Cannabis key to Tara's dramatic improvement

AN eight-year-old girl at the centre of a debate over medicinal marijuana says she just wants to keep using the medicine that’s making her better.

Mia Mia girl Tara O’Connell has shown a rapid improvement in her epilepsy since being administered daily doses of liquid cannabis.

Her mother Cheri O’Connell said the medication has sparked “a complete turnaround” in Tara’s health and one doctor has described her improvement as “nothing short of miraculous”.

Tara suffers from a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet’s Syndrome that left her having up to 200 seizures a day.

In 2012 Tara was resuscitated eight times and doctors warned that she may not live long past her seventh birthday.

That's when Ms O'Connell began to look into the use of medicinal marijuana.

Poll: Should medicinal marijuana be legalised?

Cherie O’Connell took the advice of a friend who lost her daughter to Dravet Syndrome and ordered small bottles of liquid cannabis from Kempsey, New South Wales.

“It was a choice between death and giving her a chance at life,” she said. “From the first day she started using it I saw changes in her. It's been a complete turnaround."

Ms O'Connell said Tara's speech and walking has improved dramatically and she has not had a seizure for nine months. She is now preparing for grade two at Langley Primary School.

Melbourne Child Neurology doctor Lindsay J Smith wrote of Tara’s improvement that it was “nothing short of miraculous”.

The improvement at this point in time is nothing short of miraculous - Dr Lindsay J Smith

Under state legislation it is illegal to grow or use marijuana for medicinal use.

Premier Dennis Napthine said at the weekend there were no plans to change that law and any questions of approving medications “would be an issue for the Therapeutic Goods Administration Authority under the Federal Government.”

Ms O’Connell said the actual cannabis substance of THC-4 that Tara is given in 0.1ml doses was not illegal.

But she said she vowed to campaign to change the law, in a bid to help others. She labelled the controversy around the use of medicinal marijuana as "ridiculous" and said most critics were ill-informed.

"I've got to keep fighting. I need to keep pushing to get these changes," she said.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide