A young boy is the first child at Children’s Hospital of Georgia to test an experimental cannabis oil to slow down his seizures, My Fox Atlanta reported.
Preston Weaver, 7, has a severe form of childhood epilepsy that at one point caused up 60 to 70 seizures a day. Now, he has four to six that last up to a minute. His mother, Valerie, is constantly on guard for the occurrences.
"Most of them start with just a startle, and he'll look up, and then his whole body gets rigid. His limbs get real, real rigid,” she told My Fox Atlanta.
According to Valerie, the diagnosis caused Preston to regress— he has the mind of a one- or two-year-old baby and can’t walk, talk or even hold his head up.
Seizure medication has not helped, which lead the Weavers and a growing number of Georgia families to cannabis oil. Marijuana is currently illegal in the state.
Preston is part of a study sponsored by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Georgia Regents University and GW Pharmaceuticals to test GW Pharmaceuticals’ experimental cannabis oil Epidiolex, which is also being tested elsewhere across the U.S. Cannabis oil is extracted from marijuana leaves and doesn’t cause the “high” that comes with smoking.
The trial is a two-child “compassionate use” trial, the first step in a long process, Dr. Yong Park, a children’s neurologist at Georgia Regents University told My Fox Atlanta. Researchers’ goal is to see if anecdotal evidence from families can be duplicated in a clinical trial. Eventually, they hope to do a much larger, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
For now, they must answer some basic questions about Epidiolex.
"Number one, is it beneficial for seizure control? Number two, are there no side effects? That's what we're looking for,” Parks told My Fox Atlanta.
While it’s too early to say whether the treatment has helped Preston, Valerie says she’s willing to try.
“I don't know what the future holds for him, but I want to make his life the best I can,” she told My Fox Atlanta.