More States Move Forward With CBD-Only Measures, But Will They Help Patients?

Lawmakers in Alabama and Utah recently approved legislation seeking to authorize the physician-supervised use of varieties of cannabis and/or extracts high in the non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD). Both measures, which I previously summarized as ‘largely unworkable,‘ have now been signed into law.

In recent days, lawmakers in three additional states — Kentucky, Mississippi, and Wisconsin — have similarly signed off on CBD-explicit legislation. These measures are now awaiting signatures from each states’ respective Governors.

Similar to Alabama’s SB 174 (aka ‘Carley’s Law), which only permits the use of CBD by prescription during the course of an FDA-approved clinical trial, the pending Kentucky and Wisconsin bills may also be classified as ‘research-centric’ measures. Kentucky’s SB 124 permits physicians “practicing at a hospital or associated clinic affiliated with a Kentucky public university” to “dispense” cannabidiol during the course of an FDA-approved clinical trial. Wisconsin’s AB 726 similarly limits those who may legally dispense CBD to only include those physicians who have obtained an FDA-issued investigational drug permit to prescribe it. In Tennessee, lawmakers are also close to finalizing similar language (included in HB 2461 and SB 2531) that seeks to allow university clinical researchers to “manufacture” and “dispense” high-CBD cannabis oil “as part of a clinical research study on the treatment of intractable seizures.” (By contrast, separate, broader medical cannabis measures seeking to authorize the use of the whole plant failed this year in all three states.)

As I’ve previously written here and here, it is unlikely that specific changes in state law will stimulate these type of proposed clinical trials from taking place in these states any time soon. Because CBD is acknowledged by federal regulators to be classified as a schedule I prohibited substance, multiple federal agencies — including the FDA, DEA, NIDA (US National Institute of Drug Abuse), and PHS (Public Health Service) must all sign off on any clinical investigation of the cannabinoid — a process that typically takes several years. A keyword search of FDA-approved clinical trials using the terms “cannabidiol” and “United States” yields fewer than ten ongoing human trials involving CBD — less than half of which are assessing its potential therapeutic application. (Two additional safety trials assessing the use of GW Pharmaceutical’s patented high-CBD formulation Epidiolex in children with severe epilepsy are also ongoing.)

Unlike the above-mentioned measures, Mississippi’s HB 1231, does not seek to encourage state-sponsored clinical trials. Rather, the measure exempts specific high-CBD formulated oils “that contain more than fifteen percent cannabidiol [and] … no more than one-half of one percent of tetrahydrocannabinol” from the state’s definition of a schedule I prohibited substance. However, like Utah’s HB 105 (aka ‘Charlee’s Law), Mississippi’s pending law does not provide guidance as to where patients could legally obtain such extracts. Though such high-CBD products are presently available in a limited number of medical cannabis states (such as in California and Colorado), these extracts are typically only available to in-state residents who possess authorization from a physician licensed to practice in that state. (Although Colorado state law also allows for a recreational cannabis market, which may be legally accessed by out-of-state residents, at present time such high-CBD concentrates are seldom available at retail outlets.)

Additional cannabidiol-specific measures also remain pending in Florida and South Carolina, among other states. NORML will report on these measures as they progress and we will continue to express caution in regards to their practical utility for those patients who require immediate access to whole-plant cannabis and its variety of naturally-occurring compounds.

33 thoughts

  1. legal to have but still illegal to produce. also illegal to transport here from any other state.hmm.what would you call this type of scenario ?

  2. Not really, but the politicians will try to spin it like it helps patients, like enough for a couple of choice photo opportunities to get them re-elected.

    It’s the camel’s nose in the prohibitionist tent. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the armpits of each prohibitionist. Scratch, scratch.

  3. We need to recognize this plant as medicine and stop arresting people who use it. This racist law was created in 1937 by Harry Anslinger as a reason to lock up blacks, Mexicans and American Indians.

    Up until the 1930’s people of color were killed for almost any reason you could think of. This prohibition was created to imprison people of color after the 1930’s because the law said “ya can’t just kill them any more”.

    Warning Graphic:

    It’s time to end the unscientific prohibition, and at minimum reschedule, regulate and tax this commodity.

    What about the children? Nancy Grace needs to know that every day children suffer because the federal government is withholding medicine that works. It is withholding medicine to children, and everyone else while using a prohibition created without science.

    If anything cannabis prohibition should have been repealed long ago and we should be fighting for alcohol consumption right now.

  4. I do not believe that allowing only CBD is the correct approach. THC has properties that can positively affect one’s mental state (e.g. depression, stress relief) and should also be allowed for that reason.

    I believe that the combination of THC & CBD is the optimal way to go for most people.

  5. One thing is certain, the next Election Day for most of our elected elite will be a day of revelation. Their behavior on the medical and legalization issues have been some of the most blatantly corrupt political pandering that has ever been witnessed. It is impossible for a single elected or appointed official to stand and declare ignorance on the beneficial use of cannabis, and yet with a straight face there they stand like a lying toddler. We all know the truth. We all have known it for some time now. Waiting for an alarm to go off to wake up Lady Justice is not going to happen. If the politicians want to remain in office then they need to start doing there jobs and stop supporting the corporate complex of corruption. Next stop California, land of Medical Cannabis, sunny days and a decent nights sleep.

  6. DC says: or is it part of a secret plot to debase cannabis genetics?

    Anne comment: A good way to describe it! Why is it okay to use MJ for Cannabinoids not THC
    THC is the exact medicine which cures my ills!

  7. If only Pres. Obama would reschedule this Herb
    In just a short time; thousands of clinical trials and studies would be available to all!!
    I too am interested in trying some MMJ edibles

  8. Does anyone know what happens to a child with Dravet Syndrome?

    They will eventually seize so much their brain will burn out and the child will die. If they survive they risk a life so brain damaged that the parents usually wind up taking care of their child until they grow so big that they have to be institutionalized.

    My friends son had seizures so bad as an infant that he is now in a wheelchair, can’t feed himself, move any body part, use a toilet, or smile. He can’t even thank his parents for all the love and care they provided him, for 18 years.

    America should be growing high CBD cannabis crops and ship CBD oil by the 55 gallon drum to these children. If it works, even for just a few children, than let’s just make it happen.

    @Paul: even if the FDA will not give CBD oil approval why can’t we sell it as an herbal supplement?

    @Norm: now it’s about the children. Tell Nancy how our politicians are holding back medicine from our kids because we are still a nation of racist people.

  9. Thanks for standing up for these sick children Paul. With the increasing level of cannabis education, these failed attempts to gain political points are going to blow up in prohibitionist politician’s faces this November.
    One good thing about this strange paradox of hemp laws we have is an increased availability of hemp oil vaporizers. You can easily remedy weak doses of oil by opening up the cartridges and replacing them with whatever herbal medicine you like.
    We can bet good green Dr. Gupta is following this story. A “Weed 3: From Panacea to Placebo,” right before elections would be spectacular, focused on these hopeless cbd laws and the hypocrisy of the D.H.H.S. Patent “…507.” on neuroprotective cannabinoids… while they torture marijuana refugees with threats of taking their children away if they dare cross state lines to return home. This story cant be told enough


    This is a link to the Justice Department’s website which desribes what the N.D.D.S. and S.O.D. program out of the D.O.J. is about… yet it fails to explain how they really go about obtaining evidence, prosecuting and writing drug policy. You may want to cover your phone camera lens, but they already have access to your phone through the N.S.A.

    Read this link with three things in mind;
    1). The C.S.Act gives our top law enforcers unconstitutional authority to write drug policy.
    2). The S.O.D. program out of the D.O.J. uses illegal wire tapped information obtained from the N.S.A. (who obtain most of their data from multi-national corporations fishing for consumer data using stupid apps we download).
    3). The “international” criminal networks the website describes are the “interagency communities” of our own government.

    When you look at the website synopsis from these three perspectives, it becomes clear how we end up with legislation as cruel and ineffective as these horrible cbd-only laws.

  11. Why the hate for Dr. Gupta. He’s been a proponent of Whole Medical marijuana for a while now, and a very high profile one at that. As a doctor he also sees the medical value of CBD. If it was up to him we would have both. Of course Republican controlled states are going to use CBD only as a way to head off legalization, medical and otherwise. CBD only is probably the best that the Red states are going to see for the foreseeable future. Maybe a half dozen states in the west and northeast will legalize in 2014, Maybe a half dozen more in 2016. The South, Idaho, the Plains, probably not any time soon, maybe a hundred years, maybe not even then.

  12. These laws are a classic example of substitute laws offered by prohibitionists supposedly as compassionate reforms but actually designed only for public relations purposes and INTENDED to defeat the desired reform, namely, using natural herbal cannabis or extracts. Those products, including the high-CBD preparations, are ALREADY AVAILABLE in the free states. The slave-state lawmakers hope to pacify public opinion which reacts sympathetically to middle-class white parents from Anytown USA whose severely-disabled children are the victims of UNREASONING, ARBITRARY, AND CAPRICIOUS legal fiction . . . the placement of cannabis on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. The big drug companies are desperate to prevent the further spread of medicinal cannabis for two reasons: First, they can’t patent a natural herb, only synthesized equivalents or processed extracts; and even more importantly, therapeutic cannabis would work so well that it would cut into demand for many of the more hazardous conventional drugs used now, thus threatening profits from these expensive medications. And of course, the solution to this political side-tracking of medicinal cannabis is to re-double the effort for legal cannabis for all! If done correctly–including the right of home cultivation–that would make the medicinal restrictions pretty much obsolete.
    Anti-drug fanatics, and law enforcement addicted to for-profit policing which depends on cannabis prohibition, will use increasingly cruel and desperate measures to defeat the will of the people. Using sick and suffering children as political hostages as they are doing with the CBD laws is morally despicable. But then, so much of contemporary American politics IS morally despicable, isn’t it?

  13. Great post Oliver.
    I would add that its not the “middle class white” families that alarm more affluent Americans so much as that they are middle class, and they just watched the drama unfold on the increasingly limited in competition, low-standard media of middle class news network called CNN.
    Of course the source of Dr. Gupta’s high profile and ongoing report over marijuana laws does not disguise the tragic irony occuring within America’s socioeconomic equality. D.C. just experienced the greatest socially stabalizing experience with a minimal amount of violence in its history by voting to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana and not politicians. What a mind blowing concept.
    But with the Colorado marijuana refugees America sees that the poor are not the only people being marganalized by archaic drug laws. The sick are clearly targeted by special interests; pharmacuetical intetests as you eloquently pointed out. I would go a step further to name the bastards who prohibit our freedom:
    And my personal favorite,
    GW Pharmacueticals.
    I had read before Dr. Gupta’s Weed 2 documentary that the Department of Health and Human Services had sold exclusive rights to GW Pharm to patent an herbal variety of cannabinoids. But when I saw the video of the top secret warehouse in Great Brittain full of CBD rich marijuana I thought, “Oh how lovely! Im sure that this top secret warehouse is logistically prepared to distribute all this medicine to severely epileptic children throughout the world!”
    Okay, that was sarcasm. I actually thought, “Those fucking bastards. Patenting a God Given herb only to prohibit it from those who need it most at exhorbitant costs? They made their bed in Hell…”
    After all, that’s what a patent is; a prohibitive license that allows one to restrict exclusive supplies and raise the price on a commodity… But what if that commodity is life as we know it?

  14. No one can outlaw a plant. No one can outlaw a plant that cures ailments, and saves lives.

    Americans putting up with this is fact, that Americans will kill themselves if that makes the Government happy.

    There is no Government. Just control freaks in black robes that think they know what is best for you, and are willing to kill you, or lock you up forever to help you, and better you.

    This Nation, and mostly Earth never left the stone ages.

  15. I’m wearily awaiting sitcom ANY legislation in N.Y. I’m a pain management patient who had to give up.weed which helped me immensely.I actually had to leave one doctor and find another because I tested positive fir thc. This is ridiculously unfair. These laws came about because of racial prejudice because there is no bonafide reason why any one shouldn’t be allowed the choice to use what helps the individual more. they are making junkies out of us instead because the horrible side effects not to mention the storms one must endure for using such drugs. Our countries priorities are nightmarish unreasonable to say the least. I’m 63yrs old from the fight empower generation andci sure would like to see some LG the current generation pick up the torch!

  16. @ Ray, you are so correct.

    The thing that yanked my chain was the little section about “GW Pharmaceutical’s patented high-CBD formulation Epidiolex”. I personally do not want big pharmaceutical companies trying to exploit this for the all mighty dollar! Or for some politicians to get some back door action (no pun intended, okay yes there was but that’s not the point).

  17. Copy and paste from NYS Senator Greg Ball’s website, from a speech 6/5/2013.

    “In a community where we have children dying from drugs and alcohol it is simply unconscionable that any legislator would even consider decriminalizing marijuana, or any dangerous drug. Marijuana is carcinogenic, addictive, destroys lives and is a proven gateway drug, now 30 times more powerful than years ago. Furthermore, knowing that the beneficial effects for medical patients is now available in both pill and vapor form, the very suggestion of Medical marijuana is a hoax and a Trojan Horse for powerful forces seeking to decriminalize all drugs. I am deeply disappointed in those legislators who voted with Shelly Silver and irresponsibly put our children’s lives and our communities in harm’s way,” said Senator Greg Ball. “The New York State Assembly has not only voted to decriminalize certain possession of marijuana, but is attempting to place a back door end to stop-and-frisk searches that have proved an invaluable tool in fighting crime. Legal and law enforcement experts agree, including New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, that stop-and-frisk saves lives and keeps our streets safe.”

    This guy represents me, a Westchester County cancer survivor who was denied a “marijuana pill”. Greg is also misled on what he is talking about with “vapor form”. To vape I need legal access.

    Greg is a firm believer that black people smoke marijuana and if we don’t lock them up, then they will look white people in the eye and step on white peoples shadows. This is the web of lies that is the foundation of our countries marijuana laws.

    Read a book Greg, educate yourself before you speak.

    Justin Wagner for NYS Senate Westchester, he believes in compassionate care.

  18. @Ray, remind voters that Greg Ball has overlooked or deliberately ignored the SUBSTITUTION option– i.e. if he’s concerned about “children dying from drugs [INCLUDING $IGARETTES] and alcohol” then give legalized cannabis a FAIR CHANCE TO SUBSTITUTE for those hazards.

  19. The drug companies are going for patent rights and the narcissistic politicians are only showing a token interest in medical marijuana. It’s all about the money.

  20. Senator Gregg Ball, a champion for ignorance! I read he is also “worried about increases in heroin use”. But he thinks marijuana use magically lead to these folks doctors prescribing them opiate drugs that are illegal schedule one materials. But it is marijuana’s fault in this moron’s head.

  21. I think he, like many a Rebublican, is trying to tell me it is raining while pissing in my ear. What a turd.

  22. As someone who is now 71 years old and has been smoking marijuana on and off for the last 47 years, I would like to say add my comment to those who are happy with cannabis usage. Let us continue to debunk these “reefer madness” types who keep popping up everyday.

  23. Also: Jesus Christ! I’ve been smoking pot since 1967 and these dinosaurs and elephants act like marijuana was just discovered! Were we in the 60s the only ones who smoked pot until it came out our ears…and lived in California and on the East Coast? Seems that way.

  24. Ray, CBD is also a schedule one material, in defiance of the the very same schedule it is scheduled on. More lies from the prohibs.

  25. Can’t believe in this day,people stillfall for that reefer madness mentality!!! I wonder if I will see it passed inmy lifetime here in ny. I’ m forcedto forego cannabis because I’m in pain management and they won’t give you medication ifyou are using cannabis which in fact helps more symptoms like helping you be able to eat when pain is so bad,you can’t eat or sleep. Opioids lose effectiveness afterwhile and dosagemust be increased. Cannabis does not do this and its easier on the system. when you come off of opioidd,you go thru hell!! suppose they make a law where we can’t have girl either?? people will turn to the streets for heroin if that happens! its bad enough you have to feel like a piece of garbage because of the stigma attached to opioids,I never wanted to be in this situation and I don’t deserve to be treated like that because of my situation. Ida minority as wetland don’t appreciate the racist rhetoric of these republican senators that live in an Ozzie and Harriet mindset. people must band together andprotest. adjust rally together here in ny to get medical marijuanalaws passed and not just the kind without thc! I think ny should go the way of Colorado and make it legal for EVRTYONE!!! If it weren’t for my situation is blow this pop stand and move to Colorado but there’s no say that would be possible. I will stay here and fighter ny to follow the example of Colorado. I hope you people who read this will join in the fight.

  26. Limiting the medicinal value to only a part of the plant is the prohibitionists attempt to divide and confuse.

  27. As a cancer patient, I have been trying to obtain CBD in my legal medical marijuana state of CT but 2 yrs. after legalization, there is not one dispensary open and Yale-New Haven Hosp. has no policy on prescribing med marij. due to lack of dispensaries. I truly believe Big Pharma is working with FDA to prevent CBD trials and availability. So for now I am on toxic chemo with side effects that include leukemia some years down the road, not to mention the usual neuropathy, hair loss, nausea and feeling like I have the flu every two weeks. I suspect there are people in Big Pharma corps and FDA who should be jailed for keeping CBD from doctors and patients. FDA has a current comment period open for the ridiculously named, “Action Plan for the Collection, Analysis, and Availability of Demographic Subgroup Data in Applications for Approval of Food and Drug Administration-Regulated Medical Products.” I wrote about my “subgroup” of cancer patients needing CBD and asking why CBD trials are not ongoing and patients cannot get it, even in legal med. marijuana states. Suggest others do the same, here’s the link:!documentDetail;D=FDA-2013-N-0745-0022

  28. Educating our minds to the truth will always be the best defense and offence in this struggle. The prohibitionist idiots that cling the this backward thinking where power will always protect them will be their undoing. Just as liberation came to our fore fathers, just as liberation came to blacks, so will it come to the holds of cannabis. All that have opposed these things in the past have paid for their greed and marched the same road to ruin. They were arrogant and got what they deserved and so will these idiots. I offer no mercy, forgiveness or sympathy for them. They don’t deserve any of it. They only desever the end of the rope.

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