Alabama and Kentucky Poised to Legalize Cannabidiol

Lawmakers in several states are poised to enact legislation in the coming weeks aimed at providing patients—primarily children with forms of intractable epilepsy—with strains of cannabis and/or cannabis extracts high in the compound cannabidiol (CBD).

Cannabidiol is an organic cannabinoid that posseses therapeutic efficacy in a wide range of preclinical models, but has been subject to little clinical investigation. In safety evaluations, the short-term administration of CBD has been shown to be relatively safe and well tolerated; unlike THC, the compound is not psychoactive. Anecdotal reports suggest that ingesting concentrated quantities of CBD in tincture reduces the quantity and severity of seizures in children with treatment-resistant form of epilepsy, such as Dravet’s syndrome.

In response to these growing number of anecdotal reports, and to the emotional testimony of the parents who care for these children, lawmakers in a number of states have pushed forward specific proposals intended to provide limited access to CBD while simultaneously maintaining existing legal restrictions on the whole cannabis plant. Though well intentioned, these measures should not be conflated with the legalization of medical marijuana. They do no such thing. In all likelihood, these limited proposals will prove to be largely unworkable and will provide little if any relief for the patient community they are intended to serve.

Here’s a closer look at some of the more prominent CBD-only measures making their ways through the states and why these proposals will likely not meet the needs of patients.

Alabama: Senate lawmakers have unanimously approved SB 174, aka “Carley’s Law,” which seeks to allow investigators at the University of Alabama to study CBD in FDA-approved trials. But no change in state law is actually necessary to permit state university researchers to conduct clinical trials on cannabidiol. Such FDA-approved protocols are already permitted under federal law, but they require the added approval of regulators at the DEA, NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), and PHS (Public Health Service). However, since CBD (like marijuana) is classified as a Schedule I substance under federal law, these agencies have historically been reticent to allow such studies to go forward, a fact that will likely remain unchanged even if House members similarly sign off on Carley’s Law.

– Read the entire article at AlterNet.