Parents of epileptic kids say cannabis oil could be saving grace - - Jackson, MS

Parents of epileptic children say cannabis oil could be saving grace

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi could become the 23rd state in the country to legalize the use of cannabis oil as a treatment for epilepsy. It would require federal approval. But getting it passed through the legislature was the first hurdle.

"Any seizure could be Harper Grace's last," explained Ashley Durval. "And it doesn't have to take a bad one."

Ashley Durval's daughter harper grace has suffered from seizures since she was 6 months old.

"She seizes for two to three hours at a time," she said.

Now two-years-old, her family has learned she has a rare disease called Dravet Syndrome. While the length of the seizures has gone down, she is having them more frequently. That's all despite the four medicines they give her on a daily basis.

"It's just been a series of different medications," said Durval. "A lot of them don't work. We're kind of on our last one as far as anti-seizure medications."

It was stories like Harper Grace's that fueled Senator Josh Harkins' push for the cannabis oil legislation.

"When you see how just at the end of the rope they are, to give them the opportunity to have hope that this may effect their lives in a positive manner, it's been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had up here," Harkins described.

He wants to make one point clear.

"It's not recreational marijuana," he said. "It's not medical marijuana. And people are confused about that."

It's different than marijuana because it has extremely low levels of the property called THC that makes people high.

"The only way this drug is administered is orally," Harkins described. "It's either given in drops under the tongue or in food. So it's not anything you smoke or a pill you take."

If made law, the oil will be extracted at the ole miss facility and only administered at the UMMC with a doctor's approval. It's something Ashley Durval is willing to try for Harper Grace.

"Why not? We don't have any other things to try and we've heard so many different success stories from people that were way worse off than her."

Earlier this week, Governor Bryant said he wants to make sure there are tight controls in place. He added that he'll look at the bill closely and will likely sign it.

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