There has been considerable coverage in the news, including a recent article from the Texas Medical Association (TMA), about CBD Oil now available to treat epilepsy here in Texas. Through the Compassionate Use Act, Texas doctors are now able to prescribe it to patients when traditional medicines have failed.
CBD Oil in Texas is made from cannabis, which is marijuana. The Texas program requires CBD Oil made here to have high CBD content (10%), and it can include no more than 0.5% THC. THC is another chemical that comes from cannabis, and that is the part of marijuana that causes the “high” with recreational use. The THC content is kept low to prevent any intoxicating side effects, while the CBD is high to insure maximum medical benefit.
Many patients suffering from a host of debilitating conditions such as epilepsy, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and multiple sclerosis hold out great hope that CBD could help their symptoms. So far, Texas law has only allowed CBD for treatment of epilepsy.
The reality is that CBD Oil can help some patients with epilepsy, but only a small percentage (5-10%) of patients achieve full control of seizures with CBD. About another 20-30% have improvement of seizures to a lesser, but noticeable, degree.
The Texas program is restricted to patients with refractory epilepsy, meaning that their seizures continue to occur despite treatment with regular medication or other therapies. About 1/3 of all epilepsy patients fall into this category, and therefore would be eligible for CBD prescription if their doctor recommends it.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin has three providers specializing in epilepsy who are registered to prescribe CBD Oil through the Texas Compassionate Use Program: Drs. Aaron Cardon, Jeff Kane, and Karen Keough.
CBD Oil has been available on the Internet for several years. Marijuana cannot be shipped over state lines, so Internet-derived CBD formulations are made from hemp, a plant that is similar to marijuana and also contains CBD. As noted in a recent TMA article, one of the problems with CBD from Internet suppliers is that the actual CBD content is erratic. In fact, some samples ordered through the Internet were tested and had no medicinal content at all.
Dr. Keough serves as Chief Medical Officer for Compassionate Cultivation, one of the three licensed Texas CBD dispensaries. She was closely involved in their process to develop a reliable extraction method to produce reliable medication. “There will be none of this, ‘I don’t know what’s in the bottle and is it going to be the same the next time I get a bottle?'” says Dr. Keough.
There are two other Texas dispensaries licensed to grow cannabis, extract CBD, manufacture, and distribute it in Texas. Knox Medical has CBD medications available for prescription, and the third company, Surterra, recently received final approval from the Texas DPS and has started cultivating plants.
Another hurdle facing those interested in using CBD Oil is pricing — it is not covered by insurance and carries high out-of-pocket costs.
Still, for those patients, and parents with children affected by epilepsy, having a promising new therapy makes it all very much worth it.
Read the complete Texas Medical Association article right here.