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9-Year-Old Girl Is An Unlikely Medical Marijuana Advocate

9-Year-Old Girl Is An Unlikely Medical Marijuana Advocate

Austin, Texas | Alexis Bortell is your pretty average kid, except for one thing; she is a 9-year-old medical marijuana advocate.

When Alexis first started having seizures in her south Texas home back in July of 2013, her family knew that the course of her life had just changed. Her father Dean, a disabled Navy veteran said describes the first time she had a seizure, “I look over and Alexis has literally gone vertical. She’s stiff as a board and mom’s holding her. We get her down on the couch and she’s shaking.”

The family rushed Alexis to a nearby hospital where doctors informed the family that she suffers from epilepsy. Alexis was prescribed to some prescription drugs which proved ineffective. It’s not that the medications just didn’t work; Alexis’ dad described her use of the prescription Carbatrol as, “like throwing gasoline on a fire.” Her seizures when from nightly to around-the-clock, giving Alexis spasms, tremors, and altering her bubbly personality.

Texas Medical Marijuana Patient

Doctors confirmed that the medications weren’t right for Alexis and the family weaned her off of them; keeping reserves only for emergency situations.

The turning point for the Bortell family was when they caught a CNN special with Dr. Sanjay Gupta talking about some of the uses of medical marijuana. The non-psychoactive oils and tinctures derived from the cannabis plant are widely known to reduce seizures in patients suffering from epilepsy without the harsh side effects of prescription medications.

Soon after, the Bortell family began consulting specialists and visiting Colorado where access to the non-psychoactive CBD oil is legal. Alexis quickly qualified for a medical marijuana card in the state of Colorado and began taking the cannabis derived medication.

The problem now is that the Bortell family still resides in Texas where the CBD oil is illegal and carries harsher penalties than regular pot due to it’s concentrated form. The family is worried that the penalties for possession of the life-saving medicine could lead to legal issues, especially since they would be crossing state lines with the drug.

“I don’t wanna leave Texas. I’m a Texas girl!”

This hasn’t stopped Alexis and her family though. Alexis has taken to the streets and even started and online campaign to make Texans aware of her dilemma. Alexis and her family recently appeared on local TV stations spreading their message and are publishing Youtube videos to get the word out.

Alexis is hoping to convince Texas residents and lawmakers alike that medical marijuana has a place in Texas. On Tuesday she joined a group of activists at the Texas stated capitol to deliver her message to the state.

For the Bortell family, time is of the essence. If lawmakers can’t make a sensible medical marijuana policy that would help Alexis to experience a bright future, the family will be forced to leave the state. Dean Bortell said, “When the gavel falls in May, we’ll know if we have to leave Texas.”

Brazil Considering Medical Marijuana Legalization

Brazil Considering Medical Marijuana Legalization

The amount of research that has been conducted on the efficacy and use of cannabis in the treatment of different forms of epilepsy and other seizure disorders far under-represents the public demand for such information. Although more research does need to be completed, cannabis therapy has proven to be quite successful in the treatment of many different forms of debilitating medical conditions, including childhood and adult forms of epilepsy.

It is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), that has demonstrated the ability to lessen the frequency and severity of seizures in patients of all ages. Parents of children suffering from such conditions in the United States, South America and the rest of the world have organized many rallies to draw attention to the fact that medical marijuana should be available globally. In many cases, CBD oil has been the only treatment that has worked successfully for patients.

After a recent protest in South America’s largest country, the Brazilian government’s Health Surveillance Agency announced that legalizing medical marijuana will be discussed in January 2015. The small protest that sparked this response from the government was in support of legalizing CBD oil to treat epilepsy. This protest came after a decision made by the Federal Medical Council in early December, which approved neurologists and psychiatrists to recommend cannabidiol oil to treat children and teens suffering from epilepsy in Brazil. This authorization came with the stipulation that these patients must have been unsuccessfully treated with the more commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals. This change did not, however, come with any legislation to allow the production or distribution of such medication.

Most seeking cannabis therapy in Brazil obtain their medicine through a secret society of cultivators who make the cannabidiol oil, and then donate it to patients. According to one mom’s statement to the Associated Press, this band of kind, care-giving outlaws will not even allow for patients to cover the cost of shipping. All CBD oil is provided at no cost to the patient. Although these families of patients suffering from epilepsy are excited about the recent measure allowing doctors to prescribe CBD oil, they do not want to have to receive medicine illegally.

Several trials to study the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of epilepsy have just recently been approved in the United States, and the United Kingdom. If medical marijuana is legalized in Brazil, perhaps this will open doors to more medical studies and research on this subject in the future.

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