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About 100 families of children with seizures have come to Colorado to gain access to a marijuana-based oil to treat their children, The New York Times reports. The children are being treated with the largely untested oil, which is considered legal in the state.

The families call themselves “marijuana refugees,” the article notes. They come from a range of religious and political backgrounds, from across the country. They have been drawn to Colorado by a marijuana oil called Charlotte’s Web, made by a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado Springs. In order to obtain the product, they must have certifications from two doctors who practice in the state.

According to Joel Stanley, one of five brothers who run the dispensary, Charlotte’s Web is low in THC, the ingredient in marijuana that produces a high. He says the oil contains a large amount of a cannabidiol, a chemical that does not produce a high, but which medical researchers and marijuana advocates say has medical uses.

A month’s supply of Charlotte’s Web can cost $150 to $200. Some families say they are receiving financial help from a nonprofit group that is related to the dispensary.

There is limited medical research about the effectiveness of cannabidiol in treating seizures. Studies have suggested it can prevent spasms in lab animals. A study conducted by Dr. Margaret Gedde, a Colorado doctor who has recommended medical marijuana to dozens of families with severely epileptic children, found of 11 families who treated their children with high-cannabidiol oil, eight reported that their children’s seizures had been reduced by 98 to 100 percent. The other families said they saw smaller but noticeable decreases in seizures.

The study will be presented next week at a meeting of the American Epilepsy Society.


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