For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug derived from cannabis.
The move is being celebrated by those who depend on marijuana to relieve pain and even stay alive. One of those individuals is Alexis Bortell, 12, of Larkspur.
Alexis has epilepsy and requires a cannabis medication to prevent seizures. She was forced to move from Texas to Colorado for treatment.
"I usually black out. I don't remember [the seizures]," Alexis said.
Since the age of 7, Alexis has suffered daily seizures until coming to Colorado and starting a doctor-recommended THC hemp oil regiment.
She consumes THC three times a day. She said she hasn't had a seizure in three years.
"The THC really helped," Alexis said.
THC is different from the newly FDA-approved CBD. While THC creates a high, CBD does not. For Alexis and others, CBD does not help.
The Bortell family is continuing its fight to get THC approved by the federal government. The family says it is encouraged by the recent progress.
"I think it's great baby steps," Alexis said.
The Bortell's lawsuit, now in the hands of an appeals court, argues Alexis cannot travel across state lines with her medication and is not allowed to visit federal property. That includes national parks and even post offices.
Oral arguments in the Bortell case are expected in the summer of 2018. The U.S. Department of Justice did not reply to calls seeking comment.
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