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The Jerger family have spent their whole lives in Indiana, but this month have been forced to leave the state and relocate to Colorado. Why? The family say that the move is the only way that they can treat their 2 year old daughter in peace.
Jaelah Jerger suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called benign myoclonic epilepsy in infancy. This particular form of epilepsy involve short seizures of uncontrollable twitches. Her parents started to notice the twitches when Jaelah was just 6 months old. They were dismissed by doctors and told that there was nothing wrong with their daughter. However, Jaelah continued having up to 30 seizures every single day. It wasn’t until she fell and hit her head following a seizure at around 18 months old that their concerns were finally taken seriously.
Having been referred to a neurologist, they finally got a conclusive diagnosis. Jaelah was suffering from childhood epilepsy. The drug prescribed for her treatment was Keppra, a brand of Levetiracetam, which is a standard treatment for epilepsy. However, when Jaelah’s parents discovered that the potential side effects of the drug included suicidal thoughts, they went in search of a safer alternative.
Like countless other parents across the globe, they searched the internet for an answer to their daughters problem. Finally, they fell upon cannabidiol, or CBD oil. CBD oil, also called hemp seed oil, is a hemp extract derived from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp is one variety of cannabis plant. CBD oil doesn’t contain THC, the compound which gives cannabis users a ‘high’. While both CBD and THC are found in the same plant, they are very different compounds.
Because cannabis is still illegal in much of the United States (and abroad) there has been huge restrictions placed on the level of research that can be conducted into its potential as a medicine. As a result, there is very little scientific backing to the claims that people are making all across the globe. People are now using CBD products to treat chronic pain, parkinson’s disease, mental illnesses and a whole host of other diseases and illnesses.
CBD is known to be an excellent anti-inflammatory, mood stabilizer and is believed to have a regulatory effect on the nervous system, although the potential medicinal powers of the product are much wider. CBD for epilepsy is one of the areas being most urgently researched at the moment.
The Jergers discovered that there is a huge amount of evidence to support the use of CBD as a treatment for some forms of epilepsy. They are not the first family to use CBD as an alternative to the harsh medications that are typically used for epilepsy, and the internet is jam packed with success stories of families who’ve done the same.
When the Jergers began treating their daughter with CBD oil, they noticed a 95% decrease in seizures immediately. All they were doing was giving their little girl a few drops of the oil, twice a day. Not surprisingly, the results astounded them. As if this new wasn’t wonderful enough, the parents say that they noticed “absolutely no difference in Jaelah besides a reduction in seizures.” Finally, they had found a treatment for their daughter that not only worked, but appeared to cause no nasty side effects.
Unfortunately, their troubles were far from over. Jaelah’s doctors weren’t on board with the new treatment plan and contacted the Department of Child Services as a result. The very next day, the CPS arrived at the door of the Jergers home. The DCS didn’t tell the worried parents to stop using the CBD oil, but insisted that they treat Jaelah with the Food and Drug Administration approved Keppra too. They complied, started administering Keppra in addition to CBD right away, and within a week started to notice side effects.
“We had to admit Jaelah into the hospital to have her taken off the medication because she was throwing up, she wasn’t eating, she wasn’t acting like her normal self,” they said. “She would walk around the house crying for no reason. That wasn’t what we were used to seeing out of Jaelah.”Jaelah had to be admitted to the hospital soon after where her parents pleaded for her to be taken off Keppra.
Today they treat Jaelah with CBD only, but say they’re living in constant fear of the DCS arriving back at their door. They’ve received multiple complaints and allegations of offenses including abuse and drug abuse. They’ve refused to meet with the DCS without a warrant, on the advice of their attorney.
Finally, the last straw for the Jergers came in the form of a late night phone call on Thursday last claiming that more allegations had been made against them. That night the Jergers packed up their belongings and five children, and headed for Colorado where they hope to treat their daughter and raise their family in peace.