Alabama Passes ‘Leni’s Law’, Allowing CBD for Certain Medical Conditions

Alabama has passed a bill that decriminalizes cannabidiol and allows patients with seizure disorders and other debilitating conditions access to cannabis oil without fear of prosecution. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed into law a bill that gives patients with seizure disorders and other debilitating conditions legal access to cannabidiol oil. The bill, signed into law on May 4, decriminalizes cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis shown to be effective at treating seizures and other conditions. The bill has been tagged “Leni’s Law” after Leni Young, a young girl who moved with her family to Oregon for legal CBD access. “As a physician, I believe it is extremely important to give patients with a chronic or debilitating disease the option to consider every possible option for treatment,” Governor Bentley said. “With Leni’s Law, citizens in Alabama will have access to cannabidiol that may help with treatment.  Through a study at UAB, we have seen the benefit of cannabidiol to help with chronic seizures. I hope we will be able to collect information that will determine the efficacy of this substance in other chronic debilitating diseases.” The Senate initially approved Leni’s Law in April with a 29-3 vote. The House passed the bill soon after with a 95-4 vote. Leading the campaign for the bill were parents who believe CBD would benefit their children. One parent, Kari Forsyth, told the that CBD could curtail the debilitating seizures and spams that are overtaking her 11-year-old daughter, Chesney. Research has shown that CBD has the capability of reducing or even eliminating seizures and is well tolerated. CBD has even proven effective at treating severe pediatric epilepsy disorders like Dravet syndrome, Doose syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. In a 2015 study, 85 percent of parents reported a decrease in their child’s seizure frequency, and 14 percent of those noted that their child had reached complete seizure freedom. Two years ago, the Alabama Legislature passed Carly’s Law to authorize a University of Alabama study on CBD’s effect on seizures. Preliminary results show that 50 percent of the study’s subjects have experienced seizure control improvements. “The studies are ongoing, and we have a lot more to learn; but these preliminary findings are encouraging,” said Jerzy Szaflarski, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neurology, principal investigator of the adult study. “Among our goals was to determine the safety of CBD oil therapy, and it appears that, in many cases, patients tolerate the oil quite well. The evidence of seizure reduction gives us hope that, the more we learn about CBD oil, the better we will be able to tailor this therapy to provide relief for those with severe epilepsy.” The bill had initially restricted access to those with seizure disorders, but the Senate recently expanded it to include anyone with a debilitating medical condition.

Getting Legal Access to CBD

With the passing of Leni’s Law, possession of CBD for medical purposes has been decriminalized in Alabama. However, CBD derived from the marijuana variety of cannabis is still federally illegal in the United States. Some states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana programs, and like Alabama, others have legalized the medical use of high-CBD cannabis products. However, CBD that is derived from the mature stalks or seeds from hemp, another variety of cannabis, is federally legal in the United States. Hemp is naturally low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that causes a high. It’s legal to purchase and use CBD hemp oil in all 50 states.]]>