The good news for patients living in Pennsylvania? The state’s legislature approved a very limited medical marijuana bill by a margin of 40 to 7 in the Senate.
The bad news: The bill, SB3, would strictly prohibit not only smoking or vaping dried plant material, but also edibles. Approved are only oils, pills, and tinctures. The bill originally excluded vaporizing in any form. An update to the bill allows vaping only by cancer, seizure (epilepsy), and PTSD patients — and only after a doctor’s approval.
The bill now moves to the Pennsylvania House, where it faces greater opposition. This may result in an even more strict version of the bill being introduced.
According to Chris Goldstein of Philly.com:
“In the long term, SB3 may help a handful of patients. In the short term, it will leave hundreds of thousands of seriously ill residents at risk and without safe access.”
The bill has some other notable shortcomings when compared to the medical cannabis laws of other states. The most significant is a lack of home cultivation. Of course, if patients aren’t allowed to smoke or even vape the cannabis they would grow, and couldn’t even make edibles, the utility of a home garden would become minimal for those lacking the ability to produce their own oils or tinctures.
It’s admirable that a relatively conservative state like Pennsylvania is pursuing some form of legal medical marijuana for its citizens. However, the current bill — if it becomes law — will do very little for the vast majority of the state’s sick who might choose to medicate with cannabis instead of pharmaceutical drugs.
The number of clinical studies that have been conducted on the use of cannabis oil in the treatment of different forms of epilepsy and other seizure disorders far under-represents the public want and need for such research. Parents of children suffering from such conditions in the United States, South America and the rest of the world have even rallied to draw attention to this crime against humanity. Being granted cannabis research permission is the United States is nearly impossible due to the current classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Until the federal government removes cannabis from this classification all together, like alcohol, more people, including children, will continue to suffer.
Last year, a coalition of parents with children suffering from different forms of epilepsy and seizure disorders was able to convince legislators in Alabama to approve a bill allowing such research. The study is to be conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and now, the Food and Drug Administration is officially approving the study.
Permission for this research has been granted to the UAB Neurology department, and reportedly aims to test the effectiveness of the marijuana cannabinoid, known as cannabidiol (CBD), as a treatment for seizure disorders. This study will be different than others conducted because there will be no placebo group. All participants will receive the cannabidiol rich extract during clinical trials. However, there is a catch. A university representative told ABC 3340 that the FDA approved the study with a few alterations. These modifications are expected to be discussed by a review board in January 2015, and hopefully the study will be able to begin soon thereafter.
photo credit: dr-bonni.bitnamiapp