Over the past few sessions, I have fought to give more options to parents who have children with severe epilepsy. I co-authored legislation this year that aims to help parents who are desperate to find effective treatment for their son or daughter’s medical condition. The bill, which recently passed out of the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code, would give Hoosiers the ability to obtain cannabidiol (CBD) oil for medical purposes without fear of prosecution.
CBD oil is derived from industrial hemp, which is a part of the cannabis family, but contains no tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The absence of THC means that it cannot be used as a recreational drug. House Bill 1148 would allow a person to possess CBD oil if they or their child has been diagnosed with severe epilepsy, and they meet certain commonsense safety requirements, such as proper sourcing and labeling.
CBD oil can be effective as a treatment for seizures in about 80 percent of severe epilepsy cases. Unfortunately, parents are unable to pursue this option under current law. Right now, parents can be prosecuted because CBD oil is not legal for any purposes. Nonetheless, it has shown documented effectiveness in helping manage the symptoms of otherwise persistent conditions of epilepsy, such as Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. These are devastating illnesses.
My goal with this piece of legislation is to give parents and patients who are out of options the power to seek alternative solutions for epilepsy treatment. The current, traditional forms of treatment can have dangerous side effects and unintended consequences, especially on young children whose brains are still developing. By allowing the controlled use of CBD oil in Indiana, we would be giving Hoosiers another option and in the end, another chance.
After passing unanimously through the committee process, the bill will now go to the full House for consideration.
As we continue our work during the legislative session, I encourage you to contact me with any questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.
State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents House District 74, which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
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