Tens of thousands of Texans with a loved one suffering from epilepsy are now waiting to see what Governor Abbott will do. The legislature has sent to his desk a bill that would permit the medical use of marijuana oils to treat intractable epilepsy. The question is, will he sign it or veto it?
150,000 Texans suffer epileptic seizures, young and adult. There are families like Jim and Katie Graham. Their five year old son Eliot has them. They are supporting the Compassionate Use Act, to allow those patients to use cannabis oil. They’ve watched fourteen other states approve such a law. The cannabis oil has little THC content, the stuff that gives pot smokers their buzz. But it has been proven nearly 100% effective stopping seizures. The Grahams say Eliot’s seizures began when he was two.
Katie Graham, Eliot’s mother, recalls, “He was a typically developing two year old. Played, loved to be with his brother, very social and smiley. Then the seizures started. They are extremely debilitating. He was having them all day, clusters of ten a day, eight jerks in a cluster, 80 to 90 seizures in a day. We tried medication after medication, they did not work.”
The cannabis oil could only be used if a patient did not see results from at least two medications and has the approval of two physicians. Several doctors testified on behalf of the bill. The Grahams say other medications have side effects or simply do not work. Katie Graham says, “It’s a hard, sad moment when the doctor tells you well, it’s time to try the drugs you tried before, again. It’s a really hopeless moment. So we’re really hoping to have access to this high CBD oil. And give Eliot a chance.”
Texas is one of sixteen states where marijuana is illegal for medical and recreational use. Although some critics argued the law would open the barn door for other uses of marijuana, the Compassionate Use Act cleared both the House and Senate easily this session, now it is up to the governor.