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Couple Loses Custody, Might Face Jail Time After Giving Son Who Suffered from 10 Seizures a Day Marijuana They Bought Illegally

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Couple Loses Custody, Might Face Jail Time After Giving Son

Who Suffered from 10 Seizures a Day Marijuana They Bought Illegally

Newsweek Tim Marcin,Newsweek


Desperate to treat his frequent seizures, a couple in Georgia said they gave their 15-year-old son marijuana—acquired illegally—and found that it worked in significantly reducing the number of seizures he suffered. But as a result, they're now battling to regain custody of their child, according to multiple reports this week.

The couple, Matthew and Suzeanna Brill, also potentially face jail time after being charged with reckless conduct when their child, David, tested positive for marijuana in April, according to CBS News. But the Brills have said marijuana helped David go from suffering as many as 10 seizures per day to being seizure-free for more than 70 days. 

"It was a miracle for him," Matthew Brill told CBS News.

The couple said David has since been moved to a group home, and he is again suffering from frequent seizures. Despite the potential consequences, David's stepfather has said he would do it all over again because traditional pharmaceuticals weren't working for him. 

"Even with the ramifications with the law, I don’t care," Matthew Brill told The New York Times this week. "For 71 days he was able to ride a bike, go play, lift weights. We were able to achieve that with David medicated not from Big Pharma, but David medicated with marijuana."

Medical marijuana is legal in a majority of states and there has been some movement toward making seizure medicine based on marijuana. A review from health officials found a drug made from the marijuana plant—not the psychoactive parts—reduced seizures in children with severe forms of epilepsy and recommended FDA approval, reported The Chicago Tribune last month.

Georgia has strict marijuana laws, however, allowing only some residents to acquire state-issued cards to obtain oils that are low in THC, the part of marijuana that gets you high. Suzeanna Brill said getting a card for David proved difficult. 

"The only way he could get a medical card would be a six-year waiting list," she told CBS News.

Anecdotes like the Brill family's aside, the Epilepsy Foundation website notes there have been issues determining how much marijuana can help those who suffer from seizures because of limitations on research. 

"Evidence from laboratory studies, anecdotal reports, and small clinical studies from a number of years ago suggest that cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis, could potentially be helpful in controlling seizures," it reads. "Conducting studies can be difficult as researchers have limited access to marijuana due to federal regulations and even more limited access to cannabidiol." 

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