Dying Florida boy receives full-strength medical cannabis

A fifteen-year-old suffering from an incurable brain tumor became one of the first patients in Florida to receive a full-strength medical cannabis product on Monday.

Juan Isaiah Cruz III, who also goes by Juju, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Spindle Cell Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer, in August 2014.

After multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and visits to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Tennessee, his doctors have referred him to hospice care.

Because doctors believe he has less than one year to live, he is eligible to use the full-strength marijuana spray that was produced and delivered by Surterra Therapeutics.

Cruz’s mother, Jacqueline Cuevas, said the hope is that the cannabis will help shrink the tumor, ease his pain, and make him less dependent on drugs, like morphine.

“This has been a major blessing,” Cuevas said.

It took Cruz and Cuevas a lot of time and research to find a doctor who would recommend medical cannabis.

“We didn’t want to give up,” Cruz said.

They eventually found Dr. Joseph Rosado in Orange City.

Florida law required Cruz to wait 90 days after his first visit with Rosado before he could receive the medical marijuana.

There were times when it wasn’t clear if Cruz would make it to delivery day.

“This is the kind of case you never hope to have, but Juju is a fighter and he can be an example of why we should allow more patients to have quicker access,” Rosado said. 

If voters pass Amendment 2 tomorrow that 90-day rule will still apply, but more people will be able to use medical cannabis.

And that is why Cruz decided delivery day was also a day to speak up for something he believes in by inviting reporters into his home to share his struggles and his hopes.