9 Investigates

Parents fight for school to allow daughter with terminal disorder to take CBD oil

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A Volusia County 6-year-old who has a terminal genetic disorder is in a fight with her school over a supplement that her family says has improved her life.

Zoe Adams was having seizures daily until her family increased her dose of CBD hemp oil about a month ago.

It’s not the type of cannabinoid oil one would need a prescription for under Florida’s Medical Marijuana law; what Zoe takes is an over-the-counter supplement.

Investigative reporter Karla Ray asked district leaders why they won't allow Zoe to take it on campus and whether other districts have the same rule.

“She’ll stop walking and talking completely. She’ll end up being in a bed, in a wheelchair, not able to go anywhere,” Zoe’s mother, Kim Adams, said.

Zoe has Sanfillipo Syndrome, which destroys the cells in her body, starting with her brain and working toward her muscles.

In an effort to give her as many good days as possible, her family put her on over-the counter CBD hemp oil to reduce inflammation and pain associated with her disorder.

CBD hemp products contain less than .3 percent THC, and the brand Zoe consumes advertises that it has no THC.

The CBD hemp oil doesn’t get her high, but it gives her the ability to sleep through the night and sit still in school, for the first time.

“When we started on the CBD oil, she started picking up things, and we said, 'OK, something's working. ' But with this syndrome, now comes the seizures,” Zoe’s father, JJ Adams, said.

About a month ago, the family increased her dose, giving her 45 milligrams every three hours to battle then-daily focal seizures.  A request to continue that dosage while she’s in class at Edgewater Public School was denied by the Volusia County school district.

“In Florida, there’s a constitutional right to this medication.  It’s CBD oil, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be allowed in school, in my opinion,” attorney Matt Morgan said.

Volusia County school point to federal law.  A spokesperson said in a statement, “CBD Hemp oil falls under the definition of "marijuana extract," (21 CFR 1308) and remains listed as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law.  The request to bring cannabis oil onto our campuses, or the involvement of our staff, is prohibited.”

The Adams argue that other supplements or medication would be given to Zoe without question.

“It’s pretty difficult to see your child, who you thought was normal at birth, fade away from you,” JJ Adams said.

Volusia County Schools policy states that, “Personnel shall be authorized to assist students in the administration of prescription medication or to administer prescription medication to students while on school property or off campus on official school business when failure to take such medication during the school day could jeopardize the student's health. Only the principal or his designee shall administer prescription medication to the student or assist the student in the administration of such medication. Administration of prescription medication by school personnel shall be done only by those persons who have been trained to do so by the Volusia County Health Department or Volusia County School Board designated licensed student health services personnel and only pursuant to authorization by the student's parent or guardian and in accord with procedures established by the superintendent.”

Ray asked whether prescription CBD oil would be allowed on Volusia County campuses, and has not heard back.

Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.