Republican Senators James Tomes and Blake Doriot made a bold move in the Indiana Senate on January 3, 2017. Senate Bill No. 15 introduced the creation of a hemp oil registry for the treatment of epilepsy. The bill further provides that physicians, caregivers and certain individuals be exempt from criminal penalties for treating intractable epilepsy.
Doriot says, “It isn’t about taking a stance on medical marijuana, but getting some programs in Indiana that could help treat people with seizure disorders.”
For the past 2 years, the Indiana House has passed a bill allowing the state to legalize the sale of CBD oil, but both times it was met with opposition from Senator Jean Leising, blocking the legislation. Bill No. 15 has been constructed in a way that epilepsy is the only medical condition that would be addressed and monitored.
Brian Bennett, an Indiana father, has been pleading with state lawmakers to allow hemp oil for use in controlling his son’s seizures. His 8-year-old son fights with frequent seizures, up to 200 per day. After trying 15 different medications, Brian and his wife decided to try CBD oil and found it to be very helpful in controlling their son’s seizures. To date, the family has had to travel out of state to purchase this needed treatment.
Senator Doriot also remarks that he has had personal experience with people that have suffered with epilepsy, including his own son and friends.
“If you’ve had a child who’s had a seizure for 30 to 45 minutes, it’s one of the biggest nightmares a parent can think about,” Doriot said. “We may have something out there to treat this but we can’t even test for it in our own state.”
In December of 2016, the University of Alabama at Birmingham presented eleven abstracts, or research findings, at the American Epilepsy Society’s 70th Annual Meeting. A key finding was that CBD provided a significant reduction in frequency of seizures for a majority of the patients in the study, and that approximately two-thirds of patients saw a greater than 50 percent reduction in severity.
Also included in one of the abstracts, Jane Allendorfer, M.D., Assistant Professor of neurology, found that CBD had the potential for positive cognitive effects associated with corresponding MRI signal changes. This finding was based on a selected group of patients with epilepsy who experienced overall improved seizure control.
With the new facts on the research of hemp oil as an aid to the severity of epilepsy seizures and a more defined Senate bill, maybe the third time will be a charm.