Texas legalizes non-euphoric cannabidiol for seizures in epileptic patients
Cook Children’s epileptologist responds to bill passed for cannabidiol (CBD) use
Texas became the latest state to legalize cannabidiol (CBD), a non-euphoric component of the marijuana plant. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Act into law on June 1, 2015, allowing limited medical use of marijuana-derived oils that may help control severe seizures in patients with epilepsy. The law goes into effect on Sept. 1, 2015, but that doesn’t mean CBD will be available at that point.
The Texas Department of Public Safety will be responsible for the licensing of at least three dispensing organizations by Sept. 1, 2017 before CBD will be available for patients.
CBD is the non-euphoric component of marijuana and contains no psychoactive properties, so it doesn’t produce a “high.” CBD is not administered by children smoking. It is typically formulated into an oil-based liquid so it can be given by mouth.
Texas agencies will regulate the distribution of the oils to patients whose symptoms have not responded to available treatments and the risks of treatment are outweighed by the potential benefits, according to their epileptologist. The treatment has to be agreed upon by two epileptologists before CBD can be administered.
M. Scott Perry, M.D., medical director of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Clinic at Cook Children’s, estimates he discusses with parents and patients the pros and cons of marijuana use for epilepsy three or four times a day at minimum.
Dr. Perry said families are looking for any therapy that works for their child’s uncontrolled seizures once other options have failed, and some have either left the state or had plans on leaving Texas if the bill didn’t become law.
“I think we have seen enough in the other states that have already made CBD available to understand there is potential benefit to CBD use,” Dr. Perry said. “From what we’ve seen in the medical community so far, it’s very encouraging, but more research still needs to be done before CBD is a treatment of choice for most patients with epilepsy. For now, CBD may provide benefit for a small population with intractable (unmanageable) epilepsy, in which other treatments have been unhelpful. I’m glad that this bill will now afford me the same opportunity as other physicians in my field to prescribe CBD to this population of patients in Texas.”