Alex Repetski was breaking the law for nine months and giving his daughter, Gwenevere, cannabis oil to treat her epilepsy. It was working. Repetski told CTV News that before he began giving the cannabis oil to his daughter, scans taken of her brain showed that the toddler had been experiencing seizures almost constantly. Her brain was seizing even when you couldn’t tell it was seizing; her seizures were so frequent.
Gwenevere’s parents and doctors tried all the usual anti-seizure medications, but they didn’t work. After eight anti-epileptic medications proved themselves fruitless for the toddler, at two-years-old, after discussing medical cannabis with the child’s doctor, they decided to give it a try. The only catch was that, while the law in Canada would have allowed her to smoke marijuana, it forbid patients from extracting the oils from it to be used medicinally. Even though Gwenevere could have gotten the benefits of the cannabis without the high, the law in Canada only gave her permission to smoke the dried plant. According to the toddler’s father, that wasn’t an option, so he gave her the oil in direct defiance of the law in Canada.
According to the family, Gwenevere, now three-years-old, suffered her last seizure two days after they began giving her the cannabis oil. He made it himself from the dried leaves that were permitted. That means the child went from having nearly constant seizures, to being seizure-free for nine months, all thanks to cannabis oil.
Thankfully for Gwenevere and patients just like her, the Supreme Court of Canada changed the law that forbid patients from using cannabis oil as medicine. Nine months ago, the child could hardly function.
“She couldn’t do much, she could barely sit on her own,” Repetski told CTV News.
“One of the doctors was kind enough to take the time and comb through all of it and decided that while he couldn’t guide us on dosing, he didn’t think it would hurt her in any way,” Repetski said. “Nothing else was working, so he gave us a prescription.”
Although Canada’s Health Minister, Rona Ambrose, said that she was outraged with the Canadian high court’s ruling to allow patients to ingest marijuana in whatever form they found most useful, caregivers and patients are celebrating the ruling, because cannabis has the potential to greatly improve patients’ quality of life. Dr. Orrin Devinsky, as a researcher at New York University’s Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, studied the use of a purified form of cannabis‘ CBD, and found that in the purified form, seizures in the patients studied were decreased by more than half, according to CBC News.
“No more than 50 percent of people with epilepsy have their seizures fully controlled with medications now,” Dr. Richard Wennberg, neurologist at Toronto Western Hospital and professor at the University of Toronto, explained. “There is a huge need for something better.”
At Gwenevere’s electroencephalogram in January, her brain showed absolutely no seizure activity thanks to the cannabis oil, Alex said.
[Photo via screenshot of CTV News video]