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Our Opinion: Sign measure to ease suffering among young patients

Our Opinion: Sign measure to ease suffering among young patients

May 6th, 2014 in News

We encourage the governor to sign legislation allowing cannabidiol (CBD) oil to treat epilepsy in children.

CBD oil has medicinal properties.

Like most medicines, usage must be monitored. Some patients have adverse reactions.

And, ironically, although CBD oil is derived from marijuana, a mood-altering substance, the oil does not create a high, which eliminates the incentive for abuse.

The measure would permit CBD oil as a treatment when a physician determines a child suffers from "intractable" epilepsy, which fails to respond to at least three other treatments. The oil would be extracted from cannabis plants created with a high percentage of CBD and a low percentage of THC, the mood-altering chemical in marijuana.

The bill was approved 139-14 in the House and 32-0 in the Senate. It awaits action by Gov. Jay Nixon.

We share the sentiments of Sen. Rob Schaaf, a St. Joseph Republican and a family physician.

Schaaf opposes the recreational use of marijuana, but supports its medicinal application. "Sometimes, the treatments don't work. This (CBD oil) is the answer for some of them (patients)."

In past weeks, lawmakers have heard testimony from professionals and parents regarding CBD oil, which is among the forms of medical marijuana permitted in 21 states and Washington, D.C.

Dr. Margaret Gedde, a Colorado physician, testified that she divides young patients into two groups based on their reaction to CBD oil. She said about one quarter of young patients "don't have a problem with it, so you can get the dose up fairly quickly over a number of months and really get very good seizure control ... But about three quarters have to go more slowly and carefully."

CBD oil is not a cure-all, and is not touted as one.

But it has proved to be effective in halting seizures for some children.

We urge the governor to allow this medical option to alleviate suffering among young patients.