J.J. Sampley was the first person in Northwest Florida to receive legally grown, state-manufactured medical marijuana.
For the first time in his son’s short life, J.J’s father Jonathan has hope J.J. will one day speak to him.
“He’s been doing really good. He’s smiling and he seems more aware of his surroundings. He’s paying attention, looking at you. He’s coming around really well,” Sampley said. “He’ll look at you right in your face like he wants to say something. He’s not yet talking, but you can tell he wants to say something.
In the short time that medical marijuana has been legal J.J. has already experienced positive changes- directly attributed to medical marijuana. J.J. has shown signs that his brain is repairing, he’s suffered from Dravet Syndrome since infancy. Devastating seizure activity that occurred during that time is finally beginning to heal. Sampley recently saw his son cry for the first time since he was born. He tears up himself when he recalls the event.
“He feels no pain with the Dravet syndrome, and he never cries,” Sampley said. “Then he started crying. Just to hear him cry was pretty amazing. It freaked me out, but I loved it.”
At one time in his young life, J.J. was taking six to seven pharmacuticals a day to control his seizures.
He takes a single pharmaceutical several times daily and ingests 0.6 milliliter, of cannabis twice daily.
Sampley says his son’s seizure activity has been reduced by about 60 percent, and when he does suffer seizures his recovery time is much improved.
“Before when he had a seizure he’d be laid out for two or three days. Now he has one and in a couple of hours he’s up and going again,” he said. “I notice a difference in awareness, and what I guess you can say is going on with his brain,” Sampley said. “Before, he was out of it. He wouldn’t smile or want to play or do anything.”
At the same time, J.J. has discovered fear. He’s more tentative now walking up and down stairs.
“He’s learning to be unsure and afraid. He used to not be that,” Sampley said. “That’s all in the repair process. His brain is fixing itself.”
After watching his son’s amazing progress, Jonathan hopes lawmakers will loosen rules regarding the distribution of cannabis. That would allow for out-of-state companies to compete for business.
“I feel like we need more options. We need people who have the best product and production down to a science,” he said. “We can’t keep those people out just because they didn’t get their name pulled out of a hat in a lottery.”
Charlotte’s Web and Dravet Syndrome
Charlotte’s Web is one of the most well-known cannabis strains. It has been used to treat Dravet Syndrom with an amazing success rate. The story of Charlotte Figi, who has Dravet syndrome, helped introduce people to the idea that cannabis is medicine. That can be non-psychoactive and reduce the number of seizures in people who suffer from Dravet syndrome.
“(The Florida distributor) is great. I just don’t think their science is as advanced as the Stanley brothers,” Sampley said. “They’ve been growing it for years. There’s a science to that. Charlotte’s Web is fixing J.J’s brain.”
Charlotte’s web is unique because of how the Stanley brother produce their product, they’ve managed to make a consistent blend in their cannabis by cloning a single marijuana plant.
“One hundred thousand times the same plant is going into the ground. It’s the only way to control consistency,” he said.