Patient Story – Francie Floyd

Francie Floyd has a service dog with her at all times, since she was an infant, she’s been having seizures.

Patient Story- Francie Floyd – A high-grade fever when she was less than two months old triggered the first of many. During her early childhood, her seizures were under control with the use of medication. But, as she grew older, her body grew increasingly tolerant.

“I call it the floppy fish dance,” she said with a smile as she described her most violent seizures. “You have to put humor into  it. If you’re not laughing, you’re taking life too seriously. It can be soul-crushing, so I call myself a fish dancer.”

Francie has left temporal lobe epilepsy. She has between five and 10 seizures each week. Some seizures cause her to lose track of time, from a few minutes to several hours. Others, known as grand mal seizures, cause her muscles to convulse so violently she dislocates her shoulder. A few years ago, a neurologist suggested cannabidiol (CBD) oil, an extract of the marijuana plant that is not psychoactive.

“She told me I could get off all these drugs that were not helping me,” Floyd said.

Learning About Medical Marijuana

Floyd began researching. She stumbled upon the poster child of CBD for seizures, Charlotte Figi who suffered from 300 seizures a day before using CBD but now experiences two to three seizures per month.

“What I found was unreal,” Floyd said. “It gave me so much hope.”

But because medical marijuana is illegal in West Virginia, she does not have access.

“I wouldn’t be in this nightmare situation,” Floyd said, tears welling in her green eyes. “I’m sick of being overmedicated. I’m sick of having seizures. I’m sick of the list of things these medications do to you.”

American Acadamy Of Neurology

Even with the anecdotal evidence of countless seizure patients, including Charlotte Figi, who have had successes with CBD oil, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has not given medical marijuana its stamp of approval for epilepsy. They stated, “not enough evidence is available to determine if the drug can impact the condition one way or another.” They did say there was enough evidence available to reach a conclusion for MS. They found strong evidence that medical marijuana can alleviate symptoms of spasticity and central pain in multiple sclerosis patients.

Because marijuana and its extracts remain categorized as Schedule I, the same as heroin, studies have been limited because of a lack of access to the drug in a laboratory setting.

West Virginia Marijuana Regulations

In February 2016, a bill to decriminalize and legalize marijuana in West Virginia was introduced, but action wasn’t taken on the proposal. Gov. Jim Justice did state his support for medical marijuana and said that adult use should be considered “in the future.”

Floyd has stated that she has never tried self-medicating with marijuana because of the legal repercussions. She follows the law in regards to the legality of marijuana in West Virginia, She is not ideally waiting, Francie has written letters and made phone calls to state law makers.

“I would ask them to take one week of my medications and just try to function… Try to learn what it’s like to be on an anticonvulsant cocktail of three that I’m on every single day of my life and try to function like a normal human being.”

 

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