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A limited form of medical marijuana is now all but legal in Georgia.

Geogia Gov. Nathan Deal

Geogia Gov. Nathan Deal

The state legislature approved a bill in March that would allow patients with certain severe conditions to use a non-intoxicating form of cannabis known as CBD oil. This oil mostly benefits children with seizure disorders but can also be used to treat cancer and Crohn’s disease, among other health problems.

On March 27, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, issued an executive order instructing state employees to start preparing for the arrival of CBD marijuana.

The bill passed in the state Senate earlier this year; in late March it cleared a 160-1 vote in Georgia’s General Assembly. Deal has said in the past that he backs medical cannabis in his state.

Preparations for enactment of the law

Deal’s executive order directed the Georgia Composite Medical Board and the Department of Public Health, along with other agencies that would oversee medical marijuana, to make “appropriate preparations” for enactment of the law.

“This executive order is the first step in bringing home families who’ve sought relief elsewhere and for providing new medical solutions for Georgians suffering from debilitating conditions,” Deal said in a press release. “I’ve instructed the Georgia Composite Medical Board and the Department of Public Health to begin taking immediate steps ahead of this law’s enactment. At the same time, law enforcement, health care providers and other stakeholders should make appropriate preparations.”

CBD oil contains large amounts of CBD, one of the primary cannabinoid chemicals in marijuana. Like other cannabinoids, CBD acts on the brain’s cannabinoid receptor cells, triggering certain effects.

CBD inhibits over-active brain chemistry

Georgia Marijuana MapIn the case of CBD, those effects can inhibit the over-active brain chemistry thought to trigger seizures. What’s more, CBD marijuana strains are typically very low in THC, the chemical that gets users high. This means these strains are ideal for treating epilepsy in children.

Indeed, the drug’s potential has spurred an increasingly powerful grassroots movement to make CBD available to suffering children. Parents of children with epilepsy have pushed, often successfully, for CBD laws in states that don’t already allow full medical marijuana.

A groundbreaking news report by Sanjay Gupta in 2013 documented the typically very successful treatment of seizure disorders with CBD. Gupta even publicly reversed his opposition to medical marijuana, saying the promise of CBD oil alone is proof of the medical benefits of cannabis.

The Georgia legislation was named “Haleigh’s Law” after Haleigh Cox, the 4-year-old daughter of Janea Cox. The Cox family was forced to move to Colorado because they couldn’t access CBD legally in Georgia. The new law means the Coxes, and others like them, can safely return home.

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About the Author: Matt Brooks

Matt is a journalist from San Francisco who has specialized in marijuana policy for more than six years.

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