Hiding behind "the children" is a tried-and-true move in drug prohibitionists' playbooks. Keep marijuana illegal and restrict access to medical cannabis because, the argument goes, acting otherwise would fill kids' hands with the evil weed.
Which wouldn't always be a bad thing. More and more parents whose children suffer from illnesses medicine can't treat are turning to medical marijuana; some parents of children with untreatable epilepsy are going as far as to become "cannabis refugees" in the name of their kids' health, moving to Colorado from points elsewhere so their kids can access the drug. In New Jersey, marijuana-resistant Gov. Chris Christie made it easier for sick kids to access medical marijuana.
And now modern medicine is getting into the game. Last month, researchers at UCSF began a yearlong study into a marijuana-based drug's ability to halt seizures in children.
Weed may indeed be good at making very sick kids better.
At UCSF, patients ranging from a year old to 18 are receiving a drug in liquid form called Epidiolex. Manufactured by UK-based cannabis drug company GW Pharmaceuticals, the drug is pure cannabidiol, or CBD.
CBD, recall, is the cannabinoid that has little to no psychotropic qualities, as opposed to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). We were long-taught that THC was marijuana's "active ingredient"; while it is THC that gets you high, it turns out that there are many, many more compounds that work upon the body and mind.
With FDA approval, the kids at UCSF and at NYU's medical center will receive the CBD-based drug to relieve seizures for a year. This comes after UCSF gave two child seizure-sufferers the drug last year; it appears to be efficacious enough to keep trying.
Meanwhile, GW Pharmaceuticals, whose stock debuted at under $9 a share last year, was trading at $58.50 early Tuesday ahead of its quarterly earnings statement Wednesday.
Parents whose children suffer from Dravet syndrome or other untreatable forms of childhood epilepsy and weren't lucky enough to be in the study can try to ask their physician to get some Epidiolex straight from GW.