Marissa Parsons has suffered from frequent, debilitating seizures since she was about 3 months old. Now 21, she has gone weeks without any thanks to a clinical trial she was enrolled in 3 years ago to test cannabis-oils as a means of preventing seizures.
Before the trials, Marissa's mother, Ronda, says her daughter was frequently hospitalized and the care she required made family outings almost impossible. Marissa even stopped smiling. These days though, Marissa gets out often, and she's smiling again.
"We can function like a typical family," Ronda Parsons told The Washington Post. "That, and her smile, mean the world to me."
The drug on trial was Epidiolex, an anti-seizure medication developed by the UK-based company GW Pharmaceuticals. The company is currently seeking FDA approval for their medication to be used for two specific forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet. But it could likely be useful in treating numerous other conditions as well.
"We are just scratching the surface of what could be a range of cannabis-based medications," states GW CEO Justin Gover.
Experts like Shlomo Shinnar - President of the American Epilepsy Society and a neurologist at New York's Montefiore Medical Center - agree with Gover. Shinnar called Epidoilex "a very valuable addition" to the currently limited options available to epilepsy sufferers.
In April, Epidoilex became the first cannabis-based medication recommended for approval by an FDA advisory council. The approval of Epidoilex would make it the first cannabis-based medication okayed by the federal government, which still defines cannabis as a substance that has no medical benefits and is as dangerous as heroin. Approving Epidoilex could potentially see the schedule 1 classification CBD rescinded, opening the doors to many other potentially lifesaving drugs.
So Epidoilex could also cure America's ridiculously outdated ban on medical marijuana.