Health

Man Arrested For Growing Cannabis To Treat His Seizures

| by Robert Fowler

A Kansas man suffering from seizures unrelated to epilepsy has been arrested for growing marijuana in his home.

He had been extracting a cannabis oil from the plant to help control his symptoms.

On April 18, Wilson County Sheriff's deputies arrested Larry Burgess inside of his home in Fredonia, Kansas. He had been preparing dinner for his wife and children when officers surrounded his house with their firearms drawn.

"They seized my cannabis medication and other items I had here for the cannabis use," Burgess told KSNT.

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Marijuana possession is illegal in the Sunflower State. Burgess had reportedly grown the illicit substance in his home to extract the cannabidiol compound and use it to medicate his seizures. Initially, he and his wife had made trips to Colorado three times a year to stock up on marijuana products, but eventually chose to grow the plant in their own home.

"Instead of trying to deal with unsavory characters or actual criminals, I decided to start making it myself," Burgess explained.

CBD is a compound found in cannabis that has shown success in curbing the rate of seizures in patients with epilepsy and other conditions. In December 2015, a New York University Langone Medical Center study found that 36.5 percent of patients experienced fewer seizures while taking the substance, and 2 percent had no convulsions whatsoever, according to Scientific American.

While studies have indicated that CBD could help treat seizures, there is not a robust amount of medical data on the topic because of marijuana's federal status as a Schedule I drug, which limits the amount of scientific testing and prohibits using control groups, according to Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy.

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Burgess said that without his cannabis capsules, he suffered from two seizures after being taken into custody.

"I had two seizures, the first one they took me to the hospital, the second one the following morning," Burgess said, KSNT reports. "I wasn't able to get any medical help for my seizure. It was pretty scary to be honest."

The Fredonia resident recalled that he and his wife had been candid about growing marijuana in their house with acquaintances and suspects that this resulted in the sheriff's office being tipped off.

The Wilson County Sheriff's Office told reporters that the investigation into Burgess' marijuana possession is still ongoing and that "there will be no further comment at this time."

Burgess faces charges for the possession and manufacture of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute and possession of paraphernalia. He worries the arrest will put a permanent blot on his reputation.

"No matter what happens, I will have this on my record and will be considered a criminal," Burgess said.

While Burgess' future remains uncertain, he could have the ability to use legally use CBD in the future.

Democratic State Rep. John Wilson of Kansas has introduced legislation that would legalize a cannabis medication called Epidiolex, which the FDA approved and has been successful in treating seizures, CJonline reports.

"It's derived from cannabis, but has no intoxicating effects and has all the hallmarks of FDA-approved drugs," Wilson said of Epidiolex. "It is a solution for many of the families who have children or family members suffering from seizures."

Sources: CJOnlineKSNT, Scientific AmericanCURE / Photo Credit: MarihuanayMedicina/Flickr

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