State News
1:00 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Medical Marijuana For Juvenile Epilepsy Moves Forward

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 12:43 pm

  As Illinois' medical marijuana pilot program is still getting up and running, lawmakers are already looking to add a new category of patient: children with epilepsy.

At just two months old, Michaela Frederick's tiny body suffered up to 100 seizures a day. A lack of oxygen to her brain at birth is thought to have caused her severe epilepsy.

Traditional FDA-approved drugs have been able to cut that number of seizures in half. But her father, Adam Frederick, says they put Michaela in a vegetative state.

"You know, when they're on these cocktails of pharma-meds, they're drug addicts," he said. "She was living in a fog."

When the Fredericks, from Washington, Illinois, temporarily moved to Denver for work, Colorado's legalization of marijuana presented a new treatment option: cannabis oil.

Since beginning treatment in January, Frederick says Michaela, now age two, has had a dramatic recovery. Some days she has no seizures.

"You see it in her eyes," he said. "We're starting to meet Michaela for the first time and she's so much happier. And it's been amazing."

The measure has bipartisan support and is awaiting a vote in the Illinois House.

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