The parents of a six-year-old girl in Nova Scotia are lobbying the provincial government to cover the cost of using cannabis oil for the treatment of seizures in children.
Kaylee and Nick Jones, along with their daughter Sophie, were at the Nova Scotia House of Assembly on April 11 to present a petition with 1,368 signatures in support of Nova Scotia covering the cost of CBD-based medicines for children with life-threatening conditions.
Chris Palmer, a Progressive Conservative MLA in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly read the petition after introducing the family to the house, explaining that six-year-old Sophie was born with a rare chromosome abnormality called Malan Syndrome.
Several years ago, the Jones’ neurologist recommended that Sophie use CBD oil to manage symptoms, which the family says has cost them around $400 a month. Kaylee Jones, Sophie’s mother, says the CBD oil has more effectively helped to reduce her daughter’s seizures than other more conventional medications.
The petition calls on the Nova Scotia government to cover the cost of CBD use by children with similar conditions by adding it as an exception-status drug to the Pharmacare program.
In a recent interview, Sophie’s parents explained that she has been using CBD oil for more than three years, which has reduced the number and length of her seizures. Her seizures began shortly after her third birthday, coming in clusters that lasted several minutes.
The longest seizure was up to 45 minutes. MLAs routinely present petitions in the Nova Scotia House of Legislature on behalf of their constituents, which are usually presented and then tabled in the House during the daily routine. Once filed with the Clerk, petitions become part of the public record of the House.
The full petition reads:
WHEREAS Cannabis-based therapies have been used for millennia to treat a variety of diseases including epilepsy. Up to 30% of children with epilepsy are treatment resistant regarding standard anticonvulsant medications. Several studies have shown that CBD-enriched cannabis herbal extract is beneficial in decreasing seizure frequency in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
WHEREAS Treatment-resistant epilepsy leads to an increase in expensive prescribed medications and frequent trips to already overburdened emergency rooms while being transported by Emergency Health Services, also an overburdened component of our Health Care system.
WHEREAS Veterans Affairs Canada established a Reimbursement Policy for medical cannabis in accordance with Section 4 of the Veterans Health Care Regulations that does not require a Drug Identification Number. The Province of Nova Scotia could do something similar for children with life-threatening illnesses, such as epilepsy.
THEREFORE we, the undersigned, residents of Nova Scotia call upon the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly to cover the cost of cannabidiol (CBD) based medicine for children who have life-threatening diseases and specifically to remove the financial barrier to accessing CBD based medicines for children with epilepsy by adding it as an Exception Status Drug to the Pharmacare Program.
Sophie’s parents run a Facebook page that can be found here.