February 15, 2023
DR Annabelle Manalo-Morgan hopes her first book — Mighty Flower: How Cannabis Saved My Son — will provide more insight into the benefits of medicinal cannabis.
“This book was written to be a light, a hope, and to educate on the future of medicine. It speaks to the history of cannabis and acknowledges the bigger picture, which are gaps in the translation from bench to medicine to patient care. Science is so advanced, but are we implementing it in the best way possible in real time? Science can be more translational and applied to natural medicines in order to offer a more personalised, precision-based experience to people globally,” Dr Manalo-Morgan told the Jamaica Observer.
Released on February 7 by Forbes Books, the project took approximately three years to complete. It tells the story of how Manalo-Morgan — founder and chief scientific officer of Masaya Medical in Tennessee — devolved the purest and most consistent form of cannabidiol to treat her son, Macario, who was gravely ill at birth. It took her less than one month.
“Macario had a stroke at birth followed by uncontrollable seizures. At five-weeks-old, 38 per cent of his brain was removed. He’s missing brain on the left side. He was predicted to have paralysis on the right side of his body and be extremely mentally challenged. I formulated a medicine for him and took him off all medications at seven months old. He’s a normal boy today,” she explained.
The doctor — whose husband is Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage — said the medication was administered orally through a tincture dropper and today, he is a healthy, seven-year-old first-grader.
Manalo-Morgan hails from Canada. She received her bachelor’s in biology from Eastern Kentucky University and began her graduate studies in neuroscience at Georgetown University, ultimately earning a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Vanderbilt University.
She hails her husband — whom she met through a mutual friend and later wed in Nashville, Tennessee — as most supportive.
“There are no words for how supportive Gramps is. He’s my corner man in the ring, the largest pillar of our foundation, our home; and [he] sustains me. I wouldn’t be on this particular career path without him. I’d be a scientist, of course, but not to this magnitude,” she said.
Dr Manalo-Morgan said she is no stranger to Jamaica or its music.
“Jamaica is home. I was in Jamaica last month and will return to St Thomas in March to honour the one-year ascending of Papa Ras Denroy Morgan [reggae singer and father of the Morgan Heritage clan]. My favourite thing about Jamaica is the energy and the vibe. There are not many places that you go where you love the food, the air, the music, the people, and the sun — all at one time,” she said.
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