In an effort to increase access to medical marijuana for some of America’s littlest patients, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. introduced a bill Monday to nationally legalize a marijuana-based oil that has been shown to decrease seizures in children with debilitating seizure disorders.
The "Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014" proposes excluding industrial hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act in order to help ensure that patients with epilepsy and other seizure disorders have access to therapeutic hemp products.
Strains of marijuana with high levels of CBD and very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in cannabis, have significantly reduced the amount and duration of seizures in thousands of patients. Research suggests that CBD might have neuroprotective effects along with anti-inflammatory and anti-tumoral properties.
The Stanley brothers of Colorado developed the rare strain of marijuana— marketed under the Charlotte's Web brand— which offers the therapeutic benefits of CBD without the psychoactive side effects of THC.
The strain is named after 7-year-old Charlotte Figi who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome, and was having up to 300 seizures a week before being treated with CBD. Her seizures have now been reduced to as few as two a month.
For patients like Charlotte, medical marijuana products have helped create a better quality of life when traditional medications and treatments failed or produced life-threatening side effects.
Legislatures in Florida, New York, Utah, Illinois, Minnesota and other states recently passed similar bills to aid families who suffer from debilitating diseases. If passed, the “Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014" would be the first federal law to allow medical marijuana use.
The bill does not legalize the use of recreational marijuana, but aims to increase access to potentially life-saving CBD oil and therapeutic hemp. The legislation would also allow families to receive treatment without traveling to other states where medical marijuana is available.