The CNN documentary Weed featuring Dr. Sanjay Gupta was a game changer in the world of medical marijuana. Once America saw a respected TV doctor admit he was wrong about cannabis’ healing properties and that he was sorry for helping to mislead the people about cannabis, you knew the prohibitionists would be working feverishly to spin that bad news for their cause.
The parents of the child in the Weed documentary, little Charlotte Figi, were able to almost completely cure her rare form of epilepsy by giving her a cannabis oil high in CBD from the “Charlotte’s Web” strain. The spin began with Kevin Sabet from Project SAM explaining it isn’t really marijuana. “This story is about a child who is benefiting from a non-smoked marijuana extract that does not get her high because [it] contains trace amounts of marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, and high amounts of the non-intoxicating CBD.”
Never mind that the CBD extract comes from marijuana plants grown under a medical marijuana law Kevin virulently opposes. As long as it doesn’t have that pesky THC inducing a high, Kevin can accept it as a medicine. Unless that THC is put into a pill called Marinol, then the fact that it gets you high as hell is irrelevant, because the FDA approved it.
Now, a lawmaker in Utah is under pressure to help another little girl like Charlotte who suffers the same rare form of epilepsy. Rather than force her parents, like Charlotte’s, to emigrate to Colorado, Rep. Gage Froerer (R-Huntsville) has a novel idea -- just redefine “Charlotte’s Web” oil as a hemp product, not a marijuana product.
"It’s not a drug, it’s not medical marijuana," said Rep. Froerer, declaring that the high-CBD oil isn’t cannabis; it should now be called “Alepsia” (from root words meaning “of a seizure”). Since “Alepsia” has the same trace amounts of THC you’d find in hemp soap or hempseed oil, Rep. Froerer believes, “They could go over to Colorado right now and bring it in,” since nothing in federal or Utah law forbids hemp products.
Annette Maughan from the Epilepsy Association of Utah is backing the idea, saying “Utah has an opportunity to be innovative.” Rep. Froerer added, “This herb has no social disadvantages since it is not and can not be used to get high. I see nothing but positive social and medical benefits if this will work.”
It's surreal to watch politicians and medical advocates twist themselves in knots to accept the medical benefits of cannabis and simultaneously maintain the demonization of the plant itself. That Utah may allow the importation of medical-grade high-CBD cannabis oil, so long as the medical plants themselves are grown in Colorado, is the latest indication that THC causes degradation of cognitive skills not among those who recreationally use it, but those who irrationally fear it.