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Des Moines Register article on Health Vs. Culture War: Denying Epileptic Children Cannabis is “Immoral”

Rekha Basu has an article out in the Des Moines Register today about marijuana and epilepsy. From — When Marijuana is About Health, Not a Culture War:

Maria La France of Des Moines holds a basket of her epileptic son's medications as she gives a testimony during a forum about medical cannabis at the Iowa City Public Library in Iowa City on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.

Maria La France of Des Moines holds a basket of her epileptic son’s medications as she gives a testimony during a forum about medical cannabis at the Iowa City Public Library in Iowa City on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.

Maria La France, a Des Moines mother and small-business owner who doesn’t use drugs, wishes she could legally get her hands on marijuana for her 12-year-old son — not to endanger but to protect him.

You would, too, in her shoes.

Quincy is epileptic. He started having seizures at 5 months old, and has as many as 17 in a day. They block oxygen to his brain. Over time, the organs shut down, prompting lung, kidney or heart failure. He has to wear a helmet and be in a wheelchair much of the time because of the risk of falling. None of the drugs he’s been prescribed — steroids and non-seizure drugs, morphine, beta blockers, dopamine, baclofen, Zoloft — have stopped his seizures. Some worsened them, or damaged his brain. One caused him to stop walking and talking for over a year.

Then, three months ago, La France read an article about marijuana’s capacity to prevent epileptic seizures, and saw the CNN documentary “Weed,” in which Dr. Sanjay Gupta reconsiders his opposition to medical marijuana. And La France, who “hated marijuana,” began to have a change of heart herself…”

“Another Iowa family had to split up to get Cannabidiol treatment for their 9-year-old son — who has a rare type of pediatric epilepsy — after nothing else stopped his seizures. The father and son moved to Colorado while the mother and younger son remain here, because her job provides their health insurance. In just three weeks the mother, who wants to remain anonymous, says her son has had 10 seizure-free days.

In an open letter to Iowa policymakers, she urged them to see past their reservations, and “instead, see my child.” She wrote, “Please do not make us leave Iowa behind to make this a reality.” — — When Marijuana is About Health, Not a Culture War

I’ve embedded Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary below. Follow WeedPress on Facebook for more. On December 2nd, Senator Joe Bolkcom is hosting Dr. Steve Jenison at the Des Moines Public Library for a “Sensible Conversation about Medical Cannabis” at 6:00 pm. Please join us. If you’re a patient who would like to share your story without fear of persecution, please email me at jkarimi2007@hotmail.com, or write to me on the WeedPress Facebook page. I’ll post your story anonymously on WeedPress — and make sure Legislators hear it this next session.

Thanks for reading.

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