Kentucky Senate Passes Bill Legalizing Marijuana Oil To Treat Childhood Epilepsy

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Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, makes a point during a Medicaid budget conference committee meeting in Frankfort, Ky., Tuesday, March 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kentucky's state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to advance a bill that allowing the use of marijuana oil to treat some cases of childhood epilepsy.

Senate Bill 124, sponsored by state Sen. Julie Denton (R-Louisville), would exempt the marijuana extract cannabidiol from being classified as marijuana when used in Federal Drug Administration-approved studies, allowing children suffering from debilitating seizures to be treated as part of FDA trials. It would also approve use of the oil when recommended by a state research hospital.

"This was one of those tingly moments you get when you pass a bill that you really know is good for the commonwealth," Denton said of the legislation, which passed 38-0. "It is really going to help people's lives."

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana that has been used to treat children with severe forms of epilepsy. Earlier this month, the FDA announced it was granting CBD orphan drug designation, which gives some tax incentives to the manufacturer.

The Kentucky bill now heads to the state's House of Representatives, where Denton believes the bill has a good chance of passing. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) also supports the measure.

Similar bills are currently advancing in Georgia and Utah.

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