Mother of epileptic woman pushes for medical marijuana, bill passes final reading in S.C. Senate

Mother of epileptic woman pushes for medical marijuana, bill passes final reading in S.C. Senate

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The mother of an epileptic woman is pushing for the medical marijuana bill to become law in South Carolina even though she says her daughter doesn't qualify for the clinical trial. The bill passed a final reading in the S.C. Senate Thursday.

Toni Catoe says 34-year-old her daughter, Meredith, is on 36 drugs right now and has been on, at least, 50 other drugs in the past. Meredith has had uncontrollable seizures since she was three. She has about 20 a day now, but as a child, her mom says she would sometimes have 1000 a day.

"She's fallen constantly and broken bones forcing her to be in a wheel chair just for her own safety."

Catoe, who is a nurse, says some medications have worked, some haven't and others have lost their effect over time. She says that is a possibility for medical marijuana as well, but she wants as many options available to patients and families as possible.

"I really would feel for any parent who, at this stage, has to pick up and move to another state not even knowing how long the efficacy of those drugs that they're going to try new would work."

As the bill is written now, Catoe's daughter would not qualify for the medical marijuana trial.

"Meredith has one of the syndromes that the current bill covers, which is Lennox-Gastaut, but since she is not a pediatric patient she would not be considered for the clinical trial."

However, for her daughter's sake and for others who suffer from the debilitating disease, she wants to see the bill become law.

"She is the joy of our lives. We're very proud of her. She has struggled through many things other people don't have to struggle through, and she's always accepted it, never complains."

If the bill is signed into law, it would bring a clinical trial to MUSC for a drug that uses a cannabis-compound called CBD. The extract does not include THC, the chemical in marijuana that is responsible for a "high" effect.

South Carolina Advocates for Epilepsy is hosting Epilepsy: Beyond the Diagnosis on Saturday, April 26th at the Sterett Hall Auditorium. Admission is free.