Holly Springs mom pushing for medical marijuana in Ga.
by Joshua Sharpe
January 10, 2014 11:30 PM | 6113 views | 9 9 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Corey Lowe is trying to sway legislators to legalize medical marijuana in Georgia for her daughter, Victoria, who suffers from seizures caused by mitochondrial disease. ‘I’m always trying to find something to help her.’ Lowe said. ‘We’re not some potheads … trying to get our daughter stoned.’ Above: Corey reads a book to her daughter with the company of Choco, the family’s trained seizure dog. <br>Staff/Todd Hull
Corey Lowe is trying to sway legislators to legalize medical marijuana in Georgia for her daughter, Victoria, who suffers from seizures caused by mitochondrial disease. ‘I’m always trying to find something to help her.’ Lowe said. ‘We’re not some potheads … trying to get our daughter stoned.’ Above: Corey reads a book to her daughter with the company of Choco, the family’s trained seizure dog.
Staff/Todd Hull
Cory takes stock of the 13 different prescriptions Victoria has to ingest daily to help control the seizures. <br> Staff/Todd Hull
Cory takes stock of the 13 different prescriptions Victoria has to ingest daily to help control the seizures.
Staff/Todd Hull
Corey Lowe doesn’t know if medical marijuana can help her daughter, but as a mother she said she is willing to fight for a chance to make her child’s life better — no matter how long that life may be.

Lowe, 35, of Holly Springs, is pushing state lawmakers in 2014 to legalize medical use of the drug in hopes it might help her 12-year-old daughter Victoria, who has chronic seizures and cannot speak because of development issues.

“This may or may not work, and all I’m asking is to have the opportunity to try it,” Lowe said Friday. “I’m always trying to find something to help her. We’re not some potheads … trying to get our daughter stoned.”

Victoria, a Hasty Elementary School student, was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease at an early age. Lowe said doctors told her and her husband, Jason, to do their best to make their child’s life as good as possible, because she probably wouldn’t live to be an adult.

That’s easier said than done, her mother said.

Victoria has had seizures for nearly her entire life. They come suddenly and she sometimes has them 50 times a day, Lowe said. As a result, Lowe believes her daughter’s brain has been stalled in development, making her life more closely resemble that of a toddler.

Answers, though, have been slim for Victoria’s parents about exactly why she is the way she is. Lowe said she isn’t even sure if the diagnosis was correct, as some parts of Victoria’s condition have puzzled doctors.

At 12, Victoria still wears diapers and needs help to do the simplest tasks. She fights when her mother tries to make her put on shoes or a jacket, because she can’t stand the feeling. She has to be picked up from school many days, because her teachers can’t handle the seizures. She relies on a service dog to bark when she has a seizure if she’s away from people.

And although she has never spoken a word in her entire life, Lowe said Victoria has only been able to learn two signs in sign language.

“She’s never picked up on sign language,” her mother said. “You just kind of have to know her needs and wants. You’ve got to be intuitive.”

If Victoria wants something, Lowe said she points and grabs it. If she doesn’t want it, she pushes it away.

“She has no quality of life,” said Lowe, who has five other children.

But after doing research on what other families have seen through the use of medical marijuana for children with disorders like Victoria, Lowe believes the drug might at least make her daughter’s life more bearable.

Coveted results

In recent months, Lowe has become more and more interested in the potential of marijuana used as medicine.

She’s spent a great deal of time reading up on the pros and cons and talking with other families who are also intrigued by the idea.

Then she met Aaron Klepinger.

Klepinger moved his family to Colorado from Marietta in late 2013 on a leap of faith that the medical marijuana available there could somehow help his son, Hunter. Eight-year-old Hunter also has chronic seizures and, like Victoria, leads the life of a much younger child because of development issues.

“He’s had seizures nearly every day for eight years,” Klepinger said Friday, adding that Hunter is on the development level of a 1-month-old. “He’s severely, severely affected.”

But after six weeks of taking a regimen of oil extracted from marijuana, Klepinger said his son’s life has changed.

“In that six weeks, we had a period of six consecutive days with no seizures, which has never happened in his life,” said Klepinger, 36, who is hoping to move back to Georgia when the drug is allowed for medical use. “He’s much more aware of his surroundings and able to focus. He holds eye contact much better now, significantly better. Little things to us are huge, because he’s so severely affected.”

Lowe looks at children like Hunter and she wants what they have for Victoria.

“I want her to stop having seizures and begin to talk and say ‘Mom, I want cereal’ or ‘Mom, I love you,’” she said. “I see story after story after story that I’m following and I (wonder) what are we missing out on here? Why do I have to uproot my entire family and move to Colorado? We have six kids who are established.”

Lobbying for change

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have so far allowed medical marijuana. Lowe doesn’t see why Georgia can’t become the next state on the list during the 2014 legislative session.

She and other parents have joined together in a statewide advocacy group called Americans for Safe Access Georgia, which they hope will get the state’s lawmakers to consider their cause.

Some legislators appear to at least be listening.

House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) told Atlanta media this week he had concerns about making the drug available for medical use in Georgia, but he was open to considering it. He added politics needed to be taken out of the discussion and facts should be considered.

State Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) said he’d be willing to be a part of the conversation.

“I’ll echo what the speaker said,” Turner said Friday. “I think we should at least talk about it and look at the facts of the potential benefit, and obviously take a look at the downside as well.”

Turner said he thought lawmakers could possibly take up the issue for discussion during the 2014 session.

Lowe said she’s heard from several others who are open to the possibility of changing Georgia’s stance on medical marijuana. If that happens, she hopes Victoria could have a chance at something close to a normal life.

“I think that everything’s coming out in due time. More and more people, who are educating themselves and are saying ‘Hey, we never looked at this before,’ are getting on board,” she said. “I think that it can get passed this year if we keep the momentum and keep educating people.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
January 14, 2014
Medical marijuana is already legal in marijuana. Georgia has been using federal law to keep it illegal, which we all know is horse excrement.

Stormn Crow
January 11, 2014
The compound in marijuana that stops the seizures is called cannabidiol, or CBD. It does NOT get you high, but it does stop seizures! New strains of "High CBD" marijuana are available in "medical" states. CBD is also very useful for diabetics- it stops the nerve and heart damage diabetes causes. In petri dish experiments, CBD cause "triple negative breast cancer cells to revert to NORMAL! (I know that's hard to believe- see "Pot compound seen as tool against cancer" from the SFGate) Read more about CBD in "Granny Storm Crow's List- free online and on Facebook.
Charlotte Figi
January 11, 2014
Worked for me!
John Palmour
January 11, 2014
Cannabis is a gift that should be utilized. Scientific and medical research the World over proves the same point. Cannabis is an effective and efficient medicine for a myriad of symptoms that could potentially make the lives of a multitude of people more rich and fulfilling.

The States and even Countries that have already allowed cannabis use have proven that there will be no detrimental effects on the culture or society when cannabis is made available. In most cases crime and abuse rates drop off very quickly.

Not only does this plant hold medicinal potential but it also hold economic potential with jobs, ancillary industries, and development.

Being a 20 year cannabis enthusiast and 14 year medicinal patient the issue of Compassionate Access to Safe Medicine is near and dear to my Heart.

Georgia needs to activate and empower The Medical Review Board and give the Citizens the opportunity to vote on this issue.
January 11, 2014
Watching a child have a seizure has to be a frightening thing. But you have to question whether enough blind studies have been done that prove the efficacy of MARY JANE in any condition. Also what are the increased risks of respiratory tract cancer and emphysema to a young non smoker.

In states that has elected to go the medical marijuana route hasn't the recreational marijuana push soon followed? Part of the justification for this is a 25% tax on this addictive plant. All of these considerations plus the involvement of Speaker Ralston (a questionable character) needs considerable objective medical investigation before being turned over to the pols who always take a noble cause and turn it into revenue.
With Respect
January 13, 2014
First of all, yes, enough research has already proven the safety and medical efficacy of this non-addictive plant. Which brings me to my second point: cannabis is no more addictive than caffeine, ice cream, or antihistamines. We don't label every person who likes sweets or has allergies an addict, do we? And to answer your other incredibly uninformed question -- no parent is going to have their child smoke their medicine. It's administered as an oil extract.

Lastly, I question your character if you'd condemn even one child to daily seizures because you don't like Ralston and don't like taxes and only use your fingers to type questions instead of googling for the answers, yourself. Not very holy, moly. Stop sending questions out into the ether and start looking for your own answers, instead. The information is not only out there, it is readily available. I don't understand why you'd be content let kids suffer simply because you don't know how to use the internet.
January 15, 2014
My son suffered a head trauma 3 years ago and do to that he has been having lots of seizures he takes 13 pills a day has lots of sides effects and still not seizure free plus he has taken a big steep back on on his regular day life do to the seizures I'm really interested on the marijuana use it seems less harmful to the body.

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