Family wants marijuana extract available in Idaho to treat 9-year-old

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A family wants to use marijuana extract to treat its 9-year-old daughter, who suffers from seizures. She said legislature can approve it without allowing medical marijuana into the state.

Nine-year-old Alexis Carey suffers from a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. Since she was a couple of months old it's caused her to have different types of seizures daily.

Her mother, Clare Carey, said they've tried several different treatments over the years, but nothing has shown to reduce the problem. In June, they had to take drastic measures for a bad bout of seizures.

"She was in an induced coma for seven and a half days," Clare said. "Then it was a real battle, and was one of the toughest things we've been through."

Cannabis extract has shown success for children in states where medical marijuana is available. In some cases, children who used to suffer hundreds of seizures now only have a few, if any, every month.

To allow the extract, states don't have to approve medical marijuana. Several states including Utah have passed extract laws, which allow it to be produced, and taken by patients who need it.

The extract contains high amounts of cannabidiol, which is the chemical compound which makes up the medicinal benefit of marijuana. It contains only about 0.3 percent THC, which is the chemical that makes people feel high; that's the same amount found in most hemp oil which is already sold on store shelves.

Clare said she is already getting support for a new law from both sides of the aisle in the Idaho legislature. She hopes progress can be made during the next session because she's not sure if Alexis' next seizure could be her last.

Cannabis extract is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but Clare said her daughter already takes unapproved medications. She said she worries about some of the side effects those drugs could have on her daughter in the future.

The FDA allows for people to take unapproved drugs under it's "compassionate use" policy. It's meant for people with serious or immediately life threatening illnesses as long as people are willing to take the risk.