GRU: Medical marijuana treatments months from starting

By: Jorge Lopez Email
By: Jorge Lopez Email
A South Carolina mother is hoping lawmakers follow Georgia

(MGN Online)

News 12 11 o'clock / Sunday, April 27, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A South Carolina mother is hoping lawmakers follow Georgia's lead when it comes to medical marijuana. This month, Governor Nathan Deal, set the plans for clinical trials in Georgia for kids with epilepsy. Deal picked GRU to lead study that could be the answer to prayers for parents on both sides of the river. The doctor in charge of the study tells News 12 they are only a few months away from treatment and the study will be open to any patient who meets requirements.

"She was on a ventilator in ICU for about a week," that's when Tiffany Williams first realized things were about to change for her 6 year old, Windsor Blair.

"She was diagnosed with Intractable Epilepsy. She has partial complex seizures," she told News 12.

Williams gives her daughter three different medicines, twice a day, along with weekly treatments that are almost 3 hours away from her North Augusta home. Windsor Blair's visits to Charleston recently started, but have not produced much and that's why Williams hopes Georgia's medical marijuana study will catch on.

"I wish we could get something like that in South Carolina, but we are near GRU and I believe it would be an option for us," she said.

Dr. Michael Diamond is leading the cannabis oil treatment, at GRU backed by Governor Deal. A partnership between the university, the FDA, and a pharmaceutical company could help kids like Windsor Blair, but it won't be right away.

"We are still probably several months away from being able to initiate these studies," Dr. Diamond told News 12.

The doctor says after the framework for the study is set treatments should start. During Friday's visit to Augusta, the governor said he's confident help will come, but understands why everything has to be looked at before patients can be accepted.

"For treating seizures with young children we need to do it in a manner that is safe and one that is also legal," Governor Deal told News 12.

Something Windsor Blair's mom hopes happens soon, even if some don't agree with it.

"When you watch your child go through what I do weekly or daily, you'll do anything in the world to help them and take this pain away from them," Williams told News 12.

THC is the chemical that gives recreational marijuana users a high. Even though the oil used for this treatment comes from the marijuana plant, it has almost no THC levels.

South Carolina has a medical marijuana bill that has only passed in the Senate and still needs State House approval.

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