Tenn. family says cannabis oil is helping young daughter

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GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – A local family said they have seen a big change in their daughter just a month after giving her what was once a controversial form of treatment.

Last month, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill in to law allowing those with epilepsy to use cannabis oil to control their seizures.

Earlier this year we sat down with the Mathes family who fought for the bill’s passage to help their daughter, Josie.

Now, a month in to using the oil, they said the use of cannabis oil has changed their daughter’s quality of life.

“Every little thing that she does that’s new, we’re just so grateful for,” Josie’s mom Stacie Mathes said. “She has more control in her arms and her legs and she’s trying to roll and crawl.”

At 16 months old, Josie should be walking, but Mathes said because of prescription medications she has taken to control her seizures, “She still can’t sit unsupported on her own so that’s tough for a mom to see,” Mathes said.

As soon as it became legal, the Mathes family started Josie on cannabis oil.

They said they are hopeful the oil will help control her seizures while freeing her from the medications.

“We’ve been able to come off two medications so far and the first one really had her in a doped up, tired, groggy state,” Mathes said.

She said Josie is already developing more and her seizures have been cut in half. Mathes said up to this point they’d never even heard their daughter cry.

Now that the fog of the drugs is lifting, “We’re slowly beginning to see more and more, especially smiles, those are the best,” Mathes said. “Just to go from a blank stare to you know, in a doped up condition to laugh it’s just a 180.”

Mathes said they are hoping Josie will be completely medication free by the fall, and someday seizure free.

“If it doesn’t help her like the miracle we want, anything that we see, and the fact that’s it’s going to help others is better than anything we could ask for,” Mathes said.

Mathes said for now, they are taking in the sweet sight of their little girl coming to life for the first time.

District Attorney General Barry Staubus said he thinks this is a good law, and is glad it will help those who legitimately need it.

But he said he is concerned others will use it as a way to open the door to illegal drug use.

“From talking to local law enforcement with the passage of the cannabis oil bill, I think it will require law enforcement to do additional training, because they’re going to have to be able to determine what is legitimate and legal cannabis oil verses some of the other products that would be illegal,” Staubus said.

The law takes effect immediately, but the product still won’t be sold in Tennessee.

Mathes told us she gets dozens of phone calls from parents asking how to get treatment for their own little ones.

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