While A Current Affair (ACA) doesn’t exactly run a Pulitzer winning program, they can apparently produce compelling journalism when they want to. This time, they’ve succeeded in covering the human side of the medical marijuana debate – exploring two stories of Australian’s whose health was saved by CBD oil.
One of those cases is of two-year-old Carli Edwards, and her parents, Tamara, and Chad. Carli suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare form of Epilepsy that is often extremely resistant to medication. The condition is lifelong and can be fatal when an infant’s seizures last a prolonged period.
In Carli’s case, the condition has already cost her family over $35,000 in hospital bills. In her first 18-months of life, Carli has endured hour-long seizures, multiple hospitalisations and medication being drilled into her shin bone. Ouch.
After starting treatment on CBD oil, Carli hasn’t had a seizure in nearly six-months. While research into medicinal cannabis is ongoing, it’s effectiveness in treating paediatric epilepsy is clear. Even the World Health Organization endorses CBD oil for Dravet’s syndrome sufferers.
Speaking to ACA, Carli’s father said:
It’s changed our life, it’s changed her life. She’s like a normal kid now.
However, it isn’t all rays of sunshine in the Edwards house. While CBD oil has dramatically improved Carli’s health, the medication is costing her family over $1100 a month. As she gets older, she will require a larger dose.
While CBD medications are legal Australia wide, they are not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This means that on average Australian patients are spending $436 a month to fulfil their prescriptions.
By the end of June, Carli will be one of over 50,000 Australian’s with a prescription for medicinal cannabis. Unfortunately, she might be one of the few whose family can afford to fulfil that prescription.
ACA’s segment also covered the case of Jeremy Cleaver, who was denied access to medical cannabis after having an adverse reaction to epileptic medications. Epilepsy drugs led Jeremy into an induced psychosis, causing him to jump out of a moving car. Only after starting on cannabis did Jeremy’s seizures decrease.
However, after Jeremy was denied access to the Special Access Scheme, Jeremy’s mother was forced to access the medicine illegally. She had this to say:
We’d just like it to be legal.
We couldn’t’ agree more.