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Idaho Begins CBD Trial Program for Children With Epilepsy

Four Idaho children who suffer from severe epilepsy are being treated with a high-CBD extract called Epidiolex, according to state health officials.

Epidiolex, a purified CBD-extract, is being tested in clinical trials by the pharmaceutical company GWPharma. The four children taking the drug are participants in Idaho’s new Expanded Access Program, established by Republican Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter last year to give children suffering from severe seizures access to the drug.

The results of the Epidiolex trials, which are being conducted on both adults and children, won’t be released anytime soon. State epidemiologist Christine Hahn said it is as yet unclear whether the drug is working as intended.

“This particular one is too early to say. There have been … anecdotal reports out of Colorado and other places where they have an artisanal product and they are claiming success. I guess I would say I am guardedly optimistic.”

Idaho lawmakers had approved fully legalizing cannabis oil extracts for medical use last year, but Governor Otter vetoed the bill, citing a lack of evidence. Instead, he signed an executive order creating the epilepsy treatment program, which is limited to 25 children.

Boise resident Clare Carey, whose daughter suffers from Dravet syndrome, said the program is a waste of funds, as similar trials have already been completed in Illinois and New York.

Soon, she said, “Anyone will be able to access [the drug], not just 25 people in the program.”


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