It's been more than a year since WIsconsin legalized
cannabis oil for treating children with seizures....
Governor Walker signed a law in April of 2014 allowing
the use of a marijuana derivative.
However, our investigation found.
the law isn't helping patients.
News 8's Mike Thompson joins us now with a look into
why that is.
Records filed with the state's controlled substances
board show that since the law was passed early last
no doctors in Wisconsin have prescribed cannabidiol
or CBD to their patients for the treatment of seizures.
Because an amendment added to the bill to get it passed.
requires physicians to first apply for and carry out
an investigational drug trial with the F-D-A.
It's a lengthy, rigorous and expensive process.
that many doctors just aren't willing to do.
And it's something the Falk family of Sparta wasn't
willing to wait for...
6-year-old Danny Falk and his twin sister Olivia.
nats of playing
have a special kind of bond...
:01 She watches over Daniel like a hawk.
She's very protective of him :06
It's a bond...
born out of a tough entrance into this world...
They came at just 24 weeks..
:51 Just at any point, you don't know if you're going
to bring your babies home :54
Daniel and Olivia each weighed in at a little more
than a pound.
and suffered many complications in their first few
months of life...
they were finally able to go home from the hospital.
right about the time of their original due date.
:07 It was a rollercoaster, but we made it through
But the rollercoaster ride wasn't over just yet for
it was really just beginning.
:21 Danny had his first seizure that we know of for
sure when he was one year old :26
:29 All of the sudden started jerking, his lips started
turning blue, his face started losing color :35
:03 It was pretty terrifying.
You don't know what's going on :06
It was a few months later before they got the official
Danny had epilepsy...
nats of seizure video
This is video of one of his seizures...
The blank stare and eyes rolled back in his head.
the tell tale signs
:14 Sometimes he'd just have one a day, two a day,
sometimes he'd go a couple of days without them, most
recently he had up to 24 a day :25
When Danny turned 4 years old.
he started to regress in nearly every aspect of his
and by the time he was 5-and-a-half.
it was to the point where he couldn't do anything
by himself anymore.
:37 He would lay on the floor and not interact with
us at all.
He had no interest in toys.
He was completely blank, his face was.
Wouldn't smile :51
It got so bad he lost the ability to swallow and chew.
Doctors had to put a tube in his stomach to feed him.
:17 He had no quality of life, it's awful to watch
your kid, just regress so much :23
:23 In kids with epilepsy, about 20% of those children
will have seizures that are not easily controlled
with medication and unfortunately Danny falls in that
Kim says they tried medication after medication...
But they were watching their son slowly slip away.
:07 Danny got to the point where it wasn't actually
working anymore :18
:25 You just feel completely helpless, you just want
to help your kid :31
:56 It's just an awful feeling and you want to have
so much hope for your child, but at one point, you're
almost losing hope and it's an awful feeling :16
Running out of options.
Kim started researching medical marijuana.
:03 All I've ever been told is marijuana is bad, I
never heard anything good about it :11
:37 It's something that I knew we needed to try :42
After many conversations and support from Danny's
pediatrician in Onalaska.
and his neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester...
Kim, her mother, and Danny packed up the mini-van.
and headed to the one place where medical marijuana
was easily accessible.
:56 Not everything was completely planned out before
we went, but we just kind of had to jump and hope
and pray that everything woud be Ok when we got there
:34 It was kind of a last chance, we've got to do
something for our son, I can't do this any more, watch
him not enjoy life at all :47
The move to Colorado wasn't an easy decision...
Nick and Danny's twin sister Olivia.
stayed behind in Sparta...
And there was no promise the medical cannibis was
even going to help Danny's condition...
We were praying that he'd be like the other people
you hear about that they taken one dose an they don't
have seizures that day, but that's not what Danny
The first few months in Colorado were rough...
Danny's seizures actually got more frequent with the
But doctors told them to wait it out before they gave
:48 We stuck with it, it was awful, but all of the
sudden he started sitting up, his seizures got worse,
but he started sitting up again on his own :59
:05 Then all of the sudden, he only had 10 seizures
one day, then 7, eventually he had a couple a day
and then all of the sudden he didn't have any more
:06 I was a bit surprised to see how well he responded,
I've certainly had kids in my practice who've also
tried medical marijuana with no where near the benefits,
some it hasn't helped at all :17
Danny's Neurologist at Mayo in Rochester says she
certainly understands why people are drawn to medical
especially when other options haven't worked.
But she says more careful studies need to be done
first before its widely prescribed.
:14 I don't think it's going to be the cure-all drug,
I think it may have some benefits for some children,
but I don't think it's the cure-all drug :22
After 3 months in Colorado, Kim knew they couldn't
It was just too hard being apart from the rest of
But as it turns out.
Minnesota had just passed a medical cannibis law of
:48 We started seriously looking at Minnesota and
decided that if we can't stay in Wisconsin with his
medication, we had to move to MN :57
the falks have been living in Rochester.
together again as a family...
Danny now gets his medical cannibis from one of only
three dispenseries in the state of Minnesota.
one being in Rochester.
He's given the medicine at home 3 times a day...
:12 It's an oil actually.
We draw it up in a syringe and it goes through his
tube in his stomach :20
:29 What Daniel has, there's very little THC in it
which is the part that get the person high so he's
not getting high off it, it's just helping his brain
Danny is still on an uphill climb.
but he's making progress almost every day...
:00 It's amazingly different.
Really, I had a child that laid on the floor and did
nothing at one point to the point where he's smiling
and loving his dog again :13
:01 I'm not completely unrealistic, Danny's seizures
will affect him forever, he is not cured, but he actually
has quality of life :12
Two years ago.
Kim was among those with a negative perception of
she considers herself an advocate.
and hopes others get educated too.
:45 I'm going to do what I can to get the word out
there that marijuana and the cannabis plant is not
the evil thing we've all been taught, it is, there
are hurge benefits to it :58
Both Gundersen and Mayo Clinic Health Systems released
statements to us regarding medical marijuana.
you can find those on our website...
Kim hopes Wisconsin can pass a workable law sometime
She says they almost feel like they're held hostage
because they can't leave the state of Minnesota with
for fear of being federally prosecuted..