Retired military veteran Mark Montrose and his wife were jubilant when they received the call that after two years of waiting, the couple could pick up their newly-adopted baby girl Mary-Kate.
But that joy would not last.
A regular four-month checkup led to an emergency trip to the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital. Mary-Kate had suffered an inter-uterine stroke with permanent neurological impairment. She was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Before reaching age 10, she began to have seizures and underwent multiple brain, eye, and leg surgeries.
And if that wasn’t agonizing enough, Montrose said the medicines that doctors prescribed for his daughter all produced the same outcome – ‘temporarily effective but with some terrible side effects.’
“The medicines were horrible,” Montrose told a group of about 30 guests at Dorchester County Library in Summerville on Thursday. “The side effects made her feel like an animal.”
Then, in 2015, South Carolina passed a bill legalizing cannabidoil, or CBD oil, which contains very low doses of THC and is derived from the hemp plant. Skeptically, Mark and wife tried the medication.
“It worked,” he said. “Not only did it work. It reduced her seizures. We took her off of two prescription medications and a crazy diet.”
A handful of people echoed Montrose’s concern at a seminar held by Compassionate SC, a patient advocacy organization promoting access to alternative healthcare. The group formed initially to advocate the passage of South Carolina’s Compassionate Care Act – a bill that could potentially legalize the medical use of cannabis for individuals with certain illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS, autism and others.
The bill, which was introduced to the statehouse last January and currently sits in a medical subcommittee, highlights cannabis’ proved ability to alleviate cancer symptoms, such as pain and nausea.
Supporters of the