- Associated Press - Saturday, May 3, 2014

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Mason City mother whose son has severe epilepsy is thanking Iowa lawmakers who voted to approve the use of cannabis oil to treat the condition.

Cassie Helland is hoping Gov. Terry Branstad will sign the bill into law, the Mason City Globe Gazette (http://bit.ly/1nTxeOX ) reported. The Iowa Legislature passed a bill Thursday legalizing the use of a form of marijuana oil to treat chronic epilepsy.

Helland’s son, 9-year-old Caleb, has had epileptic seizures since he was 3 months old. Helland says he has been having more intense seizures, including grand mal seizures, in recent weeks. Helland hopes Caleb can be prescribed cannabis oil and taken off the other medications, which have side effects such as liver and kidney damage.

The oil cannot be smoked and doesn’t create a high. It would have to be obtained in another state that produces it.

A written recommendation from a neurologist is required. Patients and caregivers must acquire a registration card from Iowa’s Department of Public Health.

Mothers of children with epilepsy lobbied lawmakers and are credited with changing minds of many to get the medical marijuana oil bill passed.

Helland, who works outside the home, couldn’t be at the Capitol to participate in the effort.

“I’m very grateful to the families down in Des Moines who have spoken out, and also to all the legislators,” Helland said.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

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