News 12 First at Five/ July 8, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Marijuana is a hot topic lately, and medical use of marijuana is at the top of the debate.
GRU Augusta and state leaders signed an agreement back in May to study cannabis oil to treat children with epilepsy.
The Governor came to Augusta Tuesday to meet with GRU leaders and a pharmaceutical company about making the trials happen. Valerie Weaver is hoping the FDA approves the trial fast.
Her life changed forever 7 years ago when her son was born prematurely. She says, "We didn't realize there was anything majorly wrong until he was about 5 or 6 months old. That's when the seizures started. They've just progressively gotten worse."
Now, 7-year-old Preston has anywhere from 60-80 seizures a day.
"There's just nothing you can do but hold him, and tell him it's going to be okay, and hope and pray every time that he comes out of it," she said.
She's hopeful cannabis oil trials will be the answer to her prayers.
"We've probably tried 12 or 15 medications over the course of the last six years," she said.
Nothing controls the seizures completely. She said every time he has one, it erases any progress he's made.
"If we can find something to stop the seizures, well who knows what he could retain and what he could learn to do," his mother says.
The clinical trials will test the effects cannabis oils have on kids with epilepsy. The oils do not have THC in them, meaning it doesn't make the user high. This could be just the beginning for research here in Georgia. In the future, scientists think cannabis oil will help several different conditions, everything from cancer to multiple sclerosis, even migraines. It will just take funding and research to find the true potential of the drug.
Governor Deal says, "If Georgia takes the lead, through GRU to do things in a logical, lawful fashion, that will produce a safe product, then it gives us great leverage in this entire arena."
That news is something that gives Valerie hope, not just for her son, but for millions looking for their miracle cure.
"The research and trials they do, and the more things they learn about what this is capable of, there's not a doubt in my mind that this is going to change modern medicine," she says.
They're hoping the trials will begin at the end of the year. of course this will take a lot of coordinating with the FDA first. When the trials are available--you can find out more through your healthcare provider if your child can be a part.
GW Pharmacueticals has already received approval from the FDA to conduct clinical trials, and they're working to start those trials in Georgia by the end of the year. Governor Deal says the state is also trying to do clinical trials with GRU Augusta as the hub of the study, which could take longer since there will have to be FDA and DEA involvement.