Teenager in coma receives first dose of medicinal cannabis
A teenager in an induced coma in Wellington Hospital has been given his first dose of medicinal cannabis after it arrived from the United States.
Alex Renton, 19, has been in hospital since April 8 in "status epilepticus", a kind of prolonged seizure. At 1pm today he was administered a medicinal cannabidiol (CBD), Elixinol.
Doctors began to slowly lift Renton's sedation on Friday in preparation for the CBD arriving after associate minister of health Peter Dunne approved the treatment on Tuesday.
Renton opened his eyes on Friday and had started to respond to voices and an MRI scan showed the seizures had not caused brain damage.
His mother, Rose Renton, said it could be anywhere between two and 10 days before Alex showed any signs of the Elixinol having an effect.
Doctors have been able to apply for medicinal cannabis products for many years but this is the first time this particular avenue has been used for this particular product.
Dunne is already working on the possibilities of making CBD more readily available but the Prime Minister has said he wouldn't support a parliamentary debate on broadening access.
John Key said his advice was that there were alternatives available.
Labour MP Damien O'Connor, a former associate health minister, is working on a member's bill calling for better access to CBD for families who have already tried conventional treatments.
On Tuesday O'Connor said he was seeking more advice on the matter and was hoping to have an informal meeting with Dunne in the next week to talk about his own findings.