Texas Parents Seek Life-saving Treatment for Epilepsy

KEYE-TV Melanie Torre - Texas families are begging lawmakers to give their children a new chance for life-saving medical treatment. A proposed bill would make Cannabidiol Oil an option for treating epilepsy. The oil is a compound of the cannabis plant, but the bill is not considered a medical marijuana bill. 

The Cannabidiol Oil would be administered with a syringe through the mouth. Researchers say it's not addictive and it won't make you high. That’s exactly why an Austin family wants the opportunity to see if it can save their son's life. 

Like most four-year-old kids, Elliott Graham loves Thomas the Train and fire trucks. Unlike most kids, he has debilitating epileptic seizures. 

“Daily seizures… upwards sometimes of 100 a day,” explains Elliott’s mom, Katie Graham. 

The seizures have lead to developmental, cognitive and speech delays. The medications to treat the seizures aren't working. 

“For us as parents, where eight medications, a rigorous diet, an implant in a baby... has failed... this is where we would like the opportunity to try this,” she explains. 

“This is a new compound that we've just seen out of the cannabis plant that has this miraculous unique property of also helping reduce or eliminate seizures in these kids that have failed every other treatment,” adds Elliott’s dad, James Graham. 

The Cannabidiol bill is being called the Texas Compassionate Use Act. It would apply to 150,000 Texans with intractable epilepsy. The oil must be recommended by a specialist and the bill's author says there's low risk of misuse. 

“There's no high. It has no street value, so there are some folks that are concerned about the potential of abuse. With restrictions in the bill I've filed, there's a low risk for abuse,” explains the bill’s author, Texas State Representative Stephanie Klick, of Fort Worth. 

The oil is prescribed by doctors in other states and the Graham family wants a chance to give it a try here at home. 

“Recognize CBD oil as a legitimate medical treatment for intractable epilepsy. It should not be determined by zip code,” Katie says. 

Klick adds that two Texas children have died from epileptic seizures since this legislative session started. 

So far, no hearing for the Texas Compassionate Use Act is scheduled. There are only about 30 days left for lawmakers to get things moving, and families like the Grahams are worried they'll run out of time. To read more about the bill and the children it would help, click here.