GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - It's now legal to use cannabis oil for limited medical purposes in Tennessee.
After Governor Bill Haslam gave the final approval earlier in May, one Greeneville family decided to give it a try.
9-month-old Penelope McCall has been taking prescription medications to treat her Infantile Spasms her entire life, but now the McCall family is seeing a difference with an all-natural remedy.
As News 5 visited, Penelope cried, a noise that the McCall family has never heard. "That's huge for us just to hear the sound coming from her," mother Ellen McCall says.
And it gets better. "Her legs have been kicking a lot more, her arms have been moving a lot more," McCall says.
And McCall believes it's because of the cannabis oil Penelope takes twice a day. "It's exciting to see her, you know, coming alive," McCall says. "She's more alert."
Just days after the legalization of cannabis oil for limited medical purposes, the McCall family talked to their doctor for approval. "It's kind of the same as a prescription, but it's a recommendation that your child needs the oil," McCall says.
Then, the family ordered the drug "Charlotte's Web" from Colorado, where it's legal. "We've already seen results in a week, so it's only going to get better from here," McCall says.
Penelope is responding well, and McCall hopes doctors will too. "A lot of the education to the doctors is coming from us parents, you know, we've done the research and we know where to get it and who to get it from," McCall says.
Dr. Tom Makres from Bristol Pediatrics Associates sees nothing wrong with the limited use of cannabis oil. "I can't see any reason why you wouldn't use it to help a suffering child," he says. "It relaxes the muscles, and maybe even would slow down the seizures."
But he says there's always potential for problems. "It may not work in the first place. It may stop working. She may build up a tolerance to it, and then you'll have to have higher and higher doses, which then could lead to a problem of toxicity and addiction," Dr. Makres says.
Despite all that, the McCall family is excited for Penelope's future. "Thinking about how much she's going to progress, you know, the longer that she's on it," McCall says.
Penelope can't stop taking the prescription drugs right away, but the family hopes to wean her off of them and solely use cannabis oil one day for her treatment.
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