After 20 medications failed to treat a dying New Zealand teenager, cannabis oil may have saved his life.

TVNZ reported that Alex Renton was taken off life support due to improvement following emergency medical marijuana treatment. Alex Renton’s story has sparked a national debate about the morality of medical marijuana in New Zealand.

Alex’s mother Rose says “He breathes all by himself now with no help…His heart is strong and his lungs are strong.”

Alex had been taking Elixinol™, a cannabis oil treatment, for nine days. The Elixinol™ was imported from the United States pending a special government approval. Elixinol™ is made from extracting CBD from raw hemp product. A 10 ml tube of the product has 1800mg of CBD. Drops are administered twice a day underneath the tongue.

Alex suffered from status epilepticus, a sort of prolonged seizure. Medical cannabis has been garnering attention for its effectiveness against epilepsy in its many forms. The only alternative would be heavy sedation on benzodiazepines. 10-30% of those suffering from status epilepticus are dead within 30 days. The Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne approved a one-time course of treatment for the teen. The CBD-rich hemp oil came from a company the United States.

Rose Renton explains “Alex could be woken very slowly if the seizures stop… His sedation level is still high.”

During the first treatment a few weeks ago, reporters were skeptical of his recovery. However, the cannabis oil appears to be working. The 19-year-old has been bedridden in a Wellington hospital since April. After Alex’s family urged the doctors to increase his dosage, Alex will begin taking cannabis oil four times a day. Alex’s other six siblings are now able to visit him. Amazingly, the New Zealand media questioned the morality of using cannabis oil in this scenario.

Alex is now able to open his eyes but it will take longer until he is able to communicate. Rose says “Today he is stronger, as the room is quiet. There is no monitoring and beeping, less medication and more rest.”

An electroencephalogram(EEG) will measure the actual success of the cannabis oil. Alex’s brain scan indicated that there while were still seizures lingering, they were able to reduce sedatives enough for him to finally open his eyes. Alex’s condition is not a simple case nor will it be a simple cure.

Rose says “The hospital are working with us. Without hospital sedation, Alex wouldn’t be here. People want a [cannabis oil] miracle, and so do I. But we are realists too.”

In some cases there is no alternative to cannabis oil. Alex Renton’s case is a perfect example. It’s time for the world’s greatest nations to make it available everywhere that it’s needed.