As Jaelah Jerger suffered seizure after seizure, doctors at Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana put the toddler on a drug called Keppra in July.
But Jaelah’s parents, Lelah and her husband Jade, began to research the medicine — and found a litany of side effects including anxiety, unusual tiredness, fever and chills, according to The Herald.
Worried about putting their child on the prescription drug, Lelah said she began to talk to other mothers who have used CBD oil, which is made from a compound found in marijuana plants.
She soon found a chiropractic neurologist in the area who prescribed her toddler CBD oil on Aug. 5, according to The Herald. After her daughter didn’t enjoy how that CBD oil tasted, Lelah said she put her on a brand of hemp extract called Charlotte’s Web.
They also agreed to keep their daughter on a low dose of Keppra at the behest of another neurologist, the Indianapolis Star reported.
And immediately, the effects were noticeable: Her parents told WFIE that Jaelah’s seizures dropped from as many as 100 each day to four at most.
Her parents attribute the sudden change to the extract, which is low in the psychoactive compound THC that makes marijuana smokers feel “stoned,” according to The Herald.
But not everyone was satisfied with using the oil for treatment.
Jaelah’s parents said doctors at the Riley Hospital for Children learned the toddler wasn’t receiving the Keppra as prescribed and told the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) about it in mid-September, according to Fox59.
The DCS, threatening to take away Jaelah, told the parents they were endangering the welfare of their child, according to Fox59.
They also allegedly demanded to have Jaelah’s blood drawn every week to make sure that she was taking Keppra as required, the family wrote in a GoFundMe page intended to raise money for potential legal fees.
“Our daughter was never taken away from us, but the fear was horrible to live with,” Lelah said to the Indianapolis Star. “I would look outside my window just scared to death I would see a police officer and CPS here to take my kid.”
So they enlisted the help of Mark Messmer, a Republican state representative, who called the governor’s office and the DCS in late September to defend the family, Fox59 reported.
After his call, the case was dropped, and the parents soon stopped giving Jaelah Keppra at all — now relying on a University of Louisville neurologist to monitor treatment with the cannabis extract product, according to the Indianapolis Star.
In April, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcolmb signed into law a bill that lets those with treatment resistant epilepsy use CBD oil. But there’s been growing debate over what that law actually means, the Indianapolis Star reported, as it created a registry for those who qualify for the oil but failed to clarify how people should obtain it.
Messmer, according to Fox59, wants to make that law more clear during the upcoming legislative session.
He also told The Herald that the Jerger’s case “seemed to fly in the face of parental rights.”
“Nobody knows their child better than the parents,” Messmer said. “It was quite an overreach for them to mandate a treatment.”