Toddler treated illegally with cannabis oil
A Northland couple who illegally gave their baby cannabis oil to treat seizures say the move to make medicinal cannabis easier to come by doesn't go far enough.
They started giving baby Venus, or Nessie as she's called at home, a cannabis product when she was just 18 months old, and they say they'd do it again in a heartbeat.
The seizures are caused by a rare disorder - phenylketonuria, which is a metabolic condition causing a build-up of toxic acid in her brain.
Doctors prescribed steroids, but Zane and Ngaio Walton say the act of giving them to her was too much.
"She'd scream and cry. You'd have to use the syringe lock in the back of her teeth, wait for her to scream her lungs out, then squirt into the back of her mouth," Mr Walton says.
Ms Walton says the toddler was fighting for her life.
After six weeks of that, Nessie stopped eating or drinking, refusing to open her mouth at all.
It was then the couple heard the story of Charlotte Figi. She was given CBD oil, an extract of hemp that doesn't make the user high, but proved helpful.
Mr and Ms Walton decided to give it a shot.
"We found like most things you could order it online," Ms Walton says.
"Our second order was inspected opened and inspected by Customs and allowed through."
The oil arrived from the US and they gave it to Nessie for six months.
"[You'd] squeeze out a little pinhead on your finger, she'd laugh away, then rub it on her gums," Mr Walton says.
The couple doubts the changes to medical cannabis access would have changed anything for them, given Nessie's age. But they say she no longer needs it.
"She didn't have one more seizure from her first dose," Ms Walton says.
For more than a year Nessie has been seizure- and cannabis-free. Her parents say they know it was illegal, but it was well worth it.