Photo: Six-year-old Liam McKnight’s quality of life has been immeasurably improved by medicinal marijuana, his mother says.
Liam McKnight signed his medical marijuana licence when he was just five years old.
The boy from Constance Bay suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy. It can cause nearly constant seizures that last three to four minutes each. His condition led him to miss time during kindergarten.
Liam had 67 seizures the day before starting cannabis oil treatment. The first 10 days he used cannabis oil, he was seizure-free, his mother says.
“He had new words,” said Liam’s mother, Mandy. “He was horseback riding. He was in a boat, he went tubing. He was so happy. We had a little glimpse of what life could be like.”
Now six years old, Liam is registered to start Grade 1 in September at St. Michael school in Fitzroy Harbour, with the help of an educational assistant and full-time nurse.
On Wednesday, he was counting characters in a children’s book from the world of Teletubbies, and seemingly having a pretty good day. “I went to the park,” he said shyly. “I read a book.”
He suffered a small seizure while speaking to the Citizen.
Even though Liam is licensed to use medical marijuana, taking it in extracted oil form violates Health Canada’s new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, which came into effect April 1.
Under the regulations, the strains of marijuana that producers can sell are no longer restricted, making it easier to find strains high in CBD, the chemical that treats Liam’s condition the best, but low in THC, a psychoactive component associated with pain relief.
However, licensed producers can only sell dried marijuana. They can’t sell any derivative products, such as oils or foods made with marijuana.