Cannabis oil is deemed medically legal in Utah as part of Charlee’s Law
In the wake of the recent vote in Kentucky that allowed cannabis oil to be administered to patients (particularly children) suffering from severe epilepsy, the governor of Utah has signed a bill passing “Charlee’s Law,” which allows the use of cannabis oil for suffering families of epileptic children. Though there are a few hoops that families will have to jump through to receive the cannabis oil, it is a huge breakthrough in treatment options for Utahans.
“Charlee’s Law” (also called “HB105”) is named after six-year-old Charlee Nelson, who suffered from critical seizures due to Batten Disease. Charlee died right after the legislation passed, and although the use of marijuana oil could not have necessarily saved her life, it could have improved her quality of life and given her a longer future.
The law allows for families to obtain cannabis oil without the fear of prosecution. Though they won’t be able to access the oil in the state of Utah, they will be allowed to get it from a state such as Colorado, and legally bring it back. There are over 50 families in the state that are on a waiting list to obtain marijuana oil from Colorado. With this new law, they will undergo a program and have access to the oil (after obtaining a “hemp supplement” registration card) by the fall of 2014, or possibly earlier. However, until July 1st, having the oil in your possession is considered illegal. Once the law is enacted, it will require parents to first get a letter of recommendation from their neurologist that suggests the oil would be a helpful treatment option for the children. Hospitals know that calls will start pouring in, as these families have been eager to get access to a treatment that could help their children after exhausting nearly every other medical treatment option.
In order to qualify to receive cannabis oil as a treatment, patients must have already tried three other drugs to treat epilepsy-caused seizures.
Before Charlee’s Law passed, families of children with epilepsy that caused dozens of seizures daily were seeking any treatment they could find to reduce the amount of time in which their children suffer. Some families temporarily decided to move to Colorado in order to have access to cannabis oil, also referred to as marijuana extract. The oil is low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the ingredient in marijuana that produces the “high.” Cannabis oil is typically administered orally underneath the tongue or sometimes mixed with food.
Utah will have certain standards to be met regarding the cannabis oil. All marijuana oil must be tested and issued a certificate of analysis stating that they contain no more than 0.3% of THC, and also no less than 15% cannabidiol (CBD). Products must also contain no additional potentially mind-altering ingredients and be free of pesticides, molds, or other contaminants.
Research is underway to see if cannabis oil could be an effective treatment for those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis as well. Though it may not be as helpful as it is for those with epilepsy, it may reduce some symptoms of MS for certain patients.