RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday signed into law a bill that allows the use of cannabidiol, an oil that contains a compound found in marijuana that is used for the medical treatment of seizures.
Last week, the measure passed by a unanimous vote in the Senate at a 112-1 vote in the House. Gov. McCrory said the bill is a blessing for families with children suffering from seizures that have no other medical options.
Physicians also would be required to participate in a state pilot study of the oil.
The bill originally proposed the oil to become legal on Oct. 1, but lawmakers moved up the date to allow families to start using it as soon as health officials draft rules for a pilot study.
Under the proposed law, families and their neurologists must register with the state to possess and administer the oil.
The legislation also called on local universities to study the effects of the oil.
Bob Buckley recently spoke to a Greensboro family that said they plan to move to Colorado to seek treatment for their son. Preston has a condition called Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy which produces dozens – even hundreds – of seizures a day.
Dravet syndrome, also known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (SMEI), is a rare and catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy. Initial seizures are most often prolonged events and in the second year of life other seizure types begin to emerge.
Preston’s condition has not improved in recent months.
The condition is stunting Preston’s neural development and his doctor at UNC School of Medicine has run out of tools to fight it.
“He has literally been treated with every anti-convulsive that we have… and we truly have not found anything that will control his seizures,” says Dr. Robert Greenwood.
Preston’s mother is desperate to find something while there is still time for his brain to develop. The only hopeful treatment Ana has found is in a medicine made from marijuana, called “Charlotte’s Web,” which is beginning to show results in children with severe epilepsy.
Almost all of the THC — the main ingredient doctors worry about in this kind of treatment — has been removed from the oil.
Dr. Greenwood says there are studies on it that just got underway to see if it is truly safe and effective.
“No, it’s not a miracle drug and it’s not a cure. There are cases where it’s not going to work. But how could you pass up that possibility to give your children life?” Watson says