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Top Ireland Neurologist Joins CBD Fight for Six-Year Old Ava

A top neurologist in Dublin has voiced support for the campaign to legalize CBD medicine in Ireland.

Respected neurologist Dr. Colin Doherty has joined the battle to legalize cannabidiol (CBD) in Ireland, the Irish Times reports. Cannabis of any type and for any purpose is completely illegal in Ireland, but activists have been urging for a change to Irish law that would allow for medicinal cannabinoids. The face of that legalization effort is six-year old Ava Barry, who’s diagnosed with the extremely rare pediatric seizure disorder called Dravet syndrome.

Suffering from multiple daily seizures – some lasting as long as 90 minutes – as well as long periods of hospital stay, Ava was given 11 different types of traditional medication that didn’t help, according to the Irish Times. The family then turned to CBD oil and saw improvements.

“She only had seven seizures in a whole month. Before, she could have had seven seizures in two hours,” said Vera Twomey, Ava’s mother. “We want the very best for Ava. I have seen that this is working. CBD is the best thing we have done for her so far.”

Twomey had to travel out of Ireland to get access to CBD, which when derived from hemp is legal to purchase and use in all 50 U.S. states. In Mexico and Brazil, CBD oil is available with a prescription.

“We want to access this treatment for Ava here in Ireland, we don’t think our little girl should have to leave our own home and move to another country to be without all the major benefits a loving and caring family life that she has here provides,” said Twomey.

Twomey started an online petition for Ireland’s Minister for Health Simon Harris to allow CBD for Ava and is looking to collect 25,000 signatures. As of now, it has 23,761.

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Recently joining the effort is Dr. Doherty, a consultant neurologist at St. James’ Hospital in Dublin and a senior lecturer at Trinity College School of Medicine. Doherty voiced his support for licensing medicinal cannabinoids while speaking at the Oireachtas health committee. He told the committee that there was growing evidence for the effectiveness of CBD.

“It is possible to state with confidence that this drug will not work for everyone, will cause intolerable but probably not dangerous side-effects in a few, but for those for who it will work it may be life-saving,” said Doherty.

After Twomey conducted a walk to draw attention to the issue, the Minister for Health promised her he would take action on cannabis use for medicinal purposes. He tasked the Health Products Regulatory Authority to provide him with expert scientific advice and to advise on legislative changes. As of now, however, officials have said they’re hesitant to allow cannabis oil until there are more clinical trials.

“We feel she should be entitled to be treated in her own country. We beg the government to see that a small child like Ava has battled every day with seizures lasting from two minutes to two hours. She has astonished doctors with her progress and we are proud of her but imagine what she could achieve if we accessed medication that is proved to work,” said Twomey.

You can keep up with the CBD for Ava effort through the campaign’s Facebook page, and can read and sign the Change.org petition here.