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article imageAn angel becomes an Oklahoman cannabis refugee Special

By Ben Morris     Jun 29, 2014 in Health
Tulsa - Brittany Hardy-Warrior has left her home to treat her child with an illegal drug that prevents seizures like no pharmaceutical drug can. Hardy-Warrior has taken the fight to Gov. Mary Fallin to legalize medical marijuana so her family can return home.
Since she was five months old, Jaqie Angel-Warrior has been to the hospital more than 20 times. Suffering from 150 seizures a day, the baby sister of a family of six was in terrible shape. After dozens of medications gave her terrible side affects, to go along with making her seizures worse, her parents ran out of options.
Jaqie has been diagnosed with some sort of deadly epileptic disease which has no cure. Suffering from multiple seizure types, Jaqie was not developing like a normal child. Doctors think she may be suffering from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, “a rare and often debilitating form of childhood-onset epilepsy,” but due to her brain waves not being slow enough, those doctors can’t confirm Jaqie has LGS. The complete diagnosis is a mystery, but the reality of hundreds of seizures a day left their youngest child in bad shape.
The dozens of medications Jaqie was prescribed, “made her gain weight, they made her lose weight, they gave her a low immune system, she got infections. It took her personality away.” With the medications failing to help Jaqie, doctors suggested a procedure that would have sliced Jaqie’s brain in half to prevent the seizures from spreading. It was an option the family rejected.
“Cannabis was our last hope,” admitted Brittany Hardy- Warrior from her home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they returned for a doctor’s appointment. The family currently lives in a motel in Colorado while they continue to pay a mortgage for a house they bought in Tulsa nine years ago. Their neurologist received special permission from the DEA and FDA to enter a trial for the drug Epidiolex, that uses pharmaceutical grade CBD. Jaqie's condition worsened to the point where her family could not wait for the trial, which starts at the end of the year. The Warrior family quickly left behind Tulsa, and headed for Colorado.
Another family in California went through a similar journey that made them turn to cannabis to treat their child’s seizures. Just like Hardy-Warrior, cannabis was a “last resort,” for Nazy Nouri whose nine-year-old daughter Kiana has been suffering from seizures most of her life. Kiana was also prescribed dozens of medications that failed to treat the epileptic seizures. While in hospice care, Kiana took her first cannabis oil treatment, and ten days later she became coherent, and started to speak in sentences. The above anecdotal evidence of cannabis working as a treatment for epilepsy is backed up by research that used the case of a child who became the most famous face in treating seizures with cannabis.
According to a series of studies published in the medical journal Epilepsia, cannabis is shown to have anti-epileptic properties. Using the case of Paige Figi, who was featured in the CNN documentary weed, researchers discovered cannabis extract helped Figi turn into a normal kid. She was able to eat and drink herself, sleep all night, and regain her ability to walk and talk. Figi is the example used to show how successful using cannabis to treat epilepsy is, but as is the case with most cannabis research, the amount of studies is limited. Without more funding for research, confirming cannabis as a treatment is impossible.
The promising findings, as well as the lack of more study has made the Epilepsy Foundation, call for the DEA to end restrictions that prevent more clinical trials and research from investigating medical marijuana as a cure for epilepsy and other diseases. The organization supports the, “rights of patients and families living with seizures and epilepsy to access physician directed care, including medical marijuana.”
Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin is either unaware of these studies, or is simply ignoring them. Hardy-Warrior, and her family have tried to set up a meeting with the governor, but have been met with resistance by aides, who have called security on Hardy-Warrior as she attempted to talk to the governor. Fallin has even brought up minor criminal offenses in Hardy’s past in an effort to demean the mother. The governor has responded to the pressure by calling Hardy-Warrior to suggest getting a legislator to introduce a medical marijuana bill, but the task may be harder than it sounds based on the fact a previous medical marijuana bill failed to survive committee in early 2013.
For now, the Warrior family is travelling back and forth from Colorado, to Oklahoma for doctors appointments, and will be in Tulsa in a couple weeks for a fundraiser, but they can’t return permanently until medical marijuana is legalized in Oklahoma. While the drug trial is promising, there is no guarantee the drug will work, or will act as a stepping stone towards medical cannabis legislation, but the Warrior family insists they are in it for the long haul.
A defiant Hardy-Warrior insists, “It’s not a matter of if they are going to legalize it, it’s a matter of when they do.”Only then will the Warriors, and the others who have fled Oklahoma to get treatment for their conditions, be able to return.
To help the Warrior family, donate to their Give Forward page.
More about epileptic seizure, Epilepsy, Medical Marijuana, cannabis oil, mary fallin
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