For children with epilepsy, marijuana can be a lifeline

KTRK logo
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Marijuana gives hope to parents of brain-damaged baby
EMBED <>More Videos

The child's family says their son benefits from medical marijuana

Silas Hurd has his good days and his bad days.

The 9-year-old's debilitating seizures are hard to watch, but his father, Forrest Hurd, said one thing can improve the boy's quality of life: medicinal marijuana.

Silas suffers from epilepsy, and when we first brought you his story last year, his family said they feared his time might be running out.

Forrest was wrestling with local officials in California to adopt a standard like one approved by the Texas legislature in 2015, where cannabis oil is available for some patients with epilepsy.

Forrest said access to medicinal marijuana has been hard to come by in Nevada County since they prohibited production, but could mean the difference between Silas having no seizures-or 50 in a single day.

WATCH: Silas' family talks about marijuana and epilepsy

Stories like these are not uncommon across the country and in other nations where laws regarding cannabis oil, THC and medicinal marijuana vary.

But these parents say they have seen marked improvement in their children's epileptic seizures and other conditions when using the drug experimentally.

Gloria and Ascencion Rodriguez, of Pasadena, Texas, say a good day is one without a trip to the emergency room.

Their daughter, Grace, has a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome that causes the 4-year-old girl to have more than 400 seizures a day.

Her parents too feared Grace could die from the condition.

"It is heartbreaking because when your child stops breathing, so do you and it's horrible to feel helpless and there's nothing you can do," said Grace's mother, Gloria.

But then they tried Cannabidiol, which is believed to have anti-seizure properties. The dramatic results, Gloria says, were immediate.

She understands the controversy, but says it works.

"I did have some people say 'you're going to give your baby marijuana?' and I would say yes I am, because I have tried everything else," Gloria said. "And really quickly, that shut down any conversation about it."

For little Luvie Parush, who lives in Israel, chronic health conditions from his severe epilepsy and cerebral palsy once meant dozens of seizures a day.

Asar Parush, the boy's father, saw the same results as Gloria did with her son, results so remarkable that it halted his suffering altogether.

"We saw a difference immediately and after a few weeks, we didn't see any seizures at all," Parush says.

In spite of the results these parents have seen, there is still a long way to go in winning passage of marijuana-related health laws across the country.

While Texas has just granted its first medical marijuana producer's license, Gloria Rodriguez said she believes these products should be available for every child suffering disease, not just epilepsy.

"I mean a year and a half ago, I thought, okay, my biggest dream is that I could get her marijuana somehow without worrying about being in trouble and here I am now," Gloria said.

Texas lawmakers weigh bill to allow marijuana-related treatments

Cancer patient hoping to change minds on medical marijuana policy

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff