Recent years brought radical changes to cannabis legalization. Public opinion on the marijuana legalization reversed during the last 50 years. In 2016, up to 60% of Americans supported legal cannabis. Cannabis originally became legal in Colorado and Washington in 2012. Arkansas, DC, and Oregon followed in 2015, and CA, ME, MA, and NV in 2016. 8 states have both medical and decriminalization laws. 3 more states decriminalized cannabis possession, but only non-psychoactive cannabis is legal.
The battle for legalization has been rougher in some states. In 2015, Idaho Senate Bill 1146a would have legalized CBD oil for persons with severe epilepsy. It passed in the Idaho Legislature after much emotional testimony but was vetoed by Governor Butch Otter. In his veto, he wrote that the law asks us to counter Federal Law and has the potential for misuse and abuse. “It asks us to legalize the limited use of cannabidiol oil, contrary to federal law. And it asks us to look past the potential for misuse and abuse with criminal intent.”
Non-psychoactive medical cannabis refers to a non-psychoactive constituent of cannabis, cannabidiol, or CBD. It is provided as a pure oil extract and used as a dietary supplement. Psychoactive medical cannabis usually refers to medications which contain tetrahydrocannabinol (better known as THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis.
According to varied research, CBD appears to prevent seizures. The most famous example is Charlotte Figi, one of two twins born healthy, at 40 weeks. She had her first seizure when she was only 3 months old. Medical investigations were baffled as to the cause and as Charlotte got older, her seizures got worse until she was having 300 grand mal seizures a week, and lost the ability to eat, talk, and walk. At one point it was so bad that her heart stopped and the parents had already signed the do-not-resuscitate order. When she was 5, Charlotte’s parents gave up holding out hope for the hospital to find a cure and turned to try CBD oil. Charlotte was the youngest patient to apply for a medical marijuana card, and, as everyone was refusing to sign it, Figis had to keep searching and making calls. They finally reached Dr. Margaret Gedde, who agreed to meet with the family. The decision was easy, a brain damaged and battered body, and the potential risks of cannabis. Soon, Figi’s mom found the second doctor to sign, Alan Shackelford, who agreed because the family ran out of all other treatment options. The Figis found just a small amount of a marijuana called R4, that is low in THC and high in CBD. Taken with other drugs, the results were immediate. At the age of six, Charlotte was receiving CBD twice a day, with her food. At that time, she was having 2-3 seizures per month. The strain Charlotte received to reduce seizures is called now called Charlotte’s web.
In 2014, Orrin Devinsky, Professor of Neurology at NYU Langone School of Medicine, and his colleagues published “Cannabidiol: Pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders”, which suggested that CBD had “evidence for anti-seizure properties” that “support further development of CBD-based treatments for epilepsy”, and that “CBD may also be effective for a wide range of central nervous system disorders”
Psychoactive medical marijuana can mostly be prescribed and allowed to cardholders. The qualifying conditions include Alzheimer’s, cancer, glaucoma, PTSD, epilepsy, and many others.