Greensboro family moving to Colorado in hopes that medical marijuana will help son

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4bGREENSBORO, N.C. -- Preston sits and watches as the things his family has collected over his 12 years are packed up to be moved far away. He watches but is not really sure why.

"Right now he's on a 2-year-old or 3-year-old's level," says Preston's mother, Ana Watson. "He doesn't know his address, he doesn't read, he can't write and he can't even draw a circle."

Preston has a condition called Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy which produces dozens - even hundreds - of seizures a day.

Dravet syndrome, also known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (SMEI), is a rare and catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy. Initial seizures are most often prolonged events and in the second year of life other seizure types begin to emerge.

Preston's condition has not improved in recent months.

The condition is stunting Preston's neural development and his doctor at UNC School of Medicine has run out of tools to fight it.

"He has literally been treated with every anti-convulsive that we have... and we truly have not found anything that will control his seizures," says Dr. Robert Greenwood.

3bPreston's mother is desperate to find something while there is still time for his brain to develop.  The only hopeful treatment Ana has found is in a medicine made from marijuana, called "Charlotte's Web," which is beginning to show results in children with severe epilepsy.

Almost all of the THC — the main ingredient doctors worry about in this kind of treatment — has been removed from the oil.

Dr. Greenwood says there are studies on it that just got underway to see if it is truly safe and effective.

"No, it's not a miracle drug and it's not a cure. There are cases where it's not going to work. But how could you pass up that possibility to give your children life?" Watson says.

It’s a cannabis oil that is spread on her food that has shown real promise with a number of children.

But to explore that possibility, the family must move to Colorado. North Carolina has a bill in the state house — sponsored by Greensboro’s Pricey Harrison, among others — to investigate whether legalizing cannabis for medical use would be a good idea. Although that bill is still alive, it appears to be locked up, in committee.

"But even if it does pass, it's not going to instantly be set up," Watson says. "We're not going to be able to get it tomorrow. It's going to take time."

1aAnd even if passed, the bill may not legalize the medicine Preston needs.

So as the rooms that were once their life are emptied as they head toward an uncertain future, Watson won't let herself dream too much.

"You don't really want to get ahead of yourself or to think things that might not happen.  But it would be wonderful if it did, absolutely.  If he was able to hold a conversation or be a normal 12-year-old," Watson says.

If you would like to donate, the family has set up a GoFundMe account.


  • sinner 3

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to see a fund donation link at the bottom of the story !Parents are constantly using sick kids for cash flow it is just shocking !

    • Kristen

      REALLY SINNER 3?! You know absolutely NOTHING bout what this woman has went through. I know her very well and that is far from the case. I have met this little boy and he is a complete angel and a God given gift to this earth. She is having to pack up and move to COLORADO! Do you not realize how expensive that is or how expensive his medical bills are. SHAME ON YOU!

  • caliboss

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

    ENLIGHTENMENT…i was a brainwashed evil, mean, christian conservative until i tried it at 17 years old…i hated gays, immigrants, women’s rights, blacks, marijuana, i was Rush Limbaugh’s #1 fan….until i smoked marijuana….changed the world, hope the EVIL POPE is enjoying the marijuana revolution around the globe, keeping the flock brainwashed and against marijuana, gays, and women’s rights

    1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy…#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed…

    “any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death” – cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states and NEW YORK, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

    Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
Deaths by Tobacco: Millions

    Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
Deaths by Guns: Millions
Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions
Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever…they are killing my American family while denying freedom

    love and freedom forever


  • caliboss

    i’d move out of the nazi south too…i’d never live there, lol, ever

    Stay out of Texas/The South if you love freedom – Cali Secret 3

  • DebSue

    These negative comments about this family make me angry! You have no idea what they have been through unless you have a loved one that has debilitating seizures.The pain of seeing them suffer and regress is heart breaking.The horrible side effects of dangerous medications.The countless hours of missed work without pay to care for them.They now are making another sacrifice for this little fellow.I hope they get the results they need..It’s good to see a story about a family’s love for a child instead of one of abuse.I commend this mom for not giving up on her baby.They are not begging for money,they simply say “If you would like to donate” .

  • Don

    There is 0% chance of a medical marijuana bill passing in a Republican controlled state general assembly.

  • Concerned Citizen

    I wonder how many families relocating like this it will take for the “Old World” politicians and mindsets to relinquish their moral stranglehold on science, medicine, and recreation… Times are changing but it seems like the south wants to stay in the past for a while longer (I do my best to stay North of the Mason-Dixon Line)

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