CBD oil has become the marijuana topic of the moment. It transforms lives. It may even save them. And it’s making its way into the most unlikely of legislative corners.
But this drug, with all the promise it poses for children with severe seizure disorders, raises a host of troubling questions for the medical marijuana movement overall.
Most worrisome: Will politicians use CBD oil as an excuse to block real reform and prevent thousands of needy patients from accessing “real” medical marijuana? Nobody has the answers yet, but there are already signs many lawmakers are using CBD as an easy alternative to the MMJ many patients need.
CBD oil is a special extract of marijuana. It contains a high dose of CBD, a chemical believed to treat seizures. It contains little to no THC, the chemical in weed that gets users high.
The extract is ideal for young children with severe epilepsy. Taken under the tongue or mixed with food, it can reduce seizures more dramatically than any other drug, with far fewer side effects.
Mothers of some of the children who use or could use CBD oil have banded together into a political movement known as the “Marijuana Moms.” They have developed a great deal of sway in state capitols across the country.
Some of these parents have moved with their children to Colorado, where MMJ is available for children. Others have stayed and fought for legislative change.
In some states, such as New Jersey, this has contributed to successful medical marijuana programs. But in others, from Minnesota to Mississippi, it has fueled a new legislative movement.
This approach seeks to legalize only CBD extract. No other form of marijuana would be allowed for any use. These laws appeal to conservatives because they appease parents but don’t let anyone get high or have fun.
The problem is, they also deprive most prospective MMJ patients of their medicine. CBD oil works for epileptic children, but no one else. Other patients need the healing power of THC and other chemicals in marijuana.
A particular danger is that broader efforts to legalize medical pot will be left behind. Politicians will pat themselves on the back, tell themselves they “did medical marijuana,” and leave patients out in the cold. It could delay reform by years.
“Is it better than nothing?” asked Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Potentially. But if it means there is no longer a pressing need for comprehensive medical marijuana legislation, these will be a net negative.”