Medicinal marijuana used to treat epilepsy sparks debate - FOX 32 News Chicago

Medicinal marijuana used to treat epilepsy sparks age limit debate

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some families from Illinois are treating their sick children with medical marijuana, but they are going to Colorado to do it.

These families are going to Colorado to get a low potency version of cannabis to help stop seizures caused from epilepsy. It's sparked a debate of how young is too young to use weed.

Let's put it out there right now, these children who are using medicinal marijuana are not smoking it. Their pot comes in an oil and it's ingested three times a day.

For one suburban family pot is the answer, even while it is separating them.

"Having to go out and say goodbye to the kids knowing that I'm not coming back for two and half weeks, you know, it's a struggle," Randy Gross, whose son, Chase, suffers from epilepsy and has moved to Colorado for medication, said.

"It's not right to split up families just so a child can obtain a medical treatment for a life-threatening decision," Nicole Gross, Chase's mom said.

It's a struggle and a sacrifice.

While Randy Gross lives in Naperville, his wife and children live in Colorado because their seven-year-old son chase was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was one.

Chase has intractable epilepsy. It's a neurological problem that includes recurring seizures. Chase has more than 1,000 seizures a day.

Randy Gross and his wife Nicole say, for years they've tried nine different drugs plus a high-fat, low-carb diet, but nothing slowed the seizures down until their child tried cannabis, medicinal marijuana, that's processed into a marijuana extract.

"It's decreased his seizures by 90-percent." Which is life-changing," Randy said. "he's going from having from in a 2 minute period, he might have 15 to 20 to last night we did a measurement where he had none for six minutes. So you go from 60 seizures in 6 minutes to zero or one."

The Gross family separated and the kids and Nicole moved to Colorado so Chase could get a strain of medical marijuana called "Charlotte's Web".

Grown specifically in Colorado, this strain does not carry THC, an ingredient in the marijuana plant that gets users high.

In 18 states where medical marijuana is legal epilepsy is one of the ailments doctors certify, but it is not here in Illinois. Children cannot use medical marijuana and epilepsy is not listed as one of the diseases treatable using marijuana.

One state senator says the senate bill he's co-sponsoring is still in its early stages, he says something must be done in Illinois to keep these families together and stop some children from suffering during these seizures.

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