Supporters of marijuana extract present case to Controlled Substance Abuse committee

Posted at 9:26 PM, Nov 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-12 23:26:32-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Charlotte's Web is a unique strain of medical marijuana.  It’s in an extract form and some studies show it can help children who suffer from violent seizures.

Utah does not legally import the extract but one of the men who helped chemically engineer Charlotte's Web was in the Beehive State Tuesday, hoping Utah will allow the drug for children who have rare forms of epilepsy.

Supporters presented their case to a controlled substance committee at the Department of Commerce.

Some of the parents who stood before the controlled substance committee are preparing to leave their home in Utah for Colorado so they have access to Charlotte's Web, which has Cannabidial, or CBD.

"It sucks,” said David Cromer. “I wish we could just have the option (here in Utah) to try it and say this is working or not."

Dr. Francis Filloux, a pediatric neurologist with University of Utah, has worked with kids with epilepsy for 25 years.  He wrote in a letter to support groups "there is extensive 'pre-clinical' data that indicates CBD as a chemical is effective in reducing epileptic activity...CBD holds great promise as an anti-epileptic agent."

"(It’s) a strain unlike anything anywhere in the world because it falls under the U.S. Department's classification for what hemp is considered because it's way below .03 THC," said “Charlotte’s Web” co-engineer Josh Stanley.

In other words, the extract has low levels of the drug that gets users high but doctors on the controlled-substance committee question whether there are unknown side-effects and whether enough studies have been done in the U.S.

"It gave us insight about the challenges we're gonna face as we go forward with this," said Annette Maughan, President of Epilepsy Association of Utah.

"It's frustrating to hear oh we need FDA trials and all these things. We don't have 10 years to wait," Cromar said.

Utah representative Gage Froerer is sponsoring legislation to bring the extract from Colorado and potentially research it here in Utah.

"Utah already allows for the importation of hemp, it just can't come from another state. It has to come from out of the country," said Josh Stanley.

That may be a sticking point for lawmakers. Would Utah be breaking federal law if it imported the drug across state lines?