A bill that would allow CBD (Cannabidiol) to be used for treatment-resistant epilepsy passed the Indiana House and Senate on Thursday.
House Bill 1148 would legalize the use of CBD in the treatment of certain forms of epilepsy that aren’t responsive to traditional medications and treatments.
The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 36-13 and the House voted unanimously for it on Friday. The bill is now headed to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who can either sign it or veto it.
If the bill is signed, Indiana will become the 18th state where high-CBD, low-THC products are approved for medical treatments in various circumstances.
Bill 1148 also scratched the provision giving immunity to health care providers who recommend Cannabidiol because it is not a prescription.
The change is that now physicians must inform the state board of health when the patient is eligible for CBD treatment. After that, the patient can legally register with the state.
With the change, now anyone suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy can register to use CBD oil, not only children. The new CBD law also means current available products that contain CBD will remain legal.
While Rep. William Friend, R-Macy, was the one that first presented the bill back in February, its current sponsor is Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport.
Head said: “We have defined CBD by its molecular compound, which is different, and we have done that because it’s very specific, not open to interpretation, not open to spin. There are no loopholes there.”
Rep. William Friend, R-Macy: “Our goal has always been to give relief to the desperate parents who don’t seem to see any other way to treat their child, and to give them relief from constant epileptic seizures.”
Sen. Randy Head also said he trusts only patients who really need CBD will use it, as law enforcement worked closely together with legislators on the new law.
“We’ve gotten the language so specific that I don’t think anyone could use recreational marijuana and claim they’re treating epilepsy under this law,” Head said.
Having said that, other lawmakers are worried about the potential outcome of legalizing CBD oil.
Sen. Erin Houchin, R-Salem, said: “I think that despite safe guards that have been put in place, I still have concerns this is laying a pathway to legalizing marijuana.”
However, Sen. Head denied the hypothesis, adding his work on Bill 1148 wasn’t with the intention of legalizing marijuana: ” This is not the gateway to medical marijuana. This is not the gateway to recreational marijuana.”
CBD is derived from cannabis (or industrial hemp) and, under the law, would be allowed to have a .3 percent concentration of THC (the psychoactive, high-causing compound in marijuana).
Cannabidiol can be found in the stalk, seeds and flowers of marijuana and hemp and has been shown to reduce seizures in epileptic patients.
As CBD has only trace amounts (or none) of THC, it is non-psychoactive and doesn’t alter the mind like marijuana. This, along with its few side effects, is why health specialists sometimes recommend CBD.
CBD will probably be legalized for medication-resistant epilepsy, but it has other benefits as well. Cannabidiol works to reduce anxiety and depression, relieve pain and soothe inflammation.
CBD has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth, relieve nausea, treat neurological disorders, improve cardiovascular health and promote skin health.
While the new bill awaits the governor’s signature, CBD that is extracted from lawfully grown industrial hemp is already legal across the USA.