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Oil from a specific marijuana plant has shown great promise in improving the quality of life for children with Dravet Syndrome, a rare and debilitating illness with no known cure. To the frustration of these children who suffer with frequent seizures and their parents, the medication is illegal in most U.S. states.
People who take the oil do not get high because it has very low levels of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. According to a Colorado marijuana grower, “recreational marijuana averages about 15 percent THC and can be as high as 25 to 30 percent.” A special strain of marijuana used for the medication has only 0.03 percent THC but it’s high in cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive ingredient shown to have therapeutic benefits.
Marijuana oil is legal in Colorado. Some desperate families have moved to the state so that their child could take the promising medication called Realm Oil.
One of those parents is Raleigh mother Liz Gorman who moved to Colorado in December. Her daughter Maddie was averaging roughly 100 seizures every single day before the move. Now, in Colorado, Maddie takes the Realm Oil three times a day.
Her progress has been wonderful.
“As far as her development is concerned, it does feel like a miracle,” her mother said. “Her morning cluster that used to have 30 (seizures) in it … that went away almost immediately."
"The biggest changes we’ve seen are in her alertness, her awareness and her ability to learn new tasks," Gorman added. "And she has made more progress in one month with fine motor skills than she’s made in five years."
Another young girl named Charlotte went from having 1,200 seizures a month to about 3 or 4 after taking the oil.
However, not every family can afford to move across the country for the medication. And it’s ridiculous that families have to move thousands of miles away so that their child can take a beneficial medication. The Gorman family has been a tremendous amount of sacrifices for their daughter’s wellbeing. The family has been geographically split up—Maddie’s father had to stay home in North Carolina for his job.
In North Carolina, there’s a 5-year-old girl named Zora who has up to 40 seizures every day. The family is out of options. They have “tried 14 different medications, various diets, vitamins and supplements, but they’ve had little to no effect on their daughter’s condition.”
They want to try the marijuana oil—but the state government says no.
“My heart’s breaking because my daughter can’t get this right now,” said Zora’s father. “We need this today. We need this now. (Zora) doesn’t have time. She doesn’t have time to wait. Tomorrow can be her last day.”
How can anyone think that outlawing a medication that has helped seizure-stricken children is a good thing?
The good news is numerous state lawmakers are seeking to legalize marijuana oil for children with severe epilepsy. Bills in Kentucky and Alabama to legalize marijuana oil have passed and are expected to be signed by the governors. Utah also recently passed a law allowing families to legally transport marijuana oil into the state. In North Carolina, Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret) is planning on introduction a bill to legalize the oil.
The government should get out of the way and let people make their own health decisions. Watching your child suffer with such an awful illness must be unbearable. It’s unconscionable that the government is denying these families a medication that could greatly improve their lives.