Maggie Selmeski: Children are Medical Cannabis Refugees Too

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At six weeks old, Maggie Selmeski began having multiple seizures. Her parents rushed her to the hospital for tests, and they were told she has intractable epilepsy. This term is given to epileptic patients who do not respond to conventional treatments. Even under a doctor’s supervision and a prescription drug regimen, Maggie was having approximately 500 seizures daily.

Her parents, Shawn and Rachael Selmeski, were heartbroken by the prognosis.

“The doctors were saying, ‘there’s nothing else we can do for her. You need to go home and love her and she’s not going to live very long,” said Shawn.

Left with few options, Rachel began researching alternatives. She discovered that other parents were using cannabis to treat their child’s acute epilepsy.

Rachel was reading about Charlotte’s Web, a high-CBD strain with very low THC, usually concentrated into an orally-administered oil. It has had success treating forms of epilepsy in children that weren’t responding to traditional pharmaceuticals. The strain was named after Charlotte Figi who had hundreds of seizures a day just like Maggie. Charlotte’s parents sought out the Stanley brothers for help finding the right strain that would help with her seizures. It took years of trial and error to hone in on the right combination of cannabinoids and dosing. Once they did, Charlotte’s seizures decreased from over 300 per week to a couple per month.

After reading the research and discussing their options, the Selmeskis made the difficult decision to move to Colorado. They are originally from Tennessee, one of the remaining states that has not passed any sort of medical marijuana legislation, despite efforts to do so.

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