Years after medical cannabis oil legalized, advocates say more needs to be done

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There is a law on the books in Tennessee that allows seizure patients to use cannabis oil for medical purposes.

Some patients have seen a drastic reduction in the number of seizures since using the oil.

It took a grassroots effort from several groups and individuals to get the bill passed nearly three years ago, but advocates say more needs to be done.

Brentwood resident Timothy Vogus’ son Aidan has been having seizures since he was four weeks old. He’s been on 18 different medications and has had several surgeries.

Aidan Vogus has suffered from seizures since he was a newborn. (Photo: WKRN)

“I’ve seen it benefit him when nothing else would,” Vogus said.  “This is the CBD oil so we just order these on the web from this CW Botanical in Colorado.  We use about two of these bottles per month.”

Aidan has used cannabis oil for more than two years.  He takes it with food since he does not like the oily taste.

“In the first year of being on the cannabis oil no other change in his medication at all, his seizures were cut in half.  In the second year, just this past year, he had a nine month stretch where he had zero seizures. Not a one,” Vogus said.

Paul Kuhn has been involved in grassroots efforts on marijuana law reform since 1971.

“I became upset when I realized we weren’t been told the truth about marijuana and I really discovered that when I got out of the Navy,” he said. “ I was perturbed in the government to which I pledge alliance was misinforming the public on marijuana, and worse than just misinformation, had a real campaign to arrest and put behind bars the individuals who preferred marijuana over say alcohol and tobacco. It makes me mad.”

Timothy Vogus said cannabis oil has helped his son Aidan when nothing else would. (Photo: WKRN)

Then it became personal for Kuhn.

Twenty-one years ago, his late wife, Jeanne, was battling cancer.

She used marijuana for relief after undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

“The legal drugs failed completely to stop that awful nausea that comes with chemotherapy and a puff of marijuana and it just disappeared immediately,” Kuhn explained.

Kuhn works with NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and Tennesseans United, a nonprofit organization advocating for legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee.

“I think our most important role is educating – not so much of the public these days because 80 percent of Tennessee voters support medical marijuana, but boy, it’s not 80 percent of the state legislature. I think they are behind their constituents on this issue,” Kuhn said.

Kuhn’s name was on a bill before state lawmakers, the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act.

Paul Kuhn has been involved in grassroots efforts on marijuana law reform for more than 40 years. (Photo: WKRN)

It would have authorized prescription sales of marijuana for medical purposes in Tennessee.

It failed to make it out of the committee.

“The state legislature shouldn’t stand between physicians and their patients when a physician feels that marijuana is the safest, the best and most effective substance to recommend to that patient,” Kuhn said.

Vogus has also been involved in grassroot efforts helping to legalize the use of cannabis oil for limited medical use for seizure patients.

“This is the text of the bill that we helped to pass in 2014,” Vogus said.  “So here’s the bill signing with the governor.”

A new bill was signed into law in 2015.

“The issue of medical cannabis is not a Cheech and Chong issue, to use a very old and dated reference, but it’s really about families trying to help kids, people trying to help people with very serious health conditions that’s otherwise not finding relief,” Vogus said.

There is a Facebook group, CBD Kids in Tennessee, where other Tennessee parents can come together to support each other and continue their fight to legalize medical cannabis for other ailments.

“We want to help our son, but what our concern now is with all the benefits that he’s received from taking this oil, we want to see others have similar benefits and there’s many other conditions that can be positively effective,” Vogus said.

Aidan hasn’t had any side effects from using the cannabis oil. His dad said it’s been a life-saver; as a matter of fact, all the other medications he takes have been reduced to low dosage.

Vogus also told News 2, there’s been a recent study done by David Bradford at the University of Georgia which showed that in states that opened up the use of cannabis for medical purposes, saw a decrease in the use of opioids.