A Madison family has ended up in the middle of Alabama's medical marijuana debate.
Madison mom Gena Dalton and her daughter Charlotte are constantly fighting seizures caused by Charlotte's Dravet Syndrome. Medications notwithstanding, Gena finds herself calling her doctor more often.
During a recent seizure, Gena said Charlotte stopped breathing. "It pretty much scared me to death. I thought she was going to die. That's when he said, ‘You know, there's a few studies going on in another state, maybe you should look into it.'"
Those studies involve CBD oil, made from a strain of cannabis – marijuana, and illegal in Alabama. In the upcoming session, the state legislature will take up a bill sponsored by Madison Representative Mike Ball to legalize CBD oil, which may help with seizures, but does not provide a high.
It's called "Carly's Law" for a Shelby County girl battling a similar seizure disease. Representative Phil Williams said that if it truly helps people, he hopes the legislature will give Carly's Law a serious look.
The Daltons acknowledge that even if they succeed, there are no guarantees. They say it is an effort worth making.
"There's a very real possibility that it won't work. If it doesn't, then we'll just take the next steps and try the next round of drugs. Hopefully it's enough to keep her out of the hospital and keep her alive," Gena said.
A Redstone chemist and former cheerleader, Gena said her own situation seems pretty strange, but "when the seizures start coming every day, and you're sitting there holding her saying ‘hang with me baby, just stay with me…' you get to the point that I would try this."
The Daltons said they are seriously considering a move, at least temporarily, to Colorado, where CBD oil is legal. Some families have already relocated there to get treatment for their children. Gena said that in children who have tried it, the oil has an 85% success rate in stopping seizures.
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