In America alone, 3 million people are affected by epilepsy and seizures, and every year brings about 200,000 additional cases. According to a study published in 2013, premature death is eleven times more common among epilepsy patients or even greater if a mental disorder is also diagnosed. In some cases, modern medicine can pinpoint the cause of the seizures and even correct it.
At Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado, Amylea Nunez, a 2-month-old old baby from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is making history. “She has a rare form of epilepsy,”Amylea’s mother, Nicole Nunez said. “They don’t know exactly the type.” And her doctors don’t know the cause.
Amylea began having seizures a few days after her birth. “About a day after we went home from delivery. Her heart stopped twice on us, and that was probably the hardest part on us,” Amylea’s mother, Nicole Nunez, said.
As doctors tried all kinds of medications on young Amylea, she continued to suffer from seizures. While her mother spent all of her time by her side, Ernie ran back and forth between the hospital and their home in Albuquerque. The medication prescribed to Amylea was known to be especially taxing on her frail two-month-old liver, so her parents were determined to find a better treatment.
It seemed that, at this point, doctors could do nothing more than stand helplessly and watch Amylea’s condition worsen. It was up to Nicole to do the research and come up with an alternative.
Once Nicole started looking for natural remedies for epilepsy, she came across the cannabis oil known as Charlotte’s Web. This miraculous strain of cannabis was named after an American girl who suffered from Dravet syndrome as a baby. Her name was Charlotte Figi, and she too was experiencing severe epilepsy like Amylea. By the time she was three, Charlotte was seriously disabled. In spite of treatment, she was experiencing approximately 300 seizures every week.
Nicole Nunez saw hope in Charlotte’s story and immediately proposed this alternative treatment to Amylea’s doctors. For weeks, they refused to proceed with the treatment. Earlier in February, however, the doctors finally agreed to Nicole’s solution and the parents began treating their daughter with Charlotte’s Web. After only two doses, both Amylea’s parents and her doctors could notice the difference. The oil had worked.
Amylea was the first and youngest patient to ever receive this treatment at the hospital. She is now part of a case study that will analyze the effectiveness and possible future use of Charlotte’s Web in the treatment of infants suffering from epilepsy. Meanwhile, the Realm of Caring Foundation was organized by a group of growers called the Stanley Brothers. They provide access to a cheaper hybrid strain between medical cannabis and hemp that has demonstrated the same low-THC, high-CBD content.
If nothing else, Amylea’s story is a glimmer of hope for those infants struggling with epilepsy and the ineffectiveness of conventional medicine.