Governor Mary Fallin is calling on lawmakers to work with her in the next legislative session in support of medicinal cannibidiol oil (CBD) on a limited, medically supervised, trial-only basis.
CBD is a component of the marijuana plant. According to a press release from Fallin's office, research suggests that it may be effective to treat toddlers with rare conditions that cause seizures and strokes.
Fallin's office also stressed that CBD is an oil and is not smoked. It is also not intoxicating or used as a recreational drug, Fallin's office said.
"I do not support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana," said Fallin. "Nor do I support a broadly-defined 'medicinal' marijuana use that makes it easy for healthy adults and teenagers to find and buy drugs. I do support allowing potentially life-saving medicine to find its way to children in need. I am very interested in allowing limited, heavily supervised use of non-intoxicating CBD to be delivered on a trial-basis to sick children in Oklahoma."
In May, Fox 25's Phil Cross toured a marijuana facility in Colorado where they manufacture cannabis oil. CBD is different from oil or 'wax' because does not have intoxicating effect. Click here for our story.
Mark Woodward with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics said CBD is not illegal in Oklahoma as long as it contains no THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. That, however, is the problem, Woodward says because CBD oil with no THC is rare and in this case anecdotal evidence appears to indicate high levels of THC can do more harm than good.
"It needs to be low levels less than 1 percent according to these families," Woodward told Fox 25, "And that wouldn't be enough to cause any intoxication therefor it would not appeal to the pot smoking group."
The OBNDD says it is cautiously optimistic about the study. "We've got to treat it like medicine with medicine we don't take shortcuts before we put something out on the streets," Woodward said.
The study is being run by Representative Jon Echols, (R-Oklahoma City) who says he began looking at CBD oil 3 years ago when he found out it could help treat his niece who suffers from a serious seizure disorder.
"It is simply not true to call this medical marijuana we're talking about below .3% THC, under the federal definitions we're talking about hemp," Echols told reporters.
Echols' study was combined with one submitted by Representative Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs), who is also running for governor, to study the same issue.
"While I am glad Fallin endorsed Representative Echols' and my study on the use of this potentially valuable remedy for sick kids, she continues to simply follow the lead of others or wilts under pressure from her political bosses," said Dorman in a news release.
Governor Fallin said her office started looking at CBD use six months ago and was unaware Dorman supported it and said the timing of her support had no political motivations.
"As a mother I am certainly very sympathetic to mothers and children who are facing epilepsy and seizures and if there is something out there such as a CBD oil under a clinical trial that might be able to help these children have a better quality of life and be able to help these parents then I encourage Representative Echols and the other legislators who will be involved in this study to pursue that avenue," Fallin said.