West Tarricone used to have between 100 and 1,000 seizures a day. Luckily, Connecticut’s “experiment” with medical marijuana is bringing the young girl some relief. West was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy shortly after her first birthday.
After years of trying more than two dozen pharmaceuticals, West is now using marijuana oil in combination with four pharmaceuticals, according to The Herald. West’s seizures have reduced with her daily doses of marijuana oil. Pharmaceutical rescue medications did not work fast enough, leaving the family to call 911 for emergency transport to a local hospital.
Cara Tarricone, West’s mother, said, “Without it, we’d be in the hospital, we’d just live there because we’d have to be controlling bigger seizures all the time.”
When severe seizures came about, the pharmaceuticals didn’t typically work.
Tarricone said, “I said immediately, this is a natural option, and I want this for my child. Something that could eliminate a lot of extra pharmaceutical medication in hers system and be so simple and straightforward? This is something we needed for our daughter.”
Medical marijuana was just approved for adolescent seizure patients in May 2016. Medicine wasn’t available until October. West received her first dose in March.
Less than 50 children in Connecticut are approved for its medical marijuana program.
Tarricone got involved in advocating for parents wanting to use medical marijuana to treat their children. Tarricone, and other Connecticut families, had their voices heard during the last legislative push for medical marijuana, and treating children with medical marijuana, in the state.
Tarricone said, “We shared stories and made it personal, how it would affect us, how it would affect our children. I truly think that gave us the momentum. In that years, we had enough opportunity to educate legislators personally as to what the medication is, how it worked, how effective it could be, and that parents should really be the ones making that decision with their medical care providers.”
West’s doctors were a little skeptical.
Tarricone said, “They just didn’t know that this was something parents were pursuing, and moving to other states to pursue. But I kept saying, ‘This is what’s happening, let’s talk about this more, I want to continue this conversation.’”
Madan Cohen, West’s doctor, said, “You name it, she’s been on it. If there’s a medicine I’ve had, she’s tried it.”
Cohen also said, “They’ve seen their child have pretty severe seizures and not have control with the various treatments they have. So I’ve never discouraged a family’s want to try this treatment, but we have to decide when its’ the right time to try something.”
West was at that point and is showing improvement.