Major legislation recently passed in the Virginia Senate which allows people with epilepsy to possess two different cannabinoid oils that are extracted from cannabis plants — Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A).
Senate Bill 1235 was approved by the Senate, bringing mental relief and encouragement to epilepsy patients and families. Many sufferers have endured several invasive and difficult procedures and treatment plans with little to symptom relief, and they want the chance to try the cannabinoid oil therapy that has produced such positive results in other patients, without risking criminal prosecution.
Linda Smith’s 14 year old daughter, Haley (photo above), suffers from a severe form of epilepsy which caused her to endure 1,000 seizures last year. Linda said that Haley has tried “17 different pharmaceuticals,” without relief, and now they would like to try cannabinoid oil therapy. In response to this legislation moving on to the House, Linda reported,
“We’re just really encouraged.”
Another mother that has been very involved in the legislative passing of SB 1235 is Beth Collins, of Fairfax. Her 15 year old daughter, Jennifer, experienced significant seizure relief while living as a medical marijuana refugee in Colorado. Collins actually inspired Senator David Marsden (D-Burke) to sponsor the bill in the Senate.
Now the bill will move to the Virginia House of Delegates, where a similar bill was already approved. SB 1235 also has support from Speaker of the House William Howell and many other influential lawmakers. For this reason, the families that are the inspiration behind this legislation are hopeful that it will soon be on the way to the Governor’s desk.
Though neither of the cannabinoid oils produce intoxicating side effects, both have provided relief to patients suffering from debilitating seizures. If SB 1235 is approved by the House and signed by the Governor, with a written certification from a physician, possession of CBD oil and THC-A will be legal for epilepsy patients. An emergency clause was included in the verbiage of this bill so that patients will not be forced to wait until January or July to legally possess the oils, as many bills require.
It is clear that more research needs to be done to determine if there are any long term effects from using cannabis oil to treat this condition. The passing of this law, however, has brought hope to Virginia’s epilepsy sufferers and their families. The opportunity for significant improvement, and in some cases even complete relief, is finally possible for patients who have been unresponsive to modern invasive treatment options.