The parents of a toddler with a seizure disorder have run out of options to help their daughter, so they're turning to medical marijuana to see if it helps.
Maggie Selmeski began having seizures at 6 weeks old. She continues, at 17 months, to have seizures daily, said her mother, Rachael Selmeski. Doctors say Maggie has infantile spasms, a specific type of seizure disorder. Four anti-seizure medications haven't worked.
Her parents felt helpless until they saw a CNN documentary about marijuana, "Weed."
In it, they saw children like Maggie whose seizures were significantly reduced by medical marijuana.
"It just was like a light bulb," Rachael Selmeski, who is temporarily living with her mother in Janesville, told KWWL television. "We're like, 'Yep, this is what we've got to do.' "
The family is preparing to move to Colorado to access to medical marijuana, which has low levels of THC, the chemical that makes people high.
"So she won't be getting high; she won't be smoking it," Selmeski told the station. "It'll just be an oil. I'll give it to her just like I do any of her other supplements or medications."
The seizures have slowed Maggie's development. At 17 months, she still can't hold her head up and has the brain development of a 3-month-old infant. Her parents hope that the treatment will reduce her seizures and unlock the girl they say is trapped inside.
"We're so excited to just meet Maggie, and have her little personality come out and shine," Selmeski said. "Seeing her not be able to interact, watching other kids play, and not have your daughter be able to play ... if you start to experience that, then you might realize that there are other options out there," Selmeski said. "You would try anything for your child to give her a better life."
Maggie is on a waiting list in Colorado and should start the treatment in mid-November.
Her mother said she hopes marijuana laws change because once Maggie starts the treatment, they'll be stuck in Colorado, far from their family in Iowa.
Families of children with severe medical problems are moving to Colorado from all over the country to get the oil that appears to be working. They call themselves marijuana refugees.
Colorado voters passed an amendment in November 2000 permitting the use of medical marijuana with a doctor's consent.