Nothing has worked as well as cannabis oil in reducing the seizures experienced by this Nashville family's son. The only problem is that Tennessee's strict cannabis laws are making it extremely difficult for their son to reap the benefits of medical marijuana.
Seven-year-old TJ Ramsey suffers from polymicrogyria—a condition that causes seizures and affects healthy brain development. At one time TJ could experience up to 20 seizures a day. But after his parents began administering him CBD oil—a concentrated form of a marijuana compound that doesn't get people high—that number dropped down to two.
CBD was not only more effective but also had fewer side-effects than other treatments, according to TJ's mother Holly Ramsey.
"Nothing helped until we tried CBD oil," Ramsey told News Channel 5. "There hasn't been any downside. Not like the anti-epileptic drugs, which control mood, they can cause depression. They can cause anger. They almost all cause sleepiness. Some of them can cause problems with their cognition."
However, over the past few years, TJ has developed a tolerance to CBD and his number of daily seizures are starting to creep back up again. He now has around 7 each day. Ramsey says the next step is to start giving her son whole plant medical marijuana and not just the extracted CBD.
"From what we've discovered from using the CBD oil is that the oil itself is just part of the plant. And the more of the turpentine that you have from the plant, the more effect that the plant can have on the body."
However, while using CBD oil is legal for a select number of condition in Tennessee, medical marijuana as a whole is not allowed. But the Ramsey family is hoping to change that by pledging to support any bill that would bring a more comprehensive medical marijuana program to the Volunteer State.
However, there is no clear sign that medical marijuana will make its way to Tennessee this year. The state's new governor Bill Lee (R) said that while he supports research on CBD, he is not interested in wider legalization. There has been some movement in the state house though, with lawmakers like Senator Steve Dickerson (R) saying he plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill this year. So hopefully TJ won't have to suffer much longer.