Bill to allow medicinal use of cannabis oil on horizon

Louisville senator to propose use exclusively at University of Kentucky and University of Louisville hospitals

By Kevin Wheatley, Published:

Sen. Julie Denton, in her last session as a member of the General Assembly, said Wednesday she plans to file a bill allowing the medicinal use of low-concentration cannabis oil.

The debate at the Capitol on medicinal marijuana has ramped up in recent years, but Denton, R-Louisville, said the oils dealt with in her legislation lack the psychoactive effects of marijuana. The medicinal oils would only be available at University of Kentucky and University of Louisville hospitals under the bill, Denton said.

“If you had a child who’s having hundreds of seizures a day and you heard about this oil that’s available, for instance, in Colorado, wouldn’t you do whatever it took to see if that was going to help your child?” Denton asked, rhetorically. “Wouldn’t you be willing to take whatever risks it would take for you personally to make sure your child had access to it?”

The Senate has failed to take up medicinal marijuana legislation in recent years, notably bills sponsored by Democratic Sen. Perry Clark of Louisville. Late last year, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, voiced support for medical marijuana because of its benefits for those with autism.

Denton’s legislation does not go quite that far. Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, said he plans to sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill, which would amend last year’s hemp bill to raise the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, from .03 percent to .06 percent.

Carroll said the medicinal cannabis oil could save lives and protect children suffering from maladies such as epilepsy.

“This stuff will not give you any comfort that, obviously, the strong stuff will give you,” he said. “… I don’t go as far as my seatmate (Clark) would like me to go, but I am willing to go this far because it is something that the people want and will endorse once they understand what we’re doing.”

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.

  • Canada got the French, Australia got the convicts and we got the Puritans.  And we have been suffering for it ever since.

  • Mo, my position is the same as yours but evidently I cannot get it across in so few words. I go even further and say just let a man smoke his d@mn pot and quit making criminals out of harmless people. Out of all the illegal drugs out there, this is the least harmful if in fact harmful at all. I am more worried about a man getting drunk in his home than somebody getting high of a joint. Do not even compare the percieved dangers of THC to Alcohol. Just like you Mo, they are messing it up before they even get started because they are afraid of it so why even bother.

    We are a Commonwealth and our leaders has a golden opertunity to test what will really happen if certain drugs were decriminalized and controled. What are they afraid of? Perhaps reduced crime? Unadulterated heroin, Cashcow that will put a casino and lottery to shame? Healthier people that are employed? Or are they worried that the police force will have to be cut due to not needing them in this fruitless war. I can go on and on and many will say we will have too many high people running around but isn't that what we have now but with the dangers that being illegal creates.

    My point is if they are not truely hurting or harming folks in any way now then they dang sure wouldn't be a danger if its legalized. Kids getting ahold of it? Uh, even the worse uncaring addict wouldn't allow kids to use. . Just the money saved from fighting and punishing in this state alone would help pay tuition for every Kentuckian attending a public college, then look at the profit of sales? But they are content with things the way they are.

  • Bodeen, I am not sure that I understand your position on this, but I see it as limited progress.  

    I am also not sure why they are limiting it to " low-concentration cannabis oil that lack the psychoactive effects of marijuana".  History tells us that when you start monkeying around with removing or isolating certain alkaloids from psychoactive plants that you can get into trouble with what then is basically a designer drug.

    There are plenty of examples of this refinement process of the alkaloids in plants, with the most notable being the psychoactive (hallucinogenic) alkaloids. Stimulant (or tranquilizer) alkaloids such as nicotine from tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), caffeine from coffee (Coffea arabica), and cocaine from coca (Erythroxylum coca) are highly addictive to some who have prexisting mental and emotional disorders and clearly alter one's mental and physical state. Likewise, narcotic, pain-relieving alkaloids from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), including codeine and morphine.  

    There are 14 alkaloids in coca leaves, with cocaine being one of them, which have been chewed by the natives of Andes for centuries and it is actually GOOD for them. They are rich in many essential nutrients, they ease respiratory and digestive distress and are a natural stimulant and painkiller. Indigenous tradition and scientific studies have both confirmed that in their natural form, the leaves are completely safe and non-addictive.  But, but when you process them to isolate and remove the cocaine, even those who have been chewing the leaves without incident for years may develop stubborn dependencies with cocain, given the right circumstances.

    Yet the United States still aggressively pursues an eradication policy that encourages Andean governments to spray their forests with toxic chemicals to eliminate this medicinal crop. It is illegal to import or possess the leaves under U.S. law -- unless you're the Coca-Cola company. In an effort to preserve the traditional flavor of the best-selling drink, the company long ago convinced the U.S. government to exempt it from the law.

    There are many good reasons why this occurs but the most important is that human's have evolved both around and consuming these plants for millions of years and have highly developed receptors in our brains that bind to these alkaloids. In a way it is like a lock and a key, the lock in the receptor and the key is an alkaloid.  It is interesting to note that we have opiod receptors (opium, morphine, heroin) located in the brain, the spinal cord, and the gastrointestinal tract. Both endogenous (from within the body) opioids and exogenous (from outside the body) opioids activate opioid receptors.  The most well known endogenous opioids, made within our bodies, are endorphins which have the same effects as drugs like morphine. Actually the way exogenous opioids (methadone, morphine, oxycodone) work is basically by mimicking endogenous opioids which allow then to bind to opioid receptors.

    Although marijuana (Cannabis sativa) is often lumped into any layman's discussion about mind-altering plants, its active chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is not an alkaloid. It does not contain nitrogen and consists of both terpene and phenolic subunits--hence, it is called a terpenophenolic compound, which are why it is non-toxic.

    So far, medical research has not isolated what constituents of this compound are responsible for its medicinal value in the treatment of various maladies, or what is the best way to administer it for maximum benefit.  So when you get a bunch a laymen to start monkeying around with its subunits, you could easily render it useless, or worse.  There really is no reason to do it other than the irrational fear of altered states of consciousness, or as the religious fanatics think of it, the Devil's Playground.  This is what happens when laymen take over the role of "drug experts" from medical researchers...especially with the police and religious leaders who have a vested interest in distorting the science to serve their own ends.

    The best way that I can explain this phenomena is historically: Canada got the French, Australia got the convicts and we got the Puritans.  And we have been suffering for it ever since.

  • Autism and epilepsy but no mention about cancer patients.  Just hoping it's a simple omission but is a major part of the discussion. Having only hospitals with the authority to administer THC oil is perfectly fine with me.

    Back hurts a bit, got a stiff shoulder or maybe you stubbed your toe...take two asprin. 


  • Once again, screw it up and defeat the effort of even trying. What small percent that may work for epilepsy will not work for other serious health problems. Every pothead in the state will come out with some health problem to justify smoking it for a medical problem but the fact is they are going to smoke it no matter if it legal or not but at least if it is legal then the taxpayers are off the hook spending money to punish. Out of all the illegal drugs they are out there, this is the most benign of them. Why are they afraid of a man getting high in his home but do not worry if a man gets drunk and slaps his wife and kids around or drives to get more. Kentucky will stay in the dark backwoods because of the scared leaders we elect. Why even bother!