Three prominent pediatricians in the conservative state of Utah are backing the use of a molecule in marijuana to treat intractable forms of epilepsy.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the University of Utah’s top pediatric neurologist, Francis Filloux, chief of the U.’s Division of Pediatric Neurology, and two others have come out in support of families seeking access to a cannabis extract that stops seizures in many cases.
"I would like to express my strong belief that -based oils (referred to here in Utah as Alepsia) should be available as soon as possible to Utah children with severe epilepsy. The substance is not psychoactíve or hallucinogenic, it contains less THC than do other materials that can be legally purchased in Utah, and it has absolutely no abuse potential," Filloux declared in a letter shared Tuesday with Utah’s Controlled Substances Advisory Committee.
Two other pediatric neurologists at the university, Helen Barkan and Lynne Kerr signed the letter, making them the first Utah physicians to publicly endorse cannabis as a viable treatment for children with severe, intractable epilepsy. Filloux said he's treated children with epilepsy for 25 years, and specializes in Dravet syndrome - an intractable severe form of chronic seizures that can kill a child. He said "extensive pre-clinical" data and case studies about Dravet syndrome patients indicate seizure relief from marijuana extracts high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Filloux said CBD oil appears to be safe and holds "great promise as an anti-epileptic agent."
Utah and the federal government doesn’t permit use of medical marijuana, so families with epileptic kids have to relocate medical pot states like Colorado where the oil is available. Existing medications - often anti-psychotics - turn epileptic children into zombies, parents report.
Utah children should have the same access to "potentially life-improving therapy" as children in Colorado, Filloux said. Critics of the war on pot say that medical marijuana should have never been made illegal in the first place.