SIR – The following is from the text of an open letter written to Mr Simon Harris, Minister for Health, on behalf of Vera Twomey and her daughter, Ava Barry from Aghabullogue, who suffers from Dravets Syndrome, an extremely rare drug-resistant epilepsy and she has hundreds of seizures daily, which are having devastating consequences to her health, family life and broader life:
‘Ava Barry is a six-year-old girl diagnosed with “Dravets Syndrome,” an extremely rare drug resistant epilepsy. She has hundreds of seizures daily and frequently spends long periods in hospital.
‘Countless drugs have been tried and failed to treat her seizures. Ava’s alternative and chance to control her seizures is through medicinal marijuana (CBD).
Medical World News reported in 1971: ‘Marijuana... is probably the most potent anti-epileptic known to medicine today’ (Mikuriya, Tod H., M.D. Marijuana Medical Papers 1839-1972, page xxii).
‘There are two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant THC and CBD. The medicinal marijuana chemical cannabidiol (CBD) does not affect the mind or behaviour. The body naturally produces its own cannabinoid chemicals (in smaller amounts).
‘Cannabinoid receptors are found in our brain, central nervous system and distributed throughout the immune system.
For this reason, I ask the question why on Earth is a substance that is naturally occurring in our bodies illegal?
‘Furthermore because of the removal of THC there is no associated high and the CBD component is a natural non-toxic plant medicine.
‘There are countless testimonials online from children around the world demonstrating massive seizure reduction after CBD care. See ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ the story of Charlotte and Zaki, two CBD patients showcasing the dramatic drop in seizures from 300 a week down to one a week.
‘CBD is a natural plant medicine and Ava is the future of this country. Under the constitution, everyone has a “right to life” and under Roles and Responsibilities of Government, that the needs of the public are addressed and that any dangers threatening the interests of the public are averted.
‘Therefore, since you have been made aware of medical solutions for a disease that doesn’t respond to pharmaceutical drugs, I am respectfully urging you, Government, councils and agencies to push legal solutions and necessary procedures to rectify medicinal marjiuana’s legal status and usage in Ireland, so this mother can ease the pain her child is so bravely enduring and to remove the daily threat to her life.
‘Change the laws now on medicinal marijuana so Ava and other people suffering can get the medicine they need.’
You can show your support by signing the online petition: Petition Minister for health CBD for Ava Support Change.org or go to CBD for Ava on Facebook.
and Sylvia Papak,