Mom Finds Pot Reduces Her Son’s Dravet Syndrome Seizures by 90 Per Cent
Mandy McKnight had tried more than 10 medications to control the seizures of her seven-year-old son, who suffers from Dravet syndrome.
Two years ago, she decided to try medical marijuana. It reduced her son Liam’s seizures by 90%, she said.
But obtaining Liam’s medical marijuana, which he consumes in an oil form, wasn’t easy.
McKnight didn’t want Liam, who was five years old at the time, to smoke his medical marijuana, but that was the only legal way to consume it.
McKnight was illegally turning Liam’s marijuana into oil at home.
Eventually, the issue went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in June that he could consume his medical marijuana in an edible form.
McKnight recalls the first day she decided to try medical marijuana. That was two years ago, when Liam was having 70 seizures, lasting average of three minutes, in one day.
“All he was doing was lying on the couch, seizing … he was basically just catatonic on the couch,” McKnight said.
Now, with medical marijuana, Liam has days where he’s seizure-free. When he does have a seizure, it would be once a day, only lasting about 10 seconds, McKnight said.
“I’ve gotten accustomed to things being good,” she said. “It’s not perfect … but he (Liam) is doing amazing.“
Liam is off the other medications he took before marijuana, a cocktail of Valproic Acid, Clonazepam and Stiripentol, which comes with a handful of side effects including aggression, anxiety, drooling and loss of appetite, according to McKnight.
While it’s now legal for Liam to take his medication in oil form, there’s currently no medical marijuana producer in Canada distributing marijuana oil.
For now, McKnight is still making marijuana oil at home, though legally. She makes the oil at home, sends the content to a lab in British Columbia to ensure it’s the right dosage of chemicals for Liam.
Since getting the go-ahead to produce marijuana in oil form, licensed producers are in the process of launching new products and waiting for Health Canada inspection.
Canopy Growth Corp., based in Smiths Falls, got the green light to launch an oil-based product in August, according to company president Mark Zekulin.
The company is hoping to start selling oil products by the end of year, but that depends on how soon they can launch a new product and get inspected by Health Canada.
Meanwhile, McKnight said she gets tons of emails from other parents asking about medical marijuana for children.
“Compared to where we were two years ago … it’s been leaps and bounds,” McKnight said. “I don’t think cannabis is a cure but it’s a viable treatment.“