Tennessee Patients Seek Medical Marijuana For Relief

Tennessee Patients Seek Medical Marijuana For Relief

CREATED Jan 30, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The subject of medicinal marijuana continues to evoke controversy. Normally law-abiding citizens risk arrest to self-medicate with marijuana.

A few patients have moved to other states where legislation has been passed that makes the substance legal. Many residents have opted to stay in the area.

NewsChannel 5 spoke with a man, who wished to remain anonymous, who willingly breaks the law in order to find relief from his systemic rheumatoid arthritis.

"I don't want to have to go commit crimes to get something beneficial to me," he said.

For years doctors had prescribed narcotics to ease the pain, he said the side-effects made him sick and he worried about addiction. He said would consider moving to Colorado, where marijuana is now legal, if he could, but the 29-year-old is disabled, living with his mother and can barely walk his dog.

"That's why I'm willing to do whatever it takes," he said.

Not everyone is willing to take such a risk.

Penn and Nicole Mattison are moving to Colorado in hopes the marijuana extract might somehow help their child.

"I think if you're going to do something like this, I think you need to do it legally," said Penn Mattison. "And if that means uprooting then she's worth it."

Their 22-month-old daughter, Millie, has suffered from seizures for most of her young life. Her doctors have prescribed her with a powerful, anti-seizure drug.

"She is on 2000 milligrams a day, which is 500 milligrams more than an adult male would take," Mattison said.

Such a high dose renders Millie in a nearly comatose state, sleeping 22 hours a day.

Conventional medicine was clearly not working. Then the Mattisons heard of a cannabis oil that's dramatically reduced seizures in other children.

Now, they're saying goodbye to their jobs, friends and family in hopes of helping their child. Penn Mattison said the family is uprooting to Denver for medical marijuana. 

Tennessee is just one of many states where medicinal marijuana is still illegal. As of 2014, 21 states have legalized it for medicinal purposes. Tennessee Representative Sherry Jones has introduced a bill to do just that this current legislative session.