It’s Utah, about as far from the pro-marijuana world as you could get. Yet a group of Mormon moms there believe they can win the right to treat their epileptic children with a form of cannabis known to bring catatonic youngsters back to life.
Their group is called Hope 4 Children With Epilepsy, and they’re fighting to import a special marijuana extract from Colorado they believe could save their kids.
These children suffer extreme forms of epilepsy, seizing repeatedly and continuously. The conditions are frequently fatal, and the children can’t develop properly even if they do survive.
Almost nothing works for these young patients. The only medications strong enough to help are so strong they’re highly addictive and potentially deadly. And even those typically don’t do much.
But pot is different. A while back, some pioneering parents discovered a special type of weed seemed to work miracles: It stopped the seizures, almost entirely, and permanently. And it actually happened overnight, where countless prescription meds had failed for years.
The marijuana these parents use is high in something called CBD, which is thought to quiet certain overactivity in the brain, leading to fewer seizures, or even none at all. At the same time, the pot is low in THC, the psychoactive chemical that gets tokers high. That’s critical, given that these are small children.
Unfortunately for these parents, demand for cannabis of this sort is very low, since most users want to get stoned. There are only a handful of growers who provide it, most in Colorado. That’s where the Utah moms hope to get the medication for their kids.
They now have an important ally. State Rep. Gage Froerer, a Republican, has offered to help them find a way to get an extract of high-CBD weed into Utah legally. Froerer is the same lawmaker who pushed a bill to ban synthetic marijuana, so he’s jumped the fence on this one.
“It’s not a drug, it’s not medical marijuana,” Froerer insisted.
Indeed, Froerer believes he can convince the Utah Substance Abuse Advisory Council to treat the medication as something other than a controlled substance. This would make it possible for the moms to import the extract without breaking the law.
The legislator has even named the treatment: “Alepsia,” which means “belonging to epilepsy.” Its THC levels are so low, he said, it’s comparable to using legal hemp products, such as soap and lotions.
“They could go over to Colorado right now and bring it in,” he said. “But they don’t want to do anything that might be perceived as breaking the law.”