Knoxville family moves to Colorado for medical marijuana

Knoxville family moves to Colorado for medical marijuana

Posted:
The Koozers are part of a migration of families moving to states like Colorado to help treat their children. The Koozers are part of a migration of families moving to states like Colorado to help treat their children.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Two-year-old Piper Koozer suffers from a rare disease called Aicardi Syndrome.

Her family has tried everything. The Knoxville natives uprooted their lives two months ago to move to Colorado. They wanted access to medical marijuana to treat their young daughter's severe seizures.

There are 20 states where medical marijuana is legal. Tennessee is not one of them.

The Koozers are part of a migration of families moving to states like Colorado to help treat their children.

Piper was diagnosed with Aicardi Syndrome, which causes infantile spasms and seizures, at three months old.

"At one time, she was having up to 400 of those spasms a day," explained Justin Koozer.

"Its been about two years. Since then, we've tried nine seizure medications, a special diet and we've tried numerous supplements," explained Justin .

"It got to the point where we couldn't leave the house; we couldn't do anything. We were just desperate for any kind of change," explained Annie, Piper's mom.

The family uprooted their lives in August and moved 1,300 miles to Colorado to try a special form of cannabis.

The Koozers are working with Realm of Caring, a non-profit organization using concentrated medicinal cannabis oil to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.

"It's a strain of marijuana that has been bred to reduce the amount of THC, which is the only compound in marijuana that produces the psychoactive effects," explained Justin.

Piper has been using the special strain of marijuana for three weeks. Her parents administer the oil to her orally three times a day. Her seizures have decreased.

"We've probably seen the best five days of her life since we've been here, so it gives us a lot of hope for the future," said Annie.

The Koozers left behind everything, but they say their friends and family in East Tennessee are behind them every step of the way.

"We have so much support from everyone. That's actually what helps us get through a lot of this," Annie said.

The Koozers say not everyone has that support.

"It's frustrating to think some families are stuck back in states where cannabis is not legal, or these kinds of options are not legal. Even if it doesn't work for us, it has worked for a lot of patients, and it's sad it's not available across the board, especially in Tennessee," said Justin.

The Koozers believe they are the first family to use this particular strand of cannabis to treat Aicardi Syndrome.

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