At just 16 months old, Josie Mathes is changing lives and legislation in her home state of Tennessee with the help of her loving parents, Stacie and Logan Mathes. Advocating for their young daughter’s right to life, the Mathes family has tirelessly advocated to get CBD oil legalized for people with epilepsy in their conservative state, and after reaching success, they aren’t stopping there.
In April 2014, Josie was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy—she was just two months old. Shortly after this news, Josie was also diagnosed with infantile spasms. In order to try and control Josie’s seizures and spasms, she’s has been prescribed countless prescription medications since her diagnoses. As we’ve seen before, these hardcore medications have had negative side effects on the toddler, from hindering her development to the possibility of permanent peripheral blindness from a medication called Sabril.
Living in what Stacie Mathes referred to as the Bible Belt in Tennessee, the Mathes family was unable to obtain medicinal cannabis for their daughter, even though it is what they consider a God given plant. A family friend had recently moved to Colorado to obtain medical cannabis for their child suffering from seizures, so Stacie admitted she has always wanted to try cannabis treatment for her daughter, however she wasn’t willing to break the law, and moving out of state wasn’t ideal either.
Stacie and Logan Mathes knew that getting Josie cannabis oil could be the difference between life and death for their baby, which left the family with scarce options. Rather than moving to Colorado, like other families in the same situation had suggested, the Mathes family took it into their own hands to change legislation in their area.
The Mathes family did everything they could to spread awareness about the medicinal benefits of CBD oil, which included inviting Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam into their home to learn more about Josie. In early May, Haslam signed Senate Bill 0280, which legalized the use of cannabidiol oil (with less than 0.9 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol) for the treatment of severe seizures and epilepsy. Patients are still required to leave the state to obtain the oil, and no other medical conditions are eligible to possess and use the medicine legally.
Following the passing of SB-0280, the Mathes family started administering Charlotte’s Web oil to Josie. This notoriously high CBD strain wasn’t bringing upon the results they anticipated, so they switched to another high CBD cannabis oil called Haley’s Hope. Luckily, this particular oil has begun to work wonders. Josie takes small doses on the non-psychoactive CBD oil orally, through a syringe six times a day. In just over one month, Stacie reported that Josie’s seizures are now at a minimum, and the intensity of her seizures and spasms has gone down.
Although Josie is still unable to sit up unsupported, crawl or walk, she has also been showing great developmental progress since starting on the oil, and her mom is hopeful that she’ll be able to catch up to her peers in the next year. “She has been getting more control in her arms and legs, and sometimes she tries to crawl. She’s rolling everywhere too.” Stacie went on to share that her favorite improvements so far are her daughter’s sweet smiles and laughs.
In addition to CBD oil, Josie’s family tries to eat only organic food, because at Stacie blatantly put it, “. . . non-organic foods contain neurotoxins.” The family also use essential oils, and they hope to successfully ween Josie off of pharmaceuticals completely, finally putting an end to the negative effects it has on her young life.
Stacie remains committed to advocating for a person’s right to the best treatment available, and she hopes to help amend Tennessee’s new cannabis law to allow safe access for patients with different ailments to this life saving alternative.