Two bills in the U.S. state of Virginia could greatly improve access to cannabidiol (CBD) and THC-A based medicinal oils for patients in the state.
It’s been nearly two years since the Virginia Senate passed legislation permitting the local production of cannabidiol and THC-A. Previous Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, signed the legislation into law in April 2016.
However, access to cannabis oil containing these compounds has been very restrictive. Only neurologists could recommend them, and only for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. This has not only impacted many patients who could benefit from them, but also held back in local industry.
This may soon change.
Two bills currently progressing, SB 726 (sponsor: Senator Siobhan S. Dunnavant) and HB 1251 (sponsor: Delegate Benjamin Cline), would enable doctors to recommend CBD and THC-A* based oils for the treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the doctor to provide benefit from their use.
Progress of the bills has been encouraging. HB 1251 was approved by the House last week with a vote of 98 – 0.
“This allows another option for residents of Virginia, and it does provide some assistance for pain management and may give people an alternative to . . . opioids,” said Mr. Cline.
A couple of days prior to the vote, co-sponsor Del. Mark Levine said he was “extremely optimistic” of the bill passing in the Virginia General Assembly this year. He has predicted cannabidiol oils will be legally prescribed in the state under the new access arrangements beginning in July 2018.
With regard to the Senate Bill, SB 726, progress can be viewed here.
Medical cannabis has significant public support in the state.
A Quinnipiac University Poll last year indicated an overwhelming majority of Virginia’s voters support allowing adults to use marijuana for medical use if a doctor prescribes it (92%). That approval was up significantly from a Christopher New University, Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy poll in 2015 indicating 69% of Virginia voters supported legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.
*THC-A is a precursor to THC and does not have an intoxicating effect. It has demonstrated potential anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-emetic and some anti-cancer effects. Learn more about THC in a medical context.