“I don’t take the decision to put her on any treatment lightly,” Laura said. “So any drug, any treatment that we choose, we choose it carefully and with a lot of forethought. Again, I’m weighing risks and benefits here. Because that’s what we’re forced to do.”
Laura started doing research into medicinal marijuana two years ago after hearing about the success others were having in controlling seizures. She has become part of a growing list of medicinal marijuana advocates. The National Epilepsy Foundation, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy and Concerned Iowans for Medical Cannabis have come out in support, to name a few. Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal marijuana.
A 2010 Des Moines Register poll found 64 percent of Iowans support legalizing marijuana for medical use.
“I started out being cautiously optimistic about whether or not it could help my daughter because we’ve tried everything,” Laura said. “I’m not one to make uneducated decisions and I hope our lawmakers don’t do that either.”
Laura and Michaela will have to wait at least one more year. Senate File 2215, which would create a medicinal marijuana program in Iowa, was called dead on arrival.
“And I can’t understand why this has to wait another year,” Laura said. “I’m grateful to my legislators who seem to be compassionate and understand the need for a safe, effective, responsible program for critically ill patients but they need to act now. We may not have another year.”
In Colorado, where medicinal and recreation marijuana use is now legal, a strain known as Charolette’s Web has been developed and has been shown to alleviate the number of Dravets syndrome seizures. There are currently about 200 patients who are being treated with good results and virtually no side effects, Laura said.