VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Sami Gregg-Montella's son has austism, cerebral palsy, seizure disorder and ulcerative colitis. He's 21 years old now, but has been on medications since he was four.
"We were put in a position where pharmaceutical meds let us down, started him on CBD oil, and he's had tremendous positive results from CBD," said Gregg-Montella.
She's sharing her story to other parents and the public at an event hosted by Virginia NORML and Cannabis Commonwealth at New Realm Brewery. It was a place where everyone could openly talk about the ways medical cannabis helps their children with medical conditions.
A new Virginia law that went into effect this year allows doctors to recommend medical cannabis oil as a treatment for any condition. Previously, doctors could only suggest it as a treatment for intractable epilepsy.
"Just a few doses of medicinal cannabis helps to decrease the number of seizures, which will in turn help decrease the number of neurological damage," said Denise Foster, a registered nurse and advocate for medical cannabis. She said she's found numerous studies backing this up.
On the Department of Health Professions website, patients can find doctors who are registered to recommend CBD and THC oil.
"I've taken it to his doctors, and I can say every single one of his doctors is in support of it. Whether or not they'll go out in public and say that... but they support it," said Gregg-Montella.
After the State Board of Pharmacy approved five companies to move forward with building medical marijuana dispensaries in Virginia, CBD and THC oil will be more accessible for patients. That's something Gregg-Montella can't wait for because she said her son won't fully reap the benefits until he can get a stronger dosage.
But for now, she hopes sharing her story and her family's experience with medical cannabis oil will help others.