Cannabis Oils Approved For Epileptic Patients In 'Landmark' Virginia Law

By Victoria Kim 03/14/16

Virginia joins a handful of states that have approved the use of CBD oil for epileptic patients.

Cannabis Oils Approved For Epileptic Patients In 'Landmark' Virginia Law
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Virginians suffering from severe epilepsy are celebrating a legislative victory from last week. 

State legislators in both the House and Senate have unanimously passed a bill that will allow production and distribution of cannabis oils in the state—specifically CBD (cannabidiol) and THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), both non-psychoactive cannabinoids (or compounds) found in marijuana.

Only individuals with intractable epilepsy will be able to acquire the CBD/THCA oils. Patients or their caregivers must request written approval from a doctor that proves their need for the oil.

Last year, Virginia passed a law that allowed patients with debilitating seizures or their caregivers to have and use CBD/THCA oils with immunity from prosecution. But the law stopped short of making the oils legal and did not provide a way for patients to obtain them.

The law passed last week (SB 701) seeks to establish a system of production and distribution so that patients can have easier access to the oils. The Board of Pharmacy has been tasked with drafting regulations for the new system. Then, they will present them before the legislature next year for final approval. According to bill sponsor Sen. David Marsden, the earliest the law could take effect is July 1, 2017. SB 701 is now headed to the governor’s desk for his signature.

“THCA and CBD oils have shown the ability to help alleviate the number and severity of seizures from intractable epilepsy and help so many families live a quality life,” said Sen. Marsden.

Epileptic patients across the country have been pushing for their state lawmakers to legalize CBD/THCA in their home states. Oftentimes, patients and their families must resort to smuggling cannabinoid products across state lines.

There has been incremental progress. Aside from the states that have legalized medical marijuana across the board, others have taken a more conservative approach, allowing access to only CBD for certain conditions, most commonly for seizure disorders. According to, these states include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, and now Virginia.

The benefits of cannabidiol have been recognized in Mexico, as well. Eight-year-old Graciela Elizalde became the country’s first medical marijuana patient in September, after the government approved her to be treated with cannabidiol. Elizalde suffers from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which caused her to endure 400 seizures a day. Her parents told Agence France-Presse at the time that the drug was the family’s “last hope.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr