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Cannabis Oil Legal In Iowa, Another Treatment Option For Children With Epilepsy

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Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed the historic piece of legislation legalizing cannabis oil on Friday.  Parents of children with epilepsy say the oil reduces seizures without getting kids high.  Many of them are hoping it will help their kids.

TV 6 first introduced you to Tina and Ryan McDermott a few months back when Tina was considering moving to Colorado to treat the 8-year-old's  rare form of epilepsy with cannabis oil.  Since it's now legal in Iowa, her family is staying here and hoping this oil is the answer.

"If it continues to get worse, we'd rather try the oil than more medicine," said Davenport resident Tina McDermott.

The side effects Ryan Mcdermott  gets from prescriptions used to treat his dravet syndrome often times, do more harm than good.

"He gets heavily sedated at night when we give him medicine. He got pancreatitis and was hospitalized for six days in March from one of the other medications," said Mcdermott. " He's drooling. There's just so many side effects."

Mcdermott says research shows there are no known side effects from using cannabis oil. Although there's no guarantee it'll help cut back on seizures, its something she's willing to try.

"I don't know if it will take them away fully, but it will definitely decrease them and it can bring him off of his med's. He's been on med's for eight years.
We've never known him without medicine, said McDermott.

The new Iowa law doesn't take effect until July 1.  Families of children with epilepsy  can only possess up to 32 ounces of the oil, but they have to travel out of state to get it.

"Driving up there and paying for it because it's not covered by insurance. It won't be covered by insurance. We'll have to pay cash for it. No credit," said McDermott.  "That's going to be our biggest hurdle to financially be able to go back and forth and buy it.

It's a price she's willing to pay to ease Ryan's pain.

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