Tualatin family uses marijuana strain, "Charlotte's Web" to help - KPTV - FOX 12

Tualatin family uses marijuana strain, "Charlotte's Web" to help with daughter's epilepsy

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Faith Phillips Faith Phillips

For 12-year-old Faith Phillips, the journey growing up was long and rough. 

It started back in 2008 when the family was having dinner and Faith fell to the floor, after she suffered from a seizure. That night, she was diagnosed with Epilepsy.

"Nobody knew what to think or what it was. You hear about epilepsy but it never touches your family," said Guy Phillips, Faith's father. 

At the time, Faith was a normal 5-year-old, who wanted to learn how to ride a bike. But instead, she was remembering when it was time to take her medicine, and worrying when the next seizure would arrive. 

"I might be playing and I could fall and hurt myself, it's tough because of that. They come out of nowhere," Faith described. 

Her dad said Faith tried everything when it came to medications, at one point taking 7 in a day. 

"She'd never eat, sleep, hardly talk, she wouldn't get out of bed," Guy said. 

That's when he continuously searched for treatment options, and eventually found a marijuana strain called "Charlotte's Web". For the past 3 months, Guy said his daughter has been taking the hemp extract oil and said what used to be 50 seizures a day is now just 2 or 3 for Faith.

We reached out to Colin Roberts, Faith's doctor at OHSU. 

"The idea marijuana therapies may help these patients has been tremendous, there's wonderful enthusiasm, excitement across the country for these therapies," Roberts said. 

But added it's challenging because he said the medical community is still trying to determine how often it will help in childhood seizures. 

"The first question is, is it safe? And so we're doing that clinical research right now, bringing kids in hospital to decide if this therapy is safe for them to receive," Roberts said. 

There's also been a legal challenge. Oregon Health Authority said it is legal for those 18 and under to use marijuana extracts for certain illnesses but their caregiver must submit a notarized 'Declaration of Person Responsible for Minors' form. 

Back in May, a group of Senators including Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced the 'Therapeutic Controlled Substance Act'. The bill would allow children and adults with Epilepsy to use hemp strains, such as Charlotte's Web, nationwide.

According to a representative of Senator Jeff Merkley, the bill is in the Judiciary Committee and has not yet been up for a vote.

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