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Parents say medical marijuana could ease daughter's seizures

Posted March 15, 2014
Updated March 16, 2014

— Life was peaceful for the Domer family of Clayton until three years ago, when 7-year-old Olivia had her first seizure.

That changed everything.

Since then, every day is a struggle. The daily medications Olivia takes for her epilepsy have side effects that range from hair loss to deadly illnesses. Even though her seizures are less severe, they still haven’t stopped.

Her parents, Andy and Cara, are in a constant state of worry.

“You never know if she’s in another room, if she’s missing, if you haven’t heard from her in a little while,” Andy Domer said. “If it’s just because she’s playing and she’s being good or because she could be having a seizure.”

Cara Domer started searching for alternative treatments and found other families with similar problems. They brought something to her attention that she and her husband had never considered: marijuana. More specifically, they were talking about an oil created from the plant called Cannabidiol or CBD.

Cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, so it doesn’t cause a high. It seems to ease pain and also stop seizures.

The Domers have heard from families in Colorado who have started giving their children CBD oil in place of seizure medication – and it’s working.

“When you actually do the research and you look into it, you start to learn that there is a lot of this misconception about marijuana,” Andy Domer said. “They try this and so many of them just get these amazing results. How can you just ignore that?”

State Rep. Verla Insko, D-Chapel Hill, says the facts on CBD oil shouldn’t be ignored.

“I do think we should make our decisions based on science to the extent that we can,” she said.

Insko said her mind was opened to the medicinal benefits of marijuana when a friend who has cancer started using the drug legally while living in Europe. But Insko said she does have concerns and thinks lawmakers would need to be careful about regulation so the medicine doesn’t end up in the wrong hands if it is legalized.

“I would be interested in making sure we have appropriate regulations and then enough money to enforce those regulations,” she said.

A bill to legalize medical marijuana was killed in committee last year. Although there aren’t plans for anyone to reintroduce the bill, Insko thinks the legalization of medical marijuana in North Carolina will eventually happen.

For the Domers, eventually is too long. They plan on moving to Colorado in the summer so Olivia can start taking CBD oil daily.

“At this point, even if it didn’t change her seizures, I feel like if we could just get off these medications I would be happy,” Cara Domer said. “To me, it’d be worth moving across the country for.”

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  • caradomer Mar 17, 2014

    Thank you so much for sharing my daughter's story. To read more about her journey please visit her site at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/Oliviadomer