U of L researcher preparing to treat patients with cannabis oil - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L researcher preparing to treat patients with cannabis oil

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Doctors at the University of Louisville and The University of Kentucky can now begin using an oil derived from marijuana and hemp to treat patients suffering from seizures.

Gov. Steve Beshear signed the bill into law on Thursday.

Dr. Chris Shafer, the head of the epilepsy unit at U of L, says he's anxious to see proof that the miracle stories he's heard about cannabis oil can be true.

"CBD Oil looks promising. We don't have any real good research studies but anecdotally, there are patients out there that it has been at least for some, a miracle for them," said Shafer.

It was those miracle stories told by parents such as Rita Wooton, whose son suffers from severe seizures, that persuaded lawmakers to pass, and the governor to sign, the cannabis oil bill.

"I never thought that this would ever be feasible for any of us; people, parents, moms, dads, adults across this state. But now it is, and we're just really, really excited," Wooton told WDRB in March.

But now the focus shifts from the legislature to the laboratory, where researchers such as Dr. Shafer will try to verify the effects of cannabis oil on patients.

"We may find that it is an extremely powerful option or it may just be another tool in our arsenal of choices for treating epilepsy, but I think anything out there that is possibly going to help patients, I'm all for it," he said.

Shafer says there are still a number of steps to be taken, including finding a supplier. He says the Charlotte's Web project in Colorado may be one option.

Shafer's team has begun to raise funds and write rules for conducting clinical trials.

"We definitely want to see this happen as possible. I can't give you a time on that. It is not going to be immediate, but as soon as possible," said Shafer.

Shafer says he will have no trouble finding patients.

"Every patient I think might be a good candidate, I'm keeping their names handy. We'll call them up directly. I don't think we'll have any trouble recruiting patients for it," he said.

Shafer stresses that cannabis oil is not a narcotic. After signing the bill, Gov. Beshear said he's convinced it will not create complications for law enforcement.

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