A seven-year old girl in England has made a recovery from a rare form of epilepsy after starting treatment with a cannabis oil product. Her mother called the change nothing short of a “miracle.”
The young girl, Sienna Richardson, is diagnosed with Landau Kleffner Syndrome. The syndrome has symptoms that include a loss of language comprehension, difficulty with speech, and seizures.
Medical cannabis is legal in the United Kingdom, although the parents had difficulty in obtaining the oil for the treatments. In the United States, epilepsy is one of the rare medical conditions that most states allow for treatment with medical marijuana. Also, the only cannabis-related drug approved by the federal government is Epidiolex, which is used to treat epilepsy.
“Since taking it she is able to understand and speak normally,” the girl’s mother told the BBC. “She is living a normal life, she is still in mainstream school, playing with friends, she is doing really, really well. When we saw her getting better and better, it was amazing.”
The Family Could Not Afford Cannabis Oil Treatments
The girl’s parents took Sienna to the doctor after noticing she was having trouble speaking and understanding others. Doctors diagnosed her with Landau Kleffner Syndrome and suggested steroid treatments. However, the treatments were not successful.
The family could have chosen surgery to improve their daughter’s condition. However, the surgery comes with the possibility of paralyzing the patient on their left side. The parents did not want to take the chance.
The parents decided to try Bedrolite, a medical cannabis oil. Treatments cost about 1,400 pounds per month (about $1,900 in U.S. dollars), and the family had to turn to a fundraising campaign. They raised about 8,000 pounds before the coronavirus pandemic hit and the family stopped the campaign, saying it seemed unfair to ask for money during the pandemic.
However, they started the treatments in April.
Campaigning to Help Others
Taking the oil, the girl has returned to her normal life, her mother told the BCC. She said the payments continue to be a difficulty. Their experience has led the family to join an advocacy group that is pushing to make the cannabis oil available through the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.
“It is a massive stress. We worry about how we will fund it, but there is no choice. We have to do it so Sienna can live a normal life,” the girl’s mother said. “If we got it on the NHS, that would be amazing.”
The family also is supporting a campaign by End our Pain and Epilepsy Action that promotes access to cannabis-based medicines for children with epilepsy. In the meantime, the family is having the oil legally imported. The cannabis oil, which consists primarily of CBD, is made by a company in the Netherlands.