Missouri lawmakers pass bill that allows use of cannabis extract for medical treatment
Missouri lawmakers are pushing for a bill that could give residents with epilepsy a little bit of relief.
The legislation would allow the use of a cannabis extract for treatment.
Some parents are willing to try anything when it comes to reducing the 125 seizures an hour that a child with epilepsy can have.
“The seizures are constant,” said Ellen Nichols, neurosurgeon at Freeman Health System. “They can seize through the night. It’s very disruptive. They really cannot have a normal life.”
HB 2238 aims to allow use of cannabidiol oil, also known as CBD oil, to help reduce seizures.
CBD oil cannot be used for recreational use.
“It is an oil extracted from the hemp plant and as we all know, you can’t smoke hemp,” said Representative Charlie Davis, District 162.
Patients or the parents must first have it verified by a neurologist that three alternate treatments were ineffective for the patient.
They can then register with the state health department to obtain the CBD oil.
“All the physicians that are treating epilepsy would try conventional treatment first,” Nichols said.
That’s because there have not yet been clinical trials conducted.
“If it’s successful with epilepsy, then I’m sure over the next year or so, there’s going to be a big push to help people with cerebral palsy and other debilitating diseases,” Davis said.
And that is what Joplin resident Gene Herbert is hoping for.
His sister, Sarah died at 16 years old from cerebral palsy.
Herbert says CBD oil has helped some cerebral palsy patients better communicate.
“Whether she would have ever been able to communicate, we don’t know, but we do feel that it would have eased her suffering and that’s enough,” he said.
He says his family and friends hope the bill could potentially give others the help his sister never got.
“My parents made friends in the hospital with family members of those suffering the same condition,” Herbert said. “They’re all kind of reuniting and hopeful towards getting an alternative treatment for their family members.”
The bill has passed both the House and Senate, and is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature.