- Associated Press - Monday, April 28, 2014

ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (AP) - Watching her child suffer from seizures has caused Halifax resident Dia Denton to become a mom with a mission.

She said she is working to see medical marijuana legalized in North Carolina and she won’t stop until it happens.

Fifteen months ago, Denton, her husband Jeff and sonNoah welcomed Nicholas, the newest member of their family into the world.

Shortly after, Denton noticed something wasn’t right. He was having spasms, or seizures - five to six at a time.

After numerous tests, Nicholas was diagnosed with West Syndrome, also called infantile spasms.

Denton said this is a catastrophic form of epilepsy, which is a group of long-term neurological disorders characterized by epileptic seizures.

“His prognosis is generally poor,” she said. “He’s not expected to have a good quality of life. This comes with severe mental and physical disabilities. This has a fairly high death rate if it’s not controlled.”

Denton said doctors have experimented with six medications since Nicholas’ diagnosis. Currently, he’s on three, but the seizures have not stopped, according to Denton, who added presently her son is not developing as other children.

“The only thing he can do right now is roll over,” she said, adding Nicholas will soon have to leave day care. “He’s 31 inches long and he can’t sit up or play on the floor. I don’t know what we’re going to do. We have to get him better.”

Denton said with the help of her family they’ve found evidence that medical marijuana may be the answer they are looking for. She cited a 2013 report by CNN correspondent Saundra Young, which covered the benefits of medical marijuana in children suffering from epilepsy. According to that report, Charlotte Figi was 3 months old when she had her first seizure. As she grew the frequency and duration of the seizures grew with her.

Charlotte was hospitalized repeatedly and later diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, also known as myoclonic epilepsy of infancy.

She was put on heavy duty medications including barbiturates and benzpdiazepines. The report said the seizures would go away for a while then resurface. When she was 2, Charlotte began to deteriorate cognitively, according to her parents in the CNN story.

In November 2000, Amendment 20, requiring a state run marijuana registry program, was approved by voters in Colorado.

Charlotte’s family found evidence a strain of cannabis, low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabidiol, or CBD, was being used to treat Drevet Syndrome in California with positive results, according to CNN.

The strain of cannabis was high in medicinal value but did not have the unwanted side psychoactive effects.

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