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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Know Your CBD Rights - by Rachel Bunting

     Cannibidiol, or CBD, is one of many chemicals in marijuana and hemp plants. Research so far has shown it is one of the more beneficial chemicals extracted from the plant to be used medically. Recent studies have shown epileptic children using CBD oil, with almost no THC, to virtually eliminate seizures. Since it seems to have huge medical implications with no psychoactive ingredients involved law makers have been sponsoring bills to make the substance more attainable. Here is a look at the current CBD laws around the country.

Alabama: Carly’s Law was signed into effect April 1st, 2014 by Gov. Robert Bentley. The law which legalizes CBD oil for medical patients also calls for the University of Alabama to conduct research into cannidibiol’s efficacy in treating neurological conditions like epilepsy. Alabama was the second state to legalize the oil.

Governor Rick Scott signed HB 843 on Jun 16th 2014, making Fla. the ninth state to legalize the oil. This bill, unlike those in other states, do not limit CBD to only seizure patients but also those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, and cancer. The law set up four regional organizations to grow, test, and dispense the oil.

Georgia: After the first time HB 885, or Haleigh’s Hope Act, failed in the state senate in 2014, Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order demanding a study into the oil. This time when the legislation was reintroduced in 2015 it passed and was signed into law on April 16th, 2015, becoming the thirteenth state to pass such a law. Haleigh’s Hope Act covers seizure disorders as well as cancer, sickle cell, ALS, and MS.

Idaho: In April of 2015 Gov. Butch Otter vetoed a bill named for Alexis Carey, an epileptic 11 year-old, which would have allowed parents to possess up to 32oz of liquid CBD to administer to their children who suffer from seizures. The governor says he will issue an executive order mandating the state’s Department of Health and Welfare to study the effects of CBD oil on epilepsy, but this order has yet to be implemented so CBD is still not allowed.

The eighth state to legalize CBD oil was Iowa after Gov. Terry Branstad signed the bill on May 30th, 2014. Patients approved for the oil are allowed to have up to 32oz of oil for a six month supply and is strictly limited to those suffering from seizure disorders. The oil is not to be manufactured or distributed in the state so patients must travel out of state (usually to Colorado) to get their medication.

SB 124 made Kentucky the third state to legalize the oil after Governor Steve Beshear signed the bill on April 11th 2014. The law set up a trial run to be conducted by the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville med schools which will provide research and distribute the oil to patients selected to be in the program.

The Harper Grace Durval law was signed on April 17th by Gov. Phil Bryant. The National Center for Natural Products Research in Oxford will be producing the medication to distribute to qualifying patients.

Missouri: The eleventh state to make CBD available was Missouri when Gov. Jay Nixon signed the bill on July 18th 2014, making CBD-only oil available to patients. The oil will only be for those who suffer from seizures and they must prove that other treatment options have failed to work. It can be produced by non-profit applicants approved by the state’s Department of Agriculture.

New York: While CBD oil is not legal yet in the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in June of 2014 that the state made an agreement with GW Pharmaceuticals to test the efficacy of CBD used by children suffering from Dravet’s syndrome and Lennox-Gastuat syndrome, which are both seizure disorders.

North Carolina: On July 3rd 2014 Governor Pat McCrory signed the CBD legislation to make NC the tenth state to legalize. The bill calls for trial studies to be done by University of North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, and East Carolina with the focus on making the oil available for children who suffer from seizure disorders. Neurologists from the schools will be responsible for providing the oils.

When Gov. Mary Fallon signed the CBD bill on April 30th, 2015, making hers the fourteenth state to legalize the oil, she stated that her hope was to help sick children get potentially life-changing medicine. Also mentioning the law “has been narrowly crafted to support highly supervised medical trials for children with debilitating seizures.”

South Carolina: CBD oil became legal in SC on May 28th, 2014 when Gov. Nikki Haley did not veto the bill that had been passed by the state House and Senate. The bill requires a clinical trial to be established at the University of South Carolina and made SC the seventh state to legalize.

Tennessee: Gov. Bill Haslam had his state become the sixth to legalize the oil after signing legislation in May 2014. The bill directs Tennessee Tech University to create a research program to study the effects of the medication in relation to seizure activity and states the research must be completed by 2018.

Texas: Texas was the fifteenth state to legalize CBD oil. Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 339 into law on June 1st, 2015.

Utah: The first state to legalize CBD oil was Utah. March 25th, 2014 Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB 105, or the Plants Extracts Amendment. The bill calls for the state’s Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp to create the oil. While patients are unable to purchase the oil in their state, the bill does allow for them to acquire the medicine in Colorado and transport it back to Utah.
Virginia – SB 1235 was signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on February 26, 2015, making his the twelfth state to pass such a bill. The bill prevents patients using the oil for seizure-related conditions from being prosecuted.

The fourth state to legalize CBD oil was Wisconsin when Gov. Scott Walker signed AB 726 on April 16th, 2014. The law has yet to clearly define who will produce the oil and where production will take place.

     These laws were made with the idea that the CBD is being extracted from marijuana plants. CBD is also able to be extracted from industrial hemp plants as well, which contain little to no THC. This type of CBD oil is considered a dietary supplement and not a medication, and is much easier to acquire in the United States as it comes from industrial hemp instead of the marijuana plant.

     While most CBD laws are made with seizure disorders in mind there have been cases recently that show CBD also helping children who suffer from autism. Autism is mostly a catch-all for unexplainable developmental disorders that can hinder neurological and behavioral growth. It often impairs the ability to communicate and interact effectively as well as impairing concentration and focus. One of every sixty-eight children is diagnosed with some form of autism, for which there is no cure. There are medications but parents mostly report their child becomes “zombie-like”. Children with autism can be extremely aggressive or emotional through no fault of their own, so parents have been left with the options of having an uncontrollable, inconsolable child or a child that is constantly in a zombie-like state.

     Some parents, however, have made an interesting connection: one-third of children diagnosed with autism also have some form of epilepsy. Since CBD oil has made huge waves in medically treating seizure activity these parents started trying the oil themselves. One parent began giving her son CBD oil extracted from industrial hemp and began to notice a difference after just four days of use. The parent said she began seeing more eye contact, a change in behavior, and gains in cognition. She has even heard stories of some autistic patients saying their first words after being administered the oil. Currently there is no research being done to test these ideas, but parents of autistic children are hopeful that their kids will soon be able to benefit from the oil as so many other sick children have been able to do.