While marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic, which means the drug has no accepted medical use, there is growing evidence that particular strains of marijuana and the extracts derived from them can significantly help people suffering from life threatening disorders, such as epilepsy.
You may have seen a series of 60 Minute specials on marijuana that were hosted by CNN medical expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Historically, Gupta was against medical marijuana, but then he changed his position after learning that children with severe epilepsy who did not respond to current medically accepted forms treatment, greatly benefitted from marijuana that was low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the main psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, but was high cannabidiol (CBD). The children who were given extracts of CBD rich marijuana went from having hundreds of seizures per week, to two to three times per month.
CBD and The Future of Treating Epilepsy
The first child epileptic case to be treated with CBD products was in Colorado, a state with a medical marijuana program that stems back to 2000 and was one of two of the first states to legalize adult recreational use. So it is of little surprise that such revolutionary, and an extreme experiment would take place in Colorado.
Now, the use of CBD is occurring in the most unlikely of states. In Idaho, where all forms of marijuana use remain illegal, there are now four children with severe epilepsy that have been approved and are being treated with a drug called Epidiolex, The Spokeman-Review reports. The drug is a purified oil made from the marijuana plant, but it is free of THC. Despite the approval for use in limited cases, the Idaho Legislature overwhelmingly passed a resolution banning the legalization of marijuana for any purpose in 2013.
Idaho is not alone in approving cannabidiol drugs for treating intractable epilepsy, according to the article. In 2014, Utah approved the use of CBD oil, despite all forms of marijuana use being illegal, as did Wyoming. In Idaho, there are 25 trial spots available for Epidiolex trials, which has one lawmaker concerned.
“It’s frustrating for me that as a state, we have narrowed the options down for the kids and the parents,” said Sen. Shawn Keough. He adds, “whether we are denying a treatment that could give kids and parents some relief, and helping a pharmaceutical company along the way.”
CBD Is Euphoria Free
While CBD products have shown a lot of promise, it is important to remember that the ingredient is not psychoactive – it does not produce the high that THC elicits. The findings do not speak for marijuana, but for CBD alone, and people should still be wary about the long term effects of marijuana use. Smoking marijuana or eating edibles can have a serious impact on the developing brain, and can also lead to addiction.