UAB to begin trial using oil derived from marijuana plant


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)- The path has been cleared for the University of Alabama at Birmingham to begin two trials using cannabidiol oil (CBD oil) on patients with epilepsy. “Carly’s Law,” named for the daughter of CBD oil proponent Dustin Chandler, initially allowed for UAB to seek permission from the FDA and DEA to conduct the study. It took more than a year, with the last piece of procedure being the admission of Schedule I licenses to two researchers at the university.

The licenses are required because the oil is derived from marijuana.

To get the ball rolling, Chandler called several lawmakers, on both the Congressional and state levels, that had expressed support for Carly’s Law. “Things happened the next day,” said Chandler, specifically crediting Congresswoman Terri Sewell. “So, I don’t think that’s a coincidence those conversations took place and then the next morning, at 9:30 A.M., UAB had their paperwork.”

Dr. David Standaert from the UAB Department of Neurology spoke to media members early Tuesday afternoon to explain the trial and what they hope to glean from the studies. “We will be looking very carefully at whether this is safe, are there side effects that are observed, are there changes in blood tests or blood chemistry that is observed,” said Dr. Standaert. “That’d be a signal that something is a side effect. We will be looking at whether it works of course.”

One of the trials will include fifty children suffering from epilepsy, the other will have fifty adults. The vendor supplying the CBD oil for the study has agreed to provide the dosages for the first one hundred patients free of charge. “It may be that we have more demand than that,” said Dr. Standaert. “I won’t be surprised if we have more demand than that. If we arrive at that point we’ll have to talk to our vendor and possibly other vendors at that point to see about expanding the supply.”

Already the study has seen more than four hundred patients or families express interest in being part of the study. Twenty applications had already been completed as of 1:00 P.M. Tuesday. One of them belongs to the family of Christian Graham, a three-year old suffering from a rare disease that has only 26 reported cases in the country according to her mother. “I cried,” said her mother, Michelle Graham. “I bawled my eyes out. I was just happy that my child has a chance at a future.”

Dr. Standaert said the first dosages could be administered in as little as two weeks. There is no timetable for the length of the study, as each patient’s reaction will differ. Chandler also cautioned this isn’t likely to work for everyone. “It may not work for Carly,” he said. “It may not work for my daughter but it might work for somebody and that’s what it’s all about.”

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