Tuesday 16 January 2018

Vera Twomey announces daughter is starting cannabis-based treatment in the Netherlands

Ava and Vera Twomey
Ava and Vera Twomey
Desperate: Vera Twomey Picture: Tom Burke

Rebecca Lumley

Medical cannabis campaigner Vera Twomey has revealed that her daughter Ava is to begin “life-saving" treatment in the Netherlands.

Ms Twomey said in May that she was being "forced out of the country" to access treatment for her daughter, who suffers from a severe form of epilepsy called Dravat Syndrome, which can cause multiple seizures a day.

The Cork woman has been campaigning for access to medical cannabis to treat her daughter’s condition. Ava has been on a CBD-based treatment since last October, and has shown a marked improvement, according to Ms Twomey.

This product contains very little THC, which is the active product in cannabis that produces a high. Ms Twomey has campaigned for access to drugs with higher levels of THC and has gained access to them in the Netherlands.

Ms Twomey claimed medicinal cannabis in liquid form has the potential to save her daughter’s life, as it reduces the frequency of seizures.

In a Facebook Live video she said: “Today we had a doctor’s appointment and we have begun Ava on her treatment, her CBD and THC medication has been prescribed and that medication will be issued tomorrow.

“She’s doing ok. I’m looking forward to getting going on it.”

“Apart from that, the people we’ve met over here have been fantastic, they’ve been tremendous. I’ve met a number of doctors, a number of nurses, paramedics, all of which are confused and appalled that medical THC and medical CBD combined are not available as treatment for patients like Ava and other people in Ireland.”

The Netherlands is one of the few European countries where cannabis is a legal substance. Ms Twomey said witnessing “ordinary people’s” use of the drug has cemented her position on Irish legalisation.

She said: “Coming over here has made me see the ordinary people in this country. They think it’s a fantastic alternative, a fantastic treatment and that’s the way it should be and I hope that’s the way it will be over in Ireland.”

Ms Twomey previously walked in protest from Cork to Dublin and attended a meeting with Minister for Health Simon Harris and the HSE. She was presented with five options for her daughter’s treatment, but said the recommendations were insufficient.

Ms Twomey was also previously halted at Dublin Airport as she attempted to bring medical cannabis into the country from Barcelona. She declared the drug and did not attempt the hide it. The cannabis was seized by customs.

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