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Ind. Medicinal Cannabis Law Begins, But No Access Yet

The majority of U.S. states have cannabidiol oil available as treatment for epilepsy.

Photo: Fortune420 / Flickr.com

The law would legalize the use of cannabidiol oil with less than .3% THC to treat epilepsy.

Indiana’s first medicinal cannabis legislation went into effect last week, but some key provisions of the law have yet to be put in place, worrying parents whose childrens’ lives just might depend on it.

During the summer, Jess Hooker and her 11-year-old daughter Addi love to garden in the backyard when there’s good weather. Hooker has tried to take advantage of the time she’s had with her daughter this summer, especially since Addi has been seizure-free for more than two weeks.

Addi has a rare form of epilepsy. It’s refractory, which means that even if a medication works great in the beginning, eventually, it’ll fail.

The new law legalizes the use of cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, to treat Hoosiers with epilepsy. The oil is a non-psychoactive form of cannabis with a low percentage of THC.

Hooker started giving her daughter a legal form of CBD oil without THC last October.  She says it’s been difficult because they haven’t been able to get any input from their doctor.

“When you have a child with a refractory illness, then you have to become their advocate, but then you become their pharmacist and their doctor and their caregiver, all of these things that come with it,” she says.

CBD still

Photo: Steve Burns

Addi has a rare form of epilepsy.

Indiana legislators have considered the legalization of CBD oil for the past 7 years.  And in April, Governor Holcomb signed lawmakers’ most recent effort into law. The bill creates a registry for Hoosiers to legally obtain the oil, but it looks like, after 7 years, they might still be waiting.

An Indiana State Department of Health spokesperson says the department is still early in the development process and expects the registry to be rolled out in mid-February. Hooker is frustrated. While they’ve found a medication that works for Addi at the moment, they’ll have to wait for the chance to get CBD oil legally from their doctor without the stigma.

“I’m disappointed because there’s a lot of parents in Indiana who didn’t want to order CBD oil from a dispensary in Colorado like we did, they didn’t want to do that. They wanted to go through their doctors, they wanted to have the prescription,” she says.

For now, Hooker is hoping her current brand of CBD oil works for Addi. If not, she’s considered moving the family to Colorado to get a more powerful oil, at least until the registry is up and running.

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  • Brian Kelly

    “Low-THC strain only” seems to be a new trend in prohibitionist propaganda rhetoric.

    Read carefully:

    “Charlotte’s story and the concern for other young patients have led some lawmakers to consider passing legislation that only allows patients to access marijuana oils that are high in CBD and that have little or no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). While it is heartening to see lawmakers’ concern for the plight of patients with catastrophic seizure disorders, these proposals unfortunately exclude the vast majority of those who can benefit from medical marijuana, some of whom also face life-threatening ailments.

    Relative Rarity

    While CBD appears to be particularly effective at treating seizures, the number of individuals treating seizure disorders through medical marijuana programs is relatively low. For example, only 2% of the registered patients in both Rhode Island and Colorado report seizures as their qualifying conditions. While it is imperative that these individuals be allowed to legally access medical marijuana – and the strain they need – it is just as important to remember that there are tens of thousands of other men and women and a small number of children who suffer from a variety of debilitating conditions whose symptoms are alleviated by medical marijuana. The vast majority of those patients have symptoms that benefit from strains of marijuana that include more than trace amounts of THC.

    THC: Why It Matters

    Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is just one of the roughly 85 cannabinoids found naturally in marijuana. Clinical trials and the experiences of hundreds of thousands of patients have shown that THC, and strains of marijuana that include THC, provide important medical benefits for individuals suffering from pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea, and wasting disease. THC is also the cannabinoid most responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects. While THC does cause marijuana’s “high,” patients use marijuana for relief, not for euphoria. Patients who inhale marijuana can titrate their dosage precisely to use only as much as they need, reducing or eliminating the euphoria. Some use marijuana only before bed.

    The federal government has officially recognized THC’s medical properties since 1985, when the FDA approved a prescription drug that is made of synthetic THC — Marinol — for nausea. Yet, Marinol is not adequate for many patients who can benefit from marijuana. For nauseated patients, a pill can be impossible to keep down. Meanwhile, many patients benefit from the synergistic effect of THC and the other cannabinoids, such as CBD. Natural marijuana is less intoxicating than Marinol because patients can titrate their dosage and other cannabinoids moderate THC’s psychoactive properties.

    Studies have shown that marijuana that includes THC can alleviate a host of debilitating conditions, including:

    Nausea and appetite loss: Researchers have found THC and marijuana with THC are effective anti-emetics and appetite stimulants for individuals suffering from the side effects of cancer chemotherapy or AIDS treatments.
    Multiple sclerosis: Research has found that marijuana with THC can alleviate spasticity. In addition, Canada, the U.K., and several other countries approved an oral marijuana extract made of equal proportions of CBD and THC.
    Pain: Several studies have found that marijuana strains that include THC can alleviate neuropathic pain — a notoriously difficult-to-treat nerve pain commonly found in amputees, AIDS patients, and patients with multiple sclerosis.
    Since the 1970’s, the federal government has been providing a handful of individuals who suffer from various ailments with marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi as part of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program. The four surviving patients still receiving federal marijuana receive a strain with almost no CBD that has been essential to managing their conditions — a rare bone spur disorder, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and a painful condition called nail patella syndrome, respectively. The marijuana these individuals have benefitted from would not be allowed under CBD-only proposals.

    Conclusion

    Medical marijuana legislation should not be so restrictive as to leave behind around 98% of the individuals who can benefit from it. THC has proven medical benefits and individuals who can benefit from strains that include it should not be forgotten when legislators debate medical marijuana bills.”

    -MPPdotORG

  • Brian Kelly

    When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let’s have the compassion to allow them to have it.

    Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

    Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

    Support Medical Marijuana Now!

    “[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.” — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana,” editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

    “[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications.” — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

    “[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate.” — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

    “Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision.” — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

    “The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses’ Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine.” — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

    “[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use.” — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, “Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” 1995

    “When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug.” — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

  • Brian Kelly

    Politicians who continue to demonize Medical Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days Are In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Medical Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

    Legalize Medical Marijuana Nationwide!

  • Brian Kelly

    Nobody can deny the Medical effectiveness of Medical Marijuana.

    Below is a small sampling of the Professional Medical Organizations Worldwide that attest to Medical Marijuana’s effectiveness and Support Legal Access to and Use of Medical Marijuana.

    Along with the thirty U.S states that have already legalized medical marijuana.

    Are they ALL wrong?

    International and National Organizations

    AIDS Action Council
    AIDS Treatment News
    American Academy of Family Physicians
    American Medical Student Association
    American Nurses Association
    American Preventive Medical Association
    American Public Health Association
    American Society of Addiction Medicine
    Arthritis Research Campaign (United Kingdom)
    Australian Medical Association (New South Wales) Limited
    Australian National Task Force on Cannabis
    Belgian Ministry of Health
    British House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology
    British House of Lords Select Committee On Science and Technology (Second Report)
    British Medical Association
    Canadian AIDS Society
    Canadian Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs
    Dr. Dean Edell (surgeon and nationally syndicated radio host)
    French Ministry of Health
    Health Canada
    Kaiser Permanente
    Lymphoma Foundation of America
    The Montel Williams MS Foundation
    Multiple Sclerosis Society (Canada)
    The Multiple Sclerosis Society (United Kingdom)
    National Academy of Sciences Institute Of Medicine (IOM)
    National Association for Public Health Policy
    National Nurses Society on Addictions
    Netherlands Ministry of Health
    New England Journal of Medicine
    New South Wales (Australia) Parliamentary Working Party on the Use of Cannabis for Medical Purposes
    Dr. Andrew Weil (nationally recognized professor of internal medicine and founder of the National Integrative Medicine Council)

    State and Local Organizations

    Alaska Nurses Association
    Being Alive: People With HIV/AIDS Action Committee (San Diego, CA)
    California Academy of Family Physicians
    California Nurses Association
    California Pharmacists Association
    Colorado Nurses Association
    Connecticut Nurses Association
    Florida Governor’s Red Ribbon Panel on AIDS
    Florida Medical Association
    Hawaii Nurses Association
    Illinois Nurses Association
    Life Extension Foundation
    Medical Society of the State of New York
    Mississippi Nurses Association
    New Jersey State Nurses Association
    New Mexico Medical Society
    New Mexico Nurses Association
    New York County Medical Society
    New York State Nurses Association
    North Carolina Nurses Association
    Rhode Island Medical Society
    Rhode Island State Nurses Association
    San Francisco Mayor’s Summit on AIDS and HIV
    San Francisco Medical Society
    Vermont Medical Marijuana Study Committee
    Virginia Nurses Association
    Whitman-Walker Clinic (Washington, DC)
    Wisconsin Nurses Association

    Additional AIDS Organizations

    The following organizations are signatories to a February 17, 1999 letter to the US Department of Health petitioning the federal government to “make marijuana legally available … to people living with AIDS.”

    AIDS Action Council
    AIDS Foundation of Chicago
    AIDS National Interfaith Network (Washington, DC)
    AIDS Project Arizona
    AIDS Project Los Angeles
    Being Alive: People with HIV/AIDS Action Committee (San Diego, CA)
    Boulder County AIDS Project (Boulder, CO)
    Colorado AIDS Project
    Center for AIDS Services (Oakland, CA)
    Health Force: Women and Men Against AIDS (New York, NY)
    Latino Commission on AIDS
    Mobilization Against AIDS (San Francisco, CA)
    Mothers Voices to End AIDS (New York, NY)
    National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Association
    National Native American AIDS Prevention Center
    Northwest AIDS Foundation
    People of Color Against AIDS Network (Seattle, WA)
    San Francisco AIDS Foundation
    Whitman-Walker Clinic (Washington, DC)

    Other Health Organizations

    The following organizations are signatories to a June 2001 letter to the US Department of Health petitioning the federal government to “allow people suffering from serious illnesses … to apply to the federal government for special permission to use marijuana to treat their symptoms.”

    Addiction Treatment Alternatives
    AIDS Treatment Initiatives (Atlanta, GA)
    American Public Health Association
    American Preventive Medical Association
    Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights (San Francisco, CA)
    California Legislative Council for Older Americans
    California Nurses Association
    California Pharmacists Association
    Embrace Life (Santa Cruz, CA)
    Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
    Hawaii Nurses Association
    Hepatitis C Action and Advisory Coalition
    Life Extension Foundation
    Maine AIDS Alliance
    Minnesota Nurses Association
    Mississippi Nurses Association
    National Association of People with AIDS
    National Association for Public Health Policy
    National Women’s Health Network
    Nebraska AIDS Project
    New Mexico Nurses Association
    New York City AIDS Housing Network
    New York State Nurses Association Ohio Patient Network Okaloosa AIDS Support and Information Services (Fort Walton, FL)
    Physicians for Social Responsibility – Oregon
    San Francisco AIDS Foundation
    Virginia Nurses Association
    Wisconsin Nurses Association

    Health Organizations Supporting Medical Marijuana Research

    International and National Organizations

    American Cancer Society
    American Medical Association
    British Medical Journal
    California Medical Association
    California Society on Addiction Medicine
    Congress of Nursing Practice
    Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
    Jamaican National Commission on Ganja
    National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana
    Texas Medical Association
    Vermont Medical Society
    Wisconsin State Medical Society

  • Brent B

    He’s Brian Kelly, and he approves of this message (ya think?).

  • Kara Phillips

    I have PTSD and I wish that I can get Medical Marijuana for it.. I had stop smoking and I can tell for now on Doctor pills and all I can’t hardly do anything for I get flash backs and then don’t went to leave the house, talk to anyone all I want to do is sleep for the pills I take and I miss my family for I am in bed or sofa not really wanting to do anything.. I tried the oil but it didn’t do anything for me and I still had to take my night time pills but before this never happened. So I am asking I want to found myself again and because of what I have I Pray that I can get the help I need and get off this pills that don’t make me feel like me and enjoy my Family again..

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