The Associated Press reports today that The Food and Drug Administration has given the University of Alabama at Birmingham approval to study the use of a marijuana extract to treat chronic seizures in children.
This year, the Alabama legislature passed Carly’s Law — legalizing extracts of marijuana rich in cannabidiol — the second-most common active ingredient in cannabis. CBD has the potential to dampen or stop seizures in children and adults with intractable seizure disorders. The extract must be no more than 3 percent THC — the main active ingredient in cannabis, which is responsible for its euphoria.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Neurology will administer the extract, and will give all children in the study the active ingredients in cannabis, not a placebo. Researchers will likely have to source their extract from the U.S. government’s sole licensed cannabis farm in Mississippi.
The federal government considers cannabis a schedule 1 drug with no medical uses and high potential for abuse. But 23 states and Washington DC have medical cannabis laws, and CBD-specific laws have been spreading through the conservative southern part of the country.
Parents and some doctors say CBD has demonstrated dramatic reductions in seizures in some children.
Trauma neurosurgeon and one-time U.S. Surgeon General contender Dr. Sanjay Gupta told me this year: “It doesn’t work for everybody, just like any medication doesn’t work for everybody, but this idea that it could work when nothing else has—I think its’s safe to say that people have probably suffered when they didn’t need to because of this not being available to them.”
Dr. Gupta said extracts of cannabis should be available in every pharmacy in America.
“… this is a medicine, they will show that it works and has been shown to work in other countries already—yeah, I guess it should be available to anyone who needs it.”
Children are dying while awaiting access to cannabis extracts in non-medical states like New York,reports indicate.