How one toddler's high CBD-oil treatments in Colorado could change Missouri law
Aside from being unusually cute, two-year-old June Jessee could be any of the smiley toddlers at the South Pearl Street Farmers Market today. It's so hot our cheeks are red, but June sleeps easily in her stroller, cool in her pink and green jumper, head heavy to one side as she sucks her pacifier and the symphony of yipping dachshunds and noisy vendors and kids waiting in line for balloon animals becomes her personal white noise machine.
The Jessee family. More photos below.
In short, she gives no indication of suffering from seizures so severe that her parents moved from Missouri to Colorado in order to treat them (very successfully) with high-CBD oil.
Likewise, June's charming, yoga-fit mother, Genny Jessee, could be a typical Midwesterner who's shifted west for the powder and sun. And Matt, her husband, a political lobbyist finishing his law degree at the University of Denver, looks like the other 5.0 tennis players at Gates at 7:00 p.m. on a Thursday night.
But Genny and Matt moved here for more than the coveted Colorado lifestyle. And giggly June has overcome more adversity than most of the children we pass today. Together, the family has been through hell. But now it looks like they might be on their way back thanks to Colorado's stance on medical marijuana.
After trying ten different pharmaceuticals (one a hormone doctors warned might kill baby June) over the course of two years to treat June's seizures, the Jessees, both born and raised in St. Louis, decided to abruptly leave their longtime home to gain access to a more natural, but regionally illicit, cure for their daughter's intractable epilepsy.
Genny did everything right while she was pregnant. She took prenatal vitamins and "didn't eat unpasteurized cheeses," she says. So she was surprised when, soon after labor and delivery, a doctor at the hospital told her June had failed the newborn hearing test. Two months later, as Genny was coping with postpartum blues, June had a seizure.
Seizures are difficult to diagnose in infants, and the condition might have gone untreated for longer if Genny's friend hadn't dropped by for a visit and, for no reason in particular, told her about the childhood seizures suffered by her brother; they'd started off as strange eye movements and a stiffening of the arm.
"Before she told me that, I thought seizures were just shaking," Genny remembers. "Then, all of a sudden, June did the stiffening with her arm. I watched her like a hawk the whole weekend and then I took her to the hospital."
Gessy and her daughter were sent home from the hospital and assured nothing was wrong. Eventually, though, June was diagnosed with infantile spasms. Despite extensive testing, the episodes have never been explained.
Continue for more about the Jessee family's move to Colorado for June's high CBD-oil treatment.