MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) -- A Madison family is pleading for help for their 16-month-old baby girl. Charlotte Dalton has seizures almost daily, some lasting almost an hour. Now, her parents are trying to find a remedy that will help keep her calm, without the side effects of strong medication.
Baby Charlotte has been given Valium and Ativan, medications that have lasting and dangerous side effects. Her mother, Gena Dalton, is asking lawmakers to help them by passing a bill legalizing an oil from the cannabis plant. She believes it could be the answer to their prayers.
"My mouth just fell open when I'm hearing the amounts of Valium they pumped in her, when that wasn't working and she's still seizing 30 minutes later they start giving her Ativan, and for days she was just kind out of it, listless. It was heartbreaking," said Dalton.
Dalton said Charlotte began having seizures when she was just a few months old. She was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a genetic disorder.
Right now, Charlotte's "rescue drugs" may be doing more harm than help.
"The side effects are horrendous," said Dalton. "Some of the side effects -- you have to monitor liver function or kidney function because the risk of organ failure is extremely high."
Dalton is asking legislators to legalize oil from the cannabis plant so Charlotte can have a shot at a safer treatment for her seizures. The oil has extremely low levels of THC and no psychoactive effects. It's just derived from the marijuana plant.
"There are families in Colorado who have children with similar epileptic seizures that are having great success with this medication and these are families that literally had no other hope," said Dalton.
Dalton thinks the oil could be Charlotte's saving grace.
"People in the general population might go, 'you would really consider giving that to your child?'" she said. "But considering what we're giving her now, the side effects are way less, there's no addictive properties to it unlike Valium and Ativan, which are highly addictive."
She said she'll do whatever it takes.
"We don't want to leave, but if it comes down to getting what we need for our daughter, we'll move to Colorado, but we don't want that," she said.
She's putting her faith in the hands of Alabama lawmakers like Rep. Mike Ball. Ball is working on a rough draft of a bill that will allow the cannabis oil, without legalizing medical marijuana.
"We hope this legislation gets passed, so we can be free from prosecution, we can try this out for our child, and hopefully it'll work," said Dalton.
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