Parents with sick children see hope in oil derived from marijuana
PELHAM - AL —
A Pelham police officer is fighting for hope for him and other Alabama families. Hope for a cure to their children's epilepsy could come from oil derived from the marijuana plant. They're pushing to have cannabidiol legalized.
Dustin Chandler's love for his three year old daughter, Carly, has taken him to new heights. He held a skydiving fundraiser in October.
"I'm in it because I have a daughter. I'm also in it for the other families who are losing hope," he said.
His latest endeavor has some people wondering about a different high.
Carly has an epileptic disorder called CDLK 5. She has seizures and developmental delays. Nearly a dozen medications have failed.
Chandler says new hope lies in cannabidiol or CBD oil. But it's derived from the marijuana plant and is illegal in Alabama.
Carly's Law would change that by legalizing strictly the oil for medical purposes, not the plant itself.
"The stigma of the 'm' word or marijuana is a bad one. It's one you have to overcome and realize this law and oil is truly a medicine," he said.
Several universities have conducted studies on its effects on cancer, epilepsy and even cognitive function. A Stanford University study found the oil helped ease seizures by 83 percent with few or no side affects and no high.
The FDA has approved an experimental study to develop a CBD drug.
"Personally, I'm against the legalization of marijuana. I believe there are medicines out there that do the same thing. Now, if someone wants to use the medicine in the marijuana going through the same testing in the FDA, that's fine. I have no problem with that," said Governor Robert Bentley.
Chandler met other families in Colorado who've moved to gain access to the oil. He hopes it's a decision his family won't have to make.
"I would love to hear my daughter talk. I've never heard my daughter's voice," he said.
Chandler says it's more than just a voice, it's a life.
Carly's Law is being sponsored by Republican Representative Mike Ball of Madison. It has support from some Republicans and Democrats.