Parents of six-year-old medical marijuana user calling for legal access to marijuana oil
Published Friday, July 25, 2014 6:59PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 27, 2014 10:03AM EDT
The parents of six-year-old Ottawa Constance Bay boy who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy are desperately calling for changes to Canada's medicinal marijuana laws.
Liam McKnight's parents are breaking the rule by giving him marijuana oil to help treat his severe seizures.
Liam has Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that causes him to suffer violent seizures, sometimes dozens a day.
But under Heath Canada rules, licensed producers can only produce and distribute dried marijuana.
Liam’s mother Mandy McKnight says her son is technically only allowed to smoke it or vaporize it.
But she doesn’t want Liam smoking marijuana, and she says he wouldn’t be able to anyway.
Liam is developmentally delayed, and his mother says he would not understand how to inhale it.
McKnight says the best way for Liam to receive the medical benifits of the drug is to ingest it as an oil, not to smoke it.
The strain of marijuana Liam is taking is higher in CBD, the compound that helps him, and very low in THC, the compound that produces the drug's "high" effects.
Liam's mom says they have tried several different medications to treat Liam’s seizures, and so far marijuana oil has been their best defence against them.
Liam’s parents are calling on the federal government to make medicinal marijuana oil legal.
Right now, they must go through the costly and lengthy process of buying the dried marijuana, having it converted into oil, then tested to check its properties so they can determine the proper dosage to give Liam.
They say they don’t know how long they can sustain that.
According to Health Canada, “current regulations for clinical trials would allow a sponsor to propose a clinical trial for extracts of cannabis. A manufacturer or another sponsor (e.g., a physician or treatment centre) can submit a clinical trial application to Health Canada at any time.”
But the McNights say they don’t have time to wait for a clinical trial.
They say last year, 14 children in their Dravet Syndrome support group passed away.
They want Liam to have easier access to the oil so his quality of life can be improved.
“I don’t understand why Health Canada is preventing him from accessing a medication that could potentially save his life, or extend it for a very long period of time,” Mandy McKnight said.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to just give him a break, and give him a chance to just be a kid,” she said. “I think it’s a viable treatment option, and he deserves a chance to try it.”