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Legislation Would Expand Cannabis-Derived Seizure Treatment To Adults

A bottle of Charlotte’s Web cannabidiol oil.
Brent Fuchs
The Journal Record

Last year, Oklahoma lawmakers approved a medical treatment for severe childhood seizures that used part of the cannabis plant. Another piece of legislation that would widely expand the law is close to Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk.

House Bill 2835’s author, state Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, said his own niece showed dramatic improvement from Dravet syndrome after using cannabidiol oil, or CBD, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

[Echols] also wants to include nine other diagnoses: dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain, neuropathic pain, spasticity due to multiple sclerosis or paraplegia, intractable nausea and vomiting, chronic wasting disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or bipolar affective disorders. . . . Echols said the original bill applied only to minors because it was easier to get through the Capitol. Now that the treatment has proven to be effective without any abuse of the cannabis-derived oil, he said, the treatment can be expanded. “When they turn 18, why in the world would we take them off if it’s been so helpful?” Echols said.

State Sen. Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City, is the bill’s co-author and an anesthesiologist.

“We added these other diseases that studies have shown marijuana is useful for,” Yen said. “I think that’s a good place to start with CBD oil, because CBD oil might work just as well as marijuana – but not to get you high.” An earlier version of the bill included post-traumatic stress disorder, but Yen removed it because he said medical marijuana is not an effective treatment. To obtain CBD oil products, a physician has to certify that alternatives have not worked, and the patient has to be under the care of a doctor. The medicine is then ordered and shipped from a provider in a state that has the legal framework for manufacturing.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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