Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol – referred to as THC and CBD – are the two main medically important substances found in cannabis oil. THC is responsible for the “high” that Cannabis is infamous for, while CBD has no psychotropic effects at all.
Atlanta Magazine says that both CBD and THC have been hailed as showing great promise in palliative and possibly curative treatment, particularly in the case of certain conditions that do not respond to conventional approaches. The two substances are currently undergoing stringent testing in countries all over the world to determine their efficacy and possible roles in the treatment of a long list of ailments.
5 year old girl’s plight resulted in the “Haliegh’s Hope” Act
Haliegh Cox is a 5 year old girl who suffers from a condition that had her experiencing severe seizures, reportedly up to 200 times per day.
Desperate for help for their daughter who at that stage had been given 3 months to live, Haliegh’s parents took her to Colorado for treatment with low THC oil which they found helped her condition dramatically, as reported by The Red & Black. Haliegh’s case was well-publicised, and she became the poster child for medical Cannabis in Georgia.
State Representative Allen Peake’s failed “Haliegh’s Hope Act” introduced in 2014 was amended and re-introduced in 2015, passed, and was signed into law.
The act allows for the use of medical Cannabis, but only in the form of “high CBD” cannabis oil, with a maximum THC content of 5%, and only for the treatment of eight particular state-approved conditions: seizure disorders; Crohn’s disease; mitochondrial disease; severe or end-stage ALS; multiple sclerosis; Parkinson’s disease; sickle cell disease; and cancer.
5 year old Abby Conforti
5 year old Abby Conforti is autistic, and used to suffer from violent fits of rage sometimes so extreme that she would inflict severe bites to those around her and to herself. As reported by NBC News, Abby’s mother, Georgia mom Jennifer Conforti, feels that the fact that autism is not on the state’s list of approved conditions is not fair to her daughter.
One day a little less than 2 years ago Jennifer arrived at school to fetch Abby, only to find her daughter raging to such a degree that it took 3 teachers to restrain her and carry her to the car. Jennifer, who had tried all manner of treatments and dietary changes in an ongoing struggle to help her daughter, decided then and there to try treating Abby with Cannabis oil, in spite it being against the law for her to do so.
Abby has different needs to Hayleigh
What makes Jennifer and Abby Conforti’s case different is that after having tried various mixtures and dosages, Jennifer has found that what helps Abby to stay rage-free is Cannabis oil with a much higher level of THC than the law in Georgia allows for.
Abby had been prescribed a succession of anti-psychotic and other medications, none of which helped her at all, said mom, but she responded to the high THC Cannabis oil. Abby’s quality of life improved; the raging stopped completely and had not resurfaced in the 16 months prior to Jennifer having testified before the Georgia legislature earlier this year.
“Hayleigh’s Hope Act 2”
In the hope of expanding the law Rep. Peake introduced a bill earlier this year that made provision for the cultivation of medical Cannabis within the state, for raising the maximum permissible level of THC in Cannabis oil, and for the adding of several ailments to the list of approved conditions, including autism, PTSD and Alzheimer’s.
Abby’s mom testifies before legislature, admits to breaking law
Jennifer Conforti testified to her own civil disobedience in front of Georgia lawmakers in January, at the first hearing of the bill. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports further that she informed the legislators that she was using marijuana to make her own high THC oil to administer to Abby because she had found that it was the only thing that calmed her daughter, and had ended her rages.
In spite of initial interest – and Jennifer Conforti’s testimony – the provision for legalised cultivation of medical Cannabis within the state was cut, interest in the bill dried up, and it failed to make the deadline to be passed back to the Senate. The cannabis oil initiative has fallen to the wayside, possibly to be resurrected with new amendments early next year.
What comes next for Abby and cannabis oil in Georgia?
In the NBC’s report Jennifer Conforti is quoted as saying that the Georgia legislature has created a legal and ethical mess that the legislators need to realise cannot be walked away from.
In the meantime Abby is getting her oil, her mom plans to continue dosing her, and it seems as if she will continue to challenge the state authorities for the legal right to do so. How they will respond remains to be seen.
Perhaps next year will see “Abby’s Amendment” pass into law.
Is Georgia moving quickly enough? Is “CBD only” cannabis oil legislation discriminatory? Is “Abby’s Amendment” somehow less important than Haliegh’s Hope? Tell us your opinion.