Congressional CBD-Only Bill Raises Both Hope And Significant Concerns

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Yesterday, Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) introduced a bill in Congress that would create an exemption to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) for cannabis plants and derivatives with an extremely low THC content. Representative Perry has a checkered record on medical cannabis in his first term as a member of Congress, having voted for the Rohrabacher-Farr CJS Amendment in May, but against medical cannabis providers in the Heck and Fleming Amendments to the Financial Services Appropriations bill earlier in July. Perry’s HR 5226 was joined by cosponsors Paul Broun (R-GA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and would allow for cannabis plants with a THC content of less than 0.3% to be grown in the United States. While this would certainly be a step in the right direction rather than the state quo of complete medical cannabis prohibition, the bill has left many patients, parents, and activists wondering whether this more sideways step than one moving forward towards truly meaningful access to medical cannabis therapy.

Ladybud has already published a superb article that highlights the problems with CBD-only legislation and quotes several parents that are very concerned with the limited potential therapeutic potential of HR 5226. The piece quotes parents such as Jason David and Brian Wilson, both whom have been treating their children for seizures with medical cannabis therapy. “CBD is a very important part of the mix, but only part,” noted Wilson. Speaking about the dangers and limitations of THC caps, David said, “There’s no way possible that all these children in Colorado could get seizure control and get off all their medications without using different ratios and adding THC and THCA. It’s impossible to get off all the medications and go through benzo withdrawals without being able to play with the THC ratios.” Wilson and David are hardly alone in their skepticism about CBD-only legislation, and ASA’s Dr. Jahan Marcu spoke about the myths of CBD-only at the 2014 ASA Unity Conference back in April.