He is an active four-year-old from Morton who loves playing with his toys, but he also has Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy, that causes constant seizure activity in his brain.
“There is no cure for it now. It’s just a lot of different medications that you can try that will control the seizures, but they’re never just totally controlled,” Owen’s mom Stephanie Sailors said.
Owen takes three different medications on a daily basis plus up to two more when he is actually having a seizure.
But he still has up to three serious seizures in a week. These medications have harmful side effects including organ damage, rotting teeth and behavioral issues.
“Some parents start their children on any of them and immediately say that they’ve turned into like monsters,” Sailors said.
But Sailors sees one possible solution to help limit Owen’s seizures without the side effects: medical marijuana.
Just yesterday, Governor Pat Quinn added some new criteria to the state’s medical marijuana act, allowing children under the age of 18 to be prescribed the drug with a parent’s consent. Seizures have also been added to the list of medical conditions qualifying a patient for the prescription.
“I’ve seen kids that start medical marijuana in other states, and they just become like new children,” she said.
Before the new legislation, Owen had already qualified for a trial through his doctor in Chicago to take medical cannabis made in a pharmacy in another country, and Sailors thinks this will get Owen the relief he needs before waiting for all the logistics from the state law to pan out.
She said she hopes the medical marijuana will replace some of his other medications and slow down his little body.
“It’s the safest thing we have right now, and it’s the one thing that hasn’t been legalized until, I guess, yesterday,” she said.
While children under 18 can now qualify for medical marijuana, the Illinois rules and regulations are still in the works, but the state legislation will go into effect come January 2015.
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