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Medical marijuana

Tina McDermott of Davenport kisses her son, Ryan, 7, who has Dravet syndrome and suffers multiple epileptic seizures on a daily basis. McDermott says the seizures can be controlled with medical marijuana.

Tina McDermott and her son, Ryan, no longer need to move to Colorado, as they were planning to do in September.

They can now use medical marijuana in their home state, Iowa.

"Just the thought to be able to use it on him is amazing," said McDermott, a Davenport mother of six children. "Maybe we can get him off the terrible medicine he's on."

Ryan, 7, is her youngest. She shared his story with the Quad-City Times last year.

He has Dravet syndrome and suffers multiple epileptic seizures on a daily basis. She's had him on numerous pharmaceuticals that she says haven't worked for his seizures and cause damaging side effects.

The family was raising money so that Ryan and his mother could move to Colorado, which has legalized medical marijuana, and live there a few months so he could have access to cannabis oil to treat his seizures.

They were planning to move in September. With the Iowa Legislature approving the use medical marijuana for severely epileptic children, McDermott said they no longer need to move to Colorado. They are planning to make a few trips there this summer to buy cannabis oil once they can get a doctor's recommendation.

With access to medical marijuana, McDermott and other parents with epileptic children wonder: Does it work?

Iowa native Rachael Selmeski, who lives in Colorado, said she's had her daughter Maggie on daily cannabis oil treatments since October. The 2-year-old suffers intractable epilepsy.

Last year, Selmeski told the Quad-City Times that her daughter can have up to 500 seizures in one day. On Thursday, she said that after using a cannabis oil called "Charlotte's Web," the seizures have reduced by 30 percent.

"Across the board, we're seeing amazing results with Maggie and all our other friends out here on treatment," Selmeski said. "It's undeniable that it's medicinal, and it's exciting Iowa is doing that.

"Maggie's got a little more spunk to her. She's not that lifeless body anymore."

Prior to using cannabis oil, Maggie was on pharmaceuticals exclusively. Even with the oil, she still takes some prescription medication, but Selmeski said she's slowly weaning her child off of them.

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