, Robinson visited for Christmas. He didn’t leave until the 10th of January.
“I came in and stayed for those two weeks and that’s when we became a family,” he said.
A few days after leaving, Anne Mari and Genevieve’s older sister, Fatima, would tell Robinson that Genevieve wanted him around. This was made clear by the videos of her referring to him as “Daddy.”
While California’s Prop 64 ended Robinson’s compassion service, there is plenty of good news to celebrate. Three years since the first meeting, the entire family now puts their faith in cannabinoids to treat their various conditions. Robinson reported, “Genevieve is off all pharmaceuticals. I’ve quit opioids. Anne Mari used to drink, and she just celebrated two years sober…all using cannabinoid medicine.”
In addition to excellent health news, Genevieve is in school and will turn 16 in August. Meanwhile, Mike and Anne Mari have gotten engaged.
Robinson explained how the family is doing much better these days. “We’re growing as a family. I think the love is just incredible.” He added, “It shines through because every element, as much as we have flaws and defects, we just shower with compassion and love from the inside. This whole family started with love. So, every time we have a problem, that’s what steps in and solves it.”
Today, the family continues to advocate for children in need and for education about the benefits of cannabinoid treatment. To learn more about Mike Robinson, Genevieve, and others using cannabinoid treatments, visit Mike’s Medicines, the blog Robinson operates.