To help reduce the hundreds of seizures Mary Louise Swing suffers, her mother, Jill, planned to move the pair from South Carolina to Colorado, where Mary Louise could receive cannabidiol oil (CBD), a non-psychoactive chemical extracted from marijuana that could reduce the number of seizures she has.
Those plans were put on hold when the girl’s grandmother appealed to State Senator Tom Davis about allowing such treatment in the Palmetto State.
Davis, the Beaufort Republican, introduced a bill that would create a therapeutic research program for cannabidiol oil within the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, opening the door for the Medical University of South Carolina to administer the drug to patients like Mary Louise.
On her current medication, Mary Louise, 6, suffers between 20 and 60 seizures an hour, Swing said. Without medication, those numbers can jump to 200 seizures an hour.
Thankfully, her seizures aren’t life threatening, but they do hinder her immensely. She cannot walk or sit by herself. She needs help to stand up. She must be strapped into a feeding chair to eat. She constantly risks falling from her chair or hitting her head on her food tray from the “drop seizures” that cause her to fall.
Swing said that patients using CBD experience such relief that their seizures only occur a few times per month.
“Specialists at New York University, Johns Hopkins and MUSC said CBD oil was the first thing they had come across that works,” she said in an article from The State. “A doctor in Colorado prescribing it to her patients said that eight out of 11 patients had a seizure reduction between 98 and 100 percent.”
The cannabidiol oil, which is extracted from marijuana plants and administered orally with a syringe dropper, does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the primary psychoactive part of the cannabis plant.
Davis said Wednesday it made “zero sense” to prohibit doctors from prescribing the oil, which has no street value and no psychoactive properties.
The bill is advancing and Davis hopes that something could be signed into law by Governor Nikki Haley before the end of the 2014 legislative session.
For now, Swing and her daughter are staying home in South Carolina.
“Sen. Davis is very optimistic about the bill, so we’re going to wait it out,” Swing said. “The response to it has been very positive so far.” The move to Colorado is major, because she wouldn’t be able to leave the state with the medication.
Way to go Sen. Tom Davis!