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BK Blog Post
A mother and teacher from Virginia, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (M.S.) five years ago, is clamouring for a change in the state’s cannabis law—as she wants certain people with severe medical conditions to legally use medically prescribed cannabis oils.
According to a CBS 6 report , TamraNetzel, was a teacher for 16 years, living in Alexandria with the hope that she would continue her career despite her diagnosis.
“My legs might go, I can still teach in a wheelchair. I have a cane some days; I have a wheelchair some days. That’s fine!” said Netzel.
However, her doctors told her last March that her prescription medications were causing more damage to her liver and the symptoms of M.S. were becoming more severe. After confiding in a friend, Netzel said she began using cannabis oil—a non-psychoactive medication gotten from a hemp plant called, “CBD dabs”.
“It’s amazing. It worked like nothing else did, but I couldn’t deal with the fact that I would break the law to be able to feel well,” she said.
In 2017, former governor, McAuliffe, signed a new legislation that allows patients with severe forms of epilepsy use cannabis oil to rid symptoms, but advocates note that the law never extended beyond that. SB 726 and HB 251 would permit doctors in Virginia to prescribe cannabis oil to patients as an option for “any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use.”
State Senator, obstetrician and gynaecologist, Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico), said medical researchers are continually searching for newer uses for medical marijuana. She said physicians in Virginia should be the ones to decide the category of people who would or wouldn’t benefit from cannabis oil, not lawmakers.
“In some of these chronic illnesses and cancer treatment, we use poison to help people,” Dunnavant said. “We don’t need to be coming back to the legislature every year for legislators who are not subject matter experts to be reviewing what the latest data is and deciding if there is a medical indication. That’s something that needs to sit with doctors.”
“Cannabis is bad. I believed the myth until it really mattered to me,” she added.
Both the House and Senate have passed cannabis oil legislation through the committee assignments without opposition. Dunnavant said she feels the consensus surrounding cannabis amongst her colleagues have evolved in recent years.
However, critics of cannabis oil argue that intense research over the side effects of long-term use hasn’t been made; therefore, its medical effectiveness is overhyped.
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