Around the state there have been numerous reports of Missouri families moving to Colorado, Utah, or Nevada to get medication to treat their severely ill epileptic children. These children, some of whom were having near constant seizures daily, were not responding well to their currently prescribed medication; therefore, in desperation, their parents chose to take them to states where another medication choice—CBD hemp oil—was available.
CBD (cannabidiol) oil has been shown to have an effective, positive impact in the treatment of intractable epilepsy, also called “uncontrolled” or “refractory” epilepsy, a condition that causes its victims to experience numerous and severe epileptic seizures. Intractable epilepsy is most often found in children, and CBD oil has been proven to drastically reduce the frequency of seizures in these youngsters, sometimes from as many as hundreds of seizures a day down to as few as two or three (or less) per month. With results like these, we saw no positive benefit in delaying legislation, legislation that passed unanimously in the Senate and was approved 136 to 12 in the House. However, because CBD hemp oil comes from the same plant as marijuana, some were concerned that this legislation might open the door for legalization of medical marijuana in our state.
It is true that CBD hemp oil is extracted from the hemp plant, but THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana, is found in such a small amount in the CBD oil—as little as 0.3 percent—that it cannot cause a “high” in users. It is virtually impossible to receive this reaction from properly refined CBD oil. (It is interesting to note that many of the standard, already-approved drugs for treatment of epilepsy contain psychoactive compounds.)
Missouri is not the only state aware of the positive effects of CBD oil. On June 3, South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley signed into law a similar piece of legislation, legalizing the use of hemp oil there. Our bill is the most restrictive of all CBD oil legislation, though. Under Missouri’s bill, the state would partner with a non-profit group to make the oil available to needy patients, and the hemp plant would be regulated and tested by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. If any of the hemp plants exceed the permissible THC level, they will be immediately destroyed. Also, the State Department of Health will be permitted to run clinical trials on the drug.
It is important to note that the CBD hemp oil bill does not legalize medical marijuana. Rather, the oil is a medicine derived from the hemp plant to help children who are suffering intractable epileptic seizures. Patients would only have access to the oil if they have been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy and are not responding after the use of at least two or three other different medications.
At the present time research continues, but CBD hemp oil does seem to be effective, and it offers a ray of hope to families whose children are trapped in the ruthless clutches of intractable epilepsy. And as a “side effect,” maybe we can help keep Missouri families in Missouri.