Lawmaker: Cannabidiol offers desperate parents option for sick kids

By Christina Ramey

INDIANAPOLIS – Lawmakers want to provide new hope for children with epileptic seizures by creating easier to access Cannabidiol.

Under current law possessing Cannabidiol, also called CBD oil, is illegal. Rep. William Friend, R-Macy, said with his bill parents of a child with epileptic seizures and doctors would be immune from prosecution or arrest if the oil is being used for treatment. The legislation is designed for desperate parents as CBD oil is usually a last resort.

Rep. William Friend, R-Macy, standing before the Judiciary committee and explaining how his bill about Cannabidiol (CBD) would be helpful for children who have epileptic seizures. Photo by Christina Ramey,

“What we were looking for here was a solution for a very difficult problem that parents who have a young child with epileptic seizures,” Friend said. “They just have a difficult time and they’ve often times gone through the entire gamut of treatments with barbiturates and sedatives and other medications that simply did not solve the problem.”

Brandi Barrett, whose son who suffers from Dravet syndrome, said CBD oil helps her son more than traditional pharmaceutical medications.

“We’ve been through the gamut of medicines with Noah,” Barrett said. “There are certain medicines for Dravet syndrome that actually can make Dravet syndrome worse and bring out other complications, so they are very limited on what kind of anti-convulsive can be used.”

Barrett’s son has been put on different medications, but each one still had side effects. He’s also undergone blood work to make sure his liver and kidneys are functioning normally, because some types of medicine that is used to treat epileptic seizures can be harmful to the liver and kidneys.

When Barrett and her husband had exhausted medical options, they started looking other places for help. That’s when she discovered CBD oil.

From different reports and research Barrett was able to find out that CBD oil has been very successful in treating intractable epilepsy, and she has seen these changes in her son.

“The past three years we have seen an 80 percent reduction of seizures. We have seen fine motor skills progress through the roof compared prior to starting that. We have not had to increase pharmaceutical medication, in fact we’ve been able to lower them,” Barrett said. “He’s no longer in a fog. He now understands and comprehends so much more. His teachers are in awe of what he is doing in school and how greatly he is progressing.”

Brandi Barrett testifing for the CBD bill and sharing her story about how CBD oil has helped her son. Photo by Lucas Lloyd,

House Bill 1148 passed through the Judiciary committee unanimously Wednesday and is now head to the full House for consideration.

“It’s hard to find opponents to trying to heal children, that’s just not going to happen. People are very sensitive to kids who are sick,” Friend said.

Friend said, if anyone is concerned with the legislation, he thinks it would only be if they feared it would create a defense to the legalization of marijuana.

Christina Ramey is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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