CBD (cannabidoil) oil is a non-psychoactive compound; it doesn’t give people a high. Extracted from the industrial hemp plant, CBD oil has been proven to minimize seizures, especially in children who have pediatric epilepsy, as well as in adult individuals with intractable epilepsy. The CBD hemp law requires patients or the parents of children who have intractable epilepsy to register with the Missouri Department of Health. They must also have a neurologist verify that the patient with this type of epilepsy hasn’t responded to at least three different medications or treatments.
With the new hemp oil law, many Missouri families were enthusiastic about the possibility of giving their children—many who experienced numerous daily seizures—the CDB oil. Reports from individuals who were able to purchase the CBD oil in other states were extremely positive, especially in treatments to reduce the number of daily seizures. Some families that were made aware of the positive effects of the oil on epileptic children considered moving to states like Colorado, where they could have legal access to the product. Colorado is the first state to legally offer hemp oil for children with severe epilepsy. Missouri’s law and the laws of other states have basically followed the Colorado model, though in Missouri there are more restrictions.
The use of CBD oil is somewhat controversial among our state’s neurologists, as not all are comfortable recommending or prescribing the oil for treatment of epilepsy. One reason is that it isn’t FDA approved for the condition, and another is that clinical trials have not yet been performed to evaluate the oil’s effectiveness as a medical product. However, individuals using the product elsewhere have given hope to others that they, too, may benefit from its use. The Epilepsy Foundation of Missouri and Kansas has stated there seems to be growing evidence that CBD oil can help to reduce seizures when used in conjunction with regular medication. At this point few neurologists in Missouri have been willing to certify the oil’s use for their patients.
Thus far the Missouri Department of Health has approved only seven applications for CBD oil’s use, even though the epilepsy Foundation estimates there are approximately 18,000 individuals in our state who could qualify for the use of it. The program, having been in effect for almost a year, is off to a slow start and no hemp oil has yet to be sold in our state; it will be this September before the product is available for sale here. Under Missouri law, only licensed, non-profit groups can grow hemp and produce the oil product. The Missouri Department of Agriculture is responsible for administering the program and has selected two growers to produce the CBD oil. These two growers were issued licenses from the Department for hemp cultivation and production. They are Noah’s Ark Foundation, with a Chesterfield address, and BeLEAF Corporation, located in St. Peters.
The hemp oil being used must be high in CBD and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical that causes the “high.” Adherence to strict rules and regulations are required from the two growing corporations as they produce the oil in Missouri. For example, they must be at least 2,000 feet away from a school, a daycare, an in-home care facility, or an area that has residential zoning. All employees of these facilities will be randomly drug-tested, the growing area will have security, and the product will not be for sale at the production site.
Although multiple families are in desperate need of this product, there are serious concerns and legal conflicts that still must be addressed. One major concern for doctors seems to be the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) classification of hemp. Cannabis—or the hemp plant—is classified by the DEA as a “Schedule I” drug. This means it has not been accepted for medical use in the U.S. The removal of industrial hemp from the federal Schedule I drug list could be the “game changer” as far as the acceptance of these products for epilepsy medications as well as for industrial products.
Now that CBD oil is legally allowed and regulations are in place for those individuals who could potentially benefit from its use, it will be interesting to see how successful it may or may not be in reducing seizures in epileptic patients. Hopefully the oil will prove to be a blessing for those who are suffering with this condition.