Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a concentrated form of just one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in cannabis. Unlike the more widely recognized cannabinoid known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the feeling of being high, cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound.
Although CBD therapy alone is not enough for many patients and conditions, because of the entourage effect, it has proven to be successful for some patients in the treatment of severe seizure conditions. CBD oil has also been successfully legalized in more conservative states where full medical marijuana legalization will not be considered by lawmakers. At least 10 other states, including Georgia, Kentucky and Iowa, have also passed CBD only legislation, and patients in all of those states struggle with legally acquiring the medicine.
In April 2014, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, signed a bill into law which legalized the use of CBD oil for patients suffering from severe forms of epilepsy. Although it is legal to use CBD oil in Wisconsin, it is not currently available. Parents are frustrated because their children do not have safe, reliable access to the medicine through state-licensed retail suppliers or processors.
With the way the legislation was written, doctors must obtain an FDA waiver before they are able to prescribe CBD oil. Up to this point, zero Wisconsin doctors have received one.
The lack of availability has forced some parents to drive to states where the oil is available legally, like Colorado, to risk felony charges bringing it back home. Others have purchased unregulated products online. No matter how it is obtained, it is still against the law in Wisconsin without a physician’s prescription.
Now, lawmakers are attempting to change this with AB 228. This bill would alter last year’s bill to make possession of the CBD oil legal without a prescription.
Parents with children suffering from seizures, such as Amylynne Santiago Volker (photo above), went to the latest hearing to discuss the bill. Volker has a 10 year-old son named Nicholas who suffers up to 100 seizures a day, and they are looking for access to CBD oil in hopes that it could help Nicholas like it has helped so many others. Amylynee reported:
“I want to be able to use a product that’s gonna work for him.”
The authors of AB 228 are aiming to give parents more flexibility to obtain and use the CBD oil products sold out of state. The main concern expressed by patients and patients’ loved ones is fear of purchasing unregulated products online. Horror stories have been shared and spread among the medical cannabis community in the Badger State. For example, Jeanne Franzen, the parent of a 34 year-old man with a severe seizure disorder, spoke about her concerns:
“I read the stories about – somebody sold the parent supposedly CBD and it was all THC. That kid was in the emergency room.”
Another hair-raising tale was shared at the Committee meeting by Mark Grapentine, Senior Vice-President of Government Relations at the Wisconsin Medical Society:
“And they’re buying these products and it turns out, according to the FDA, that it was snake oil.”
The Assembly Committee on Children and Families held a public hearing for Assembly Bill 228 on Wednesday, June 3. It is not clear at this time whether these changes will be validated by lawmakers.
photo credit: usnews