Study Might Replace Cannabis Oil Legalization

Study Might Replace Cannabis Oil Legalization

(AP Photo/Kimberlee Kruesi)

Alexis Carey, left, 10, plays with her sister Alanis Carey, right, 5, on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, in Boise. Alexis has a rare form of epilepsy; however, her family is hoping the Idaho Legislature will decriminalize marijuana extract oil to help reduce her seizures. The family began lobbying lawmakers to decriminalize the oil almost two years ago.

Idaho lawmakers are looking to have the state support an experimental trial of a British cannabidiol oil drug that Idaho children with intractable epilepsy will be able to take part in.

This bill looks to have the best chance of surviving. Earlier proposals legalizing or decriminalizing the oil outright ran into substantial opposition from law enforcement and some Republican legislators.

On Friday morning, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted unanimously to send the bill, which would allow the Department of Health and Welfare to run a program giving these children access to the drug as part of an upcoming study, to the full Senate.

The committee also tabled a bill that would have let the state issue registration cards to allow people to possess the oil, one of the three older proposals to let people access it.

The study would be of an experimental drug called Epidiolex – a cannabidiol oil that contains no psychoactive THC – that has shown some promise in trials, said Elisha Figueroa, with the Idaho Office of Drug Policy. It would cost the state about $223,500, most of it in the $8,500 per child enrollment fee. Figueroa said administering the study would make the oil, which can cost $1,500 a month, accessible to everyone who needs it.

“We are confident that this proposal will meet the need for the first year of families suffering from this,” she said.

It would be conducted in Boise, but Christine Hahn, with the state Department of Health and Welfare, said the state would work to get neurologists elsewhere in the state licensed to take part to serve families who might live outside of Boise.

Figueroa said 25 children could take part in the study itself, and another six to 10 would also get it through another research program. This, she said, should be enough to treat all the Idaho children who have Dravet Syndrome or other similar seizure disorders that don’t respond well to the usual medications but might benefit from cannabidiol oil.

“In an impossible situation, this is a darn good solution to our problems,” she said.

The hope, Figueroa said, would be that the drug be approved for general prescription if the test pans out, solving the problem of access in the future.

The original bill was called “Alexis’ Law” after Alexis Carey, a 10-year-old Boise girl with Dravet Syndrome.

Full Article: Study Might Replace Cannabis Oil Legalization
Author: Nathan Brown
Contact: nbrown@magicvalley.com
Photo Credit: Kimberlee Kruesi
Website: Times-News | Idaho News, Sports and Classifieds

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