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Mother hopeful marijuana-derived medicine will prevent son’s seizures

DECATUR, Ind. (WANE) — A new bill moving through the Indiana Statehouse gives hope for people with epilepsy. The Senate cleared a bill that would allow patients to use cannabidiol oil, commonly known as CBD, for treatment.

The Luginbill family knows first-hand the devastating impact epilepsy can have. Memphis Luginbill, who is 9 years old, was born with cerebral palsy and diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of five.

“It’s been hard,” she said. “It’s been extremely hard to see your child suffer.”

For his mother, Diane Luginbill, calls to 911 have become a norm. She has been desperately trying to find a treatment that will work.

“Seizures aren’t very good,” said Memphis. “Seizures are when the devil attacks.”

Some seizures last a couple of minutes others almost 20 minutes, Luginbill said.

“You just have to hold him and make sure he doesn’t aspirate on throw up or saliva,” she said. “You just hold them and you just pray.”

She said the seizures are often at night, so Memphis cannot sleep alone. Still, Diane considers Memphis one of the lucky ones. A couple months may go by without a seizure. Other times, Memphis may have seizures twice a week.

Memphis is on several medications but many of them have adverse side-effects. Diane has been researching natural remedies instead. She has made plans to travel to Cincinnati where CBD oil is already legal for epilepsy patients.

“We are hoping to talk to a doctor who has dealt with other children with seizures,” she said.

This week she learned the CBD oil could soon be legal in Indiana. Indiana’s House has approved loosening restrictions on marijuana-derived oil used to treat epilepsy.

The oil cannot get patients high but contains compounds that studies suggest lessen the severity of seizures. Many parents of children who have treatment-resistant epilepsy have testified in support during hearings. State Representative William Friend sponsored the bill.

“This is a substance that was natural, it was useful, and it provided relief for those desperate parents and their children,” said Friend.

“It would be amazing to get him off of some of these high narcotic doses that we’re taking,” said Luginbill.

The proposal will go back to the House for a conference to finish up a few minor changes.

A completed bill should be on Gov. Holcomb’s desk within two weeks.

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