Medical marijuana can be a lifeline for sick kids [Letter]

I am at Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., with my three-year-old twin sons Nicolas and Byron, whom we call Nico and Bebo. They are recovering from feeding tube surgery, which they had to get because seizures are robbing them of the ability to eat. They both have Miller-Dieker Syndrome, a rare genetic condition, and are on multiple seizure medicines. These medicines can cause peripheral blindness, rages, sluggishness, addiction and liver toxicity.

I first learned about medical marijuana for epilepsy on Sanjay Gupta's "Weed" special on CNN. I watched the story of little Charlotte Figi with avid interest — she was having life-threatening seizures caused by Dravet Syndrome until her parents put her on a dietary marijuana extract made from a strain of medical cannabis that was high in a compound called Cannabidiol but low in Tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that makes people high. Charlotte's parents reported near complete seizure reduction with no side effects. Charlotte lives in Colorado.

I decided to learn everything I could about this therapy. I met parents whose children are having similar success in states like Colorado and California. I read scientific literature and surveys that showed Cannabidiol's antispasmodic and anticonvulsant properties. I realized that medical marijuana was saving lives, and that we need access in Maryland.

Over 90 percent of Marylanders believe medical marijuana should be legal. Members of the Maryland legislature are working on bills this session that would allow for epilepsy to be an eligible condition to receive this medicine. Del. Dan Morhaim is working on such a bill. Medical marijuana is not the same as recreational marijuana legalization. I am convinced now that medical marijuana will save the lives of children like Nico and Bebo.

Shannon Moore

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