House panel approves bill allowing cannabis oil

Substance could be used to treat epilepsy

By Kevin Wheatley, Published:

Rita Wooten hopes drugs derived from cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating extract from cannabis plants like marijuana or hemp, allows her 4-year-old son Eli to lead a normal life.

A large plastic bag filled with various prescriptions meant to treat Eli’s severe epilepsy laid in front of her at Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee meeting.

“I just want a normal 4-year-old at home,” she said after Senate Bill 124 unanimously cleared the committee.

Wooten described a travel regimen that included 25 trips to Cincinnati from the family’s home in Hyden last year, including five by plane, at a cost of between $7,000 and $8,000. Eli, who cannot communicate verbally, was admitted to the hospital 17 times, with the longest stay spanning 12 days, she said.

“It’s taken a toll on all of us, our entire family,” Wooten said, noting Eli has not tried cannabidiol. “Not just me or my daughter or the rest of our family; it’s devastating to all of us. Who in their right mind wants to keep a little boy that’s 4 years old and has six types of seizures? Honestly, no one.”

SB 124 would allow cannabidiol to be prescribed through the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville or in clinical trials approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Sen. Julie Denton and other supporters, such as Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, and Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, said the measure would provide relief for children who suffer debilitating epilepsy.

Deb McGrath, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana, said national trials through New York University and the University of California have shown promising results thus far. Cannabidiol drugs are readily available in Europe, she said.

“We know that this drug is working and it is giving hope to those families that have utilized every opportunity to treat their child,” McGrath said.

SB 124 would be the first law in Kentucky allowing the medicinal use of cannabis byproducts. But opponents of legalizing medical marijuana say the General Assembly’s potential approval of SB 124 is not an indication that lawmakers are ready to embrace wider medicinal use of the illicit substance.

Westerfield said he remains reluctant to legalizing the medical use of marijuana based on his experiences as a prosecutor.

“I’ve prosecuted DUI homicides where impairment due to marijuana caused the death of someone,” he said. 

Denton, R-Louisville, said she is “thrilled for the children and even the adults” who may benefit from using the substance. The bill was a long shot, she said, but lawmakers have taken their time in vetting SB 124, which has received broad bipartisan support.

The bill, in Denton’s opinion, does not open the door for further legalization of medical cannabis.

“There is no psychoactive properties to this whatsoever,” she said. “You can’t get high. This is simply something that has the ability to help with seizures. It may help with autism. There are numerous things this could be helpful for.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he expects his chamber will move swiftly in approving SB 124, which cleared the Senate by a 38-0 vote. The speaker has acknowledged a willingness to study medicinal marijuana after constituents in his eastern Kentucky district said the substance could help treat autism.

“I think that debate obviously got some legs this session and needs to,” said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. “I’ve told you, I think all of you, I’ve got constituents in my district who have kids who have autism who believe and swear that there is medicinal relief found for those children, and to me, that testimony makes it worth looking at.”

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    Florida just passed legislation that allows for the use of a particular strain of marijuana popularly referred to as Charlotte's Web. The bill specifically arituclates required CBD and THC levels. I did not see any sort of specifications in the Kentucky Bill. Assuming there is a provision that require low THC (psychoactive ingredient) levels and high levels of CBD. Assuming it does, there seems to be a lot of literature that suggests that CBD, while it does not produce a psychoactive high, does cause euphoria. Thus, important questions remain.

    In other words, will recreational users be incentivized to game the system in order to secure prescriptions of medical marijuana? Charlotte’s Web has elevated levels of cannabidiol (CBD) content “but does not induce the psychoactive ‘high’ associated with recreational marijuana use.”[1] According to Barney’s Farm Shop, CBD “increases the happy, euphoric and cerebral effects of THC while decreasing paranoia, anxiety and nervousness.”[2] Moreover, CBD creates a mild sense of euphoria and heightened senses.[3] suggests it is the perfect strain for laying around and listening to music.[4] Thus, it seems that while Charlotte’s Web is low in THC, its high CBD content will enhance the effects of THC resulting in a mild euphoria. While Charlotte’s Web may not create a “high” in the psychoactive sense, it does produce a “high” in the sense that it, for lack of a better term, feels good. One anonymous internet post stated that “[w]ith a strong, piney scent and a strong, long-lasting high, this is one of my favorite sativa strains.”[5]


    ....more at Rayboun Mulligan

    [1] Charlotte’s Web (cannabis), Wikipedia,'s_Web_(cannabis), (last visited June 18, 2014).

    [2] High CBD/Low THC, Barney’s Farm Seeds, (last visited June 18, 2014).

    [3], (last visited June 18, 2014).

    [4] Id.

    [5] Charlotte’s Web Cannabis Strain Details, Leafly, (last visited June 18, 2014).

  • The insanity is almost over...

  • Westerfield said he remains reluctant to legalizing the medical use of marijuana based on his experiences as a prosecutor.

    “I’ve prosecuted DUI homicides where impairment due to marijuana caused the death of someone,” he said. 

    As opposed to alcohol?

  • Still waiting patiently for Colorado to implode...(more sarcasm)

  • Westerfield said he remains reluctant to legalizing the medical use of marijuana based on his experiences as a prosecutor.

    “I’ve prosecuted DUI homicides where impairment due to marijuana caused the death of someone,” he said. 


    How many times compared to alcohol? Not many, I expect.


    Does Mr. Westerfield propose bringing back alcohol prohibition as well? His comment is meaningless ********.

  • I am 57 year old male.  In 2003, I shattered my leg by snapping it in half when a ladder kicked out and I fell 20 feet. The last 10 yrs, I have been in so much pain. I take 9 different pills a day. Some of the meds I take up to 4 times a day. If there is a chance that marijuana oil under my tongue would help me stop taking so many pills I am all for testing at UK and Uof L and any other major treatment facility. Thank the good Lord the Wooten family may have some major help in the very near future.


  • Thank goodness...finally some hope for those that suffer from autism.