Idaho mother charged for using marijuana butter to treat daughter's seizures

© Issei Kato
An Idaho woman has lost custody of her children after she gave her three-year-old daughter a smoothie containing marijuana to cease the girl's repeated seizures. "It was my last resort," the woman said.

Kelsey Osborne, 23, pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of injury to a child. She said she was trying to treat her daughter Madyson, who suffers from seizures and has taken medication to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to local reports.

In early October, Madyson was experiencing a particularly acute series of seizures. At the time, she was withdrawing from antipsychotic medication Risperdal, according to KTVB. Madyson had been given the medication off and on, the Times-News reported in October. Madyson's symptoms worsened overnight, Osborne said, so she made a smoothie containing marijuana to calm her daughter.

Within around 30 minutes, Madyson did calm down and the seizure-like symptoms dissipated, Osborne told the Times-News.

Madyson had a doctor's appointment later in the day, during which she tested positive for marijuana. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare was then notified by a doctor, according to reports.

Osborne was charged with a misdemeanor count of injury to a child. She pleaded not guilty to the charge. Her children are now in the custody of her ex-husband.

"To me I felt like it was my last resort," Osborne said, according to KTVB. "I've seen it for my own eyes with people out of state who have used it and it's helped them or their children."

While many states surrounding Idaho have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, and many states allow a non-THC form of cannabis for children with epilepsy, Idaho has not legalized any marijuana use outside of some limited, medical instances. The smoothie Osborne gave to her daughter did contain THC.

"Even in states that have legalized it it's not legal to give to children," said Tom Shanahan, public information manager with the state's Department of Health and Welfare. "The cannabis that is used for children with epilepsy is called cannabidiol oil and it has had THC removed from it" so the oil has no psychoactive effects.

Shanahan said offering a form of marijuana with THC to a child "can cause brain development issues with a child, so we view that as unsafe or illegal."

Last year, Idaho Governor Butch Otter vetoed a bill that would have allowed parents with epileptic chidden to join a study of medical marijuana oil, claiming the oil's positive effects are still speculative.

Osborne has said she has no regrets and is striving to get more access to her children.

"I knew for a fact it would help," Osborne told the Times-News in October. "I knew it would help her, and it did. She laid down for a nap right after. She was begging me to help her, and the only thing I could think of was to give her some cannabis. I knew it would help."