AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– More people will soon have access to medical marijuana treatment. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed an expansion to Georgia’s cannabis oil bill — which means 6 more conditions are now eligible to receive treatment including patients in hospice care.
We first introduced you to Preston McCormick a few years ago, when the clinical trials of cannabis oil were taking place right here in Augusta.
Today I talked with his mom, 2 years after Preston started cannabis oil treatments– She told me the expansion is a step in the right direction for many patients in new categories including autism, AIDS, Tourette’s and Alzheimer’s.
“It’s more natural on the body. God put everything on this earth for a reason. We just have to figure out what those reasons are,” Valerie McCormick said.
McCormick, mom to Preston, says the last two years have been life changing for her son– she contributes it to cannabis oil. Preston has a rare form of epilepsy that is medication resistant.
“Until we came across the cannabis oil. I did a lot of homework about that before I jumped on that bandwagon, and it’s the only thing that’s ever shown him any type of relief whatsoever,” McCormick said.
Augusta University Research Pharmacist, Marjorie Phillips, studies the effects of medical marijuana.
“Cannabis oil that’s now legal for use in Georgia, is not a medication. It is a botanical product, and it is not controlled by the FDA,” Phillips said.
This means, product development has no regulation– she warns users that there’s no guarantee that the oil is of quality or contains promised ingredients.
“There have been a lot of case reports, particularly in epilepsy, of benefits for certain patients. If in an individual case and an individual patient they’re having benefits, that’s great. Even with a medication on the market, there’s always risks and benefits, and when it’s a botanical not under any type of control, there’s even more risks,” Phillips said.
McCormick said Preston’s new quality of life far out weighs those risks.
“The more people that do their homework and open up their mind to the idea that there might be something else out there, the better off we’re all going to be because the reality is, there may come a day when you need it,” McCormick said.
Phillips said there is a pharmaceutical company doing trials at Augusta University to create a marijuana-derived medicine. Cannabidiol, which is found throughout the seeds, stalks and flowers of cannabis plants will be the main component.
This product will be submitted to FDA sometime this year.