OKC Doctor Hopes To Be 1st In State To Use Cannabis Oil
OKLAHOMA CITY - Sherry Kendell's 6-year-old daughter, Joy, sometimes has as many as 18 seizures a day.
“She used to talk and she doesn't talk anymore,” said Sherry. “The seizures burned her speech, just burned it right out.”
On Thursday, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill legalizing non-intoxicating cannabis oil for children like Joy and allowing for medical trials.
“I cried and didn't even know I was crying,” said Sherry. “I think I was in shock.”
Sherry says she is planning to put Joy in an FDA-approved medical trial led by Dr. Cherie Herren MD a pediatric neurologist at OU Children's physicians. Herren says about 1/3 of her patients are like Joy and don't respond to medication.
“It's very frustrating and you see them time after time and you try different medications and eventually they get to the point where they are having sedation or side effects with the medications that I'm trying and their seizures aren't getting any better,” said Herren.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the cannabis oil drastically reduces seizures without the side effects. Herren wants to scientifically study it and will be using a synthetic form of cannabidiol oil.
“I would love it. It would be awesome if this would be a game changer; if this were stopping a majority of kids' seizures, but I would also be happy if this were reducing seizures by 50 percent. That would be a great result.”
Joy's mom, who was vocal in lobbying legislatures to legalize the oil, is hopeful the result will be hearing her daughter talk again.
“Very excited about it. There are other children all across the nation that do this [and] are seeing amazing results.”
Herren is still waiting for approval and hopes to get the trial underway in July. The study is necessary for FDA approval of the oil, so insurance companies would pay for the treatment.
For more information on the medical trial, contact OU's research coordinator Melissa Cole at (405) 271-4658.