Lab technician Mario Ferrara transfers a mixture of extracted hemp CBD and coconut oil to capsules at Longmont's CBDRx organic hemp farm on Nov. 19, 2015. CBDRx is the first and only USDA certified organic hemp farm in the country. (Kira Horvath, Daily Camera file)

Infant at Children’s Hospital Colorado receives hemp oil for epilepsy

A baby girl who began having life-threatening seizures within days of her birth is receiving hemp oil while in the neonatal intensive-care unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado, her mother says.

Amylea Faith Nuñez’s parents drove to Colorado Springs to buy the liquid form of marijuana this week after they say neurologists at Children’s said they could give it to their daughter. The two-month-old girl took her first dose Thursday from a tiny syringe her mother squirted into her mouth.

Hospital staff do not “prescribe or recommend” medicinal marijuana, which is not FDA-approved, hospital officials said in a statement. Children’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Whitehead said the hospital could not comment on any specific case because of patient privacy laws.

But Amylea’s parents, Ernie and Nicole Nuñez, said the hospital gave the family permission to give their baby two doses each day inside the neonatal intensive-care unit. Doctors and nurses cannot administer the oil or even touch it, Nicole said.

She said the hospital’s neurology team turned down her initial requests to start Amylea on Charlotte’s Web oil containing CBD, a component of marijuana that does not get users high but that some believe helps treat epilepsy.

After asking for weeks, Nicole said, hospital officials allowed her to start the treatment this week. Her daughter also was enrolled in a research study for families who choose to provide marijuana oil to children with epilepsy.

Whitehead said that “if a family makes the tough decision to explore the use of medical marijuana,” the hospital will continue to provide care for the child.

“Most of these families have children with very complex medical needs, and Children’s Colorado wants to continue to see them, help to monitor them and be on the lookout for potential adverse side effects,” she said.

Amylea, who was born Dec. 7 in New Mexico, was found unresponsive in her crib within days. She began seizing every four hours, then every two and then every 30 minutes. One seizure lasted 66 minutes, and seizures have twice stopped her heart. Multiple medications prescribed in Albuquerque and Denver have not stopped the seizures.

“She is a very rare case,” said Nicole, who believes Amylea might have had seizures in utero. “Each seizure she has could potentially kill her.”

Jennifer Brown: 303-954-1593, or @jbrowndpost

This story was first published on