Thursday, Oct 23, 2014
Carmi Boy Part of Medical Marijuana Trial Group
WHITE CO. -- Illinois is starting a medical marijuana program, but it's slow going. People will have to wait until next year before the drug is readily available. In the meantime, a Carmi boy is part of a small group already taking marijuana.
Bryant Weasel is part of a clinical study at Lurie's Children's Hospital. His family wasn't entirely sold on the idea of medical marijuana at first. However, Bryant has a rare condition and nothing else has worked.
By all accounts, Bryant is full of energy.
"He's a very busy boy," said his mother, Amy Weasel.
He's also not what you'd expect when you picture a 10-year-old who takes medical marijuana twice a day.
"He's still just as active as he's always been," said Weasel. "We've had no slowdown."
Weasel has watched Bryant go through treatment after treatment since being diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome at the age of two.
"There's thought to be about less than a 1000 cases in the whole world," said Weasel.
The condition leads to seizures. They sometimes come in clusters or sometimes last for more than two hours. There's always a threat that Bryant might stop breathing.
"It's difficult," said Weasel. "You never know when he's going to have one. It's not something that you ever get used to."
After experimenting with a dozen different medications, Weasel saw a support group posting about medical marijuana helping with seizures.
"You want it very, very low in THC and very high in CBD," said Weasel.
The family considered moving to a state where the drug is already legal. That's when they found out about a clinical study with Bryant's neurologist in Chicago.
"We're traveling up there about every two weeks," said Weasel.
During each visit, they're given the next doses of cannabis. Epidiolex is a medical marijuana oil with strawberry flavoring.
"Morning and night, just like his regular anti-epileptic drugs," said Weasel.
Bryant is now six weeks into the year-long trial. It's too soon to know whether the medical marijuana is making a difference, but Amy wants to see more doctors researching the drug.
"Very hopeful," said Weasel, "because we're kind of at the end of our options."
Bryant hasn't seen any major side effects from the medical marijuana. His family isn't sure whether he'll be allowed to keep taking the medication after the study is over.
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