Arnold: New treatment option for Hoosiers with epilepsy

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Friday, August 25, 2017 9:22 am

A number of young Hoosiers throughout the state suffer from certain forms of epilepsy that are unresponsive to traditional methods of medical treatment. Cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, has shown documented effectiveness in managing the symptoms of severe epilepsy in about 80 percent of cases like these. Last month, a law I co-authored went into effect permitting a person to possess CBD oil if they or someone in their care has been diagnosed with severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy.

The law comes after years of work to give desperate parents more options to help their children. Many Hoosier parents who were seeking relief for their kids through traditional treatment options had not found any success. Meanwhile, cannabidiol oil has demonstrated tremendous promise in helping lessen the severity of epileptic seizures when other alternatives are ineffective. Additionally, cannabidiol comes without many of the dangerous side effects associated with other medicines.

It should also be noted that CBD oil is a compound refined from industrial hemp and has very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. While industrial hemp is part of the cannabis family, it is far different from medical marijuana and the low levels of THC mean it cannot be used as a recreational drug.

The law also sets standards for the product and tasked the Indiana State Department of Health with establishing and maintaining a cannabidiol oil registry. Recently, the ISDH launched this registry, which works as a defense to prosecution for those who are in possession of a substance containing CBD oil.

In order to qualify for the registry, an individual must meet certain conditions. To be included, they must be a patient or caregiver; provide proof of Indiana residency; provide a certified statement by an Indiana-licensed physician certified in neurology that the patient in the care of the caregiver has been examined and diagnosed by the physician to have treatment-resistant epilepsy; complete an application; and pay a $50 registration fee. Under the law, “treatment-resistant epilepsy” is considered to be Dravet Syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or another form of epilepsy in which a patient has not responded to at least two traditional treatment options.

Because of the many benefits, Hoosiers deserve to have CBD as an alternative therapy, and the enactment of this legislation provides that opportunity. To see if you qualify or to fill out an application, visit in.gov/isdh and click on “Cannabidiol Registry” under the “Consumers” tab. Please continue to contact my office with any questions or input at 317-232-9793 or h74@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents House District 74,

which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.

A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.