Pubdate: Tue, 01 Jul 2014
Source: Star-News (Wilmington, NC)
Copyright: 2014 Wilmington Morning Star
Author: Molly Parker


Several local parents are celebrating the move by the state House and
Senate to approve oil that is derived from marijuana plants that has
shown some early success in other states treating children with severe
seizure disorders. "I was really surprised that it all happened so
quickly," said Wilmington school teacher Annetta Saggese. "Not only
could it be so incredible for our kids, but it's also refreshing to
see that it was bipartisan, that our representatives listened and took
the time and cared." Annetta and her husband Matt are the parents of
4-year-old Netta, who began having seizures at about 6 weeks old,
severely stunting her development. The StarNews featured the Saggeses
and other North Carolina families in an article in September, during
which time parents were gearing up for a fight to push legislation
legalizing what's known as CBD oil during the short session. Parents
largely connected through a Facebook page lobbied their legislators
hard, and their educational efforts paid off. The bill passed with
very little opposition, and Gov. Pat McCrory said last week that he
intended to sign it into law.

House Bill 1220 was approved by a vote of 112-1 in the House and 45-0
in the Senate. "This law will help ease the suffering endured by
children from whom no other treatments are effective against their
seizures," McCrory said in a statement. "I want to congratulate the
General Assembly for crafting a bill that not only improves the lives
of many North Carolina children and their parents, but also provides
common sense regulation and facilitates clinical research at our major
research universities."

The bill requires that families and their neurologists register with
the state before administering the CBD oil. CBD stands for cannabidiol
and is a derivative of the plant that is not psychoactive. It is the
tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, component of marijuana that makes one
high. Clinical research trials are expected at Duke University, the
University of North Carolina, Wake Forest University and East Carolina
University, under the bill's proposal. Once signed by the governor,
the law would be effective upon the Department of Health and Human
Services approving rules for the pilot study.

Saggese said the fact that the bill was passed with so little
resistance a sign "our government isn't falling apart. Democracy
works." "It gives us a lot of hope," she said. "I think there's going
to be a lot of people who want their children to be in a clinical
trial. If we're able to use it we will absolutely try it."

Tiffany Maryon, of Leland, is another pleased parent hopeful about the
benefits of CBD oil.

Her daughter, 4-year-old Amya Barnhill, began having seizures at 28
days old. She has tried a cocktail of medications with little to no
success. While some families have moved to Colorado to access the oil,
Maryon said that wasn't an option for them because of the expense. "We
are so thankful and grateful they have passed the use of CBD oil
here," she said. "Now our children can have a chance at a normal life,
and still be around their family and loved ones."

She called the oil a "miracle medication." "I want to (say) thank you
to all that made this possible for my daughter and every other child
that is suffering from these horrible monsters," she said. One mother
that did move to Colorado to access the treatment is Liz Gorman of
Raleigh. She said the positive impact the oil has had on her young
daughter Maddie has been "surprising." But she's eager to get back
home, where her husband has remained for work.

"The option to continue treatment at home in North Carolina is a truly
unexpected blessing," Gorman said.
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