MT. VERNON, IL -
Should children under the age of 18 be given a marijuana extract to cure their ills?
Illinois lawmakers said no when they legalized medicinal marijuana in August, but now they are having a change of heart.
The House of Representatives voted 98 to 18 to allow kids under 18 to use a special oil extract to treat epilepsy.
"Potentially it could be very beneficial to an individual," said Louis Beckley, of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois. "The hope is that it will help a lot of people."
In the past a number of medicines, diets, and even surgery have been tried with varying results but Beckley says cannabis oil or CBD is giving people hope.
"CBD oil which is an extract of marijuana has shown benefits to some people with epilepsy," said Beckley. "Some individuals are just hoping it can help their children's epilepsy."
Beckley says he understands that some may disagree with giving a drug to minors, but he adds to reach pharmaceutical grade most of the THC is removed with only trace amounts remaining.
"We at the Epilepsy Foundation advocate for safe and effective physician directed treatments, but if this particular drug helps then we aren't the ones to stand in the way a parents way to say they can't help their child," said Beckley.
The Illinois House of Representatives stipulated that minors would only be able to use cannabis oil and won't be able to smoke medicinal marijuana.
The bill now heads back to the senate for approval, though they approved an earlier version of the bill in April.