As medical marijuana legislation has evolved across the United States, in Iowa we have also seen a change in how we regulate and recommend CBD oil. In 2014, Iowa passed its first piece of legislation allowing the use of CBD oil; allowing the oil when recommended by a neurologist and only for patients suffering from epilepsy. CBD oil was allowed to limited to 3% THC and patients would be issued a state ID card. But with limitations imposed by separate state and federal laws hampering the ability to manufacture, distribute, or transport the oil; Iowans were never able to take advantage of this law as it was written.
In 2017 – as the 2014 law was scheduled to sunset – the Iowa Legislature enacted the Medical Cannibidiol Act. This compromise between the Iowa Senate and House maintained the 3% THC limit for CBD oil, but expanded participation eligibilities and added a manufacturing and distribution framework. Under this new law, any licensed physician could recommend CBD oil to patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizures, AIDS and HIV, Crohn’s Disease, ALS, some terminal illnesses, and untreatable pain. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) was mandated to establish a registry that would track the oil from manufacture to distribution; with this process starting at two IDPH-selected manufacturers and ending at any of five IDPH-selected distributors across the state.
Including Iowa, well over half of American states now allow some form of medical marijuana, with a number of those also legalizing recreational use. Despite these changing laws, there is still hesitancy among many in the medical community to get behind this movement. Without proper studies and testing, a lot of questions remain surrounding the costs v. benefits, the interactions with other drugs, and the proper regulation of medical marijuana. As the marijuana lobby continues to tout the success of marijuana in some medical cases, the underlying question still remains: Do we regulate medication through elected officials or through proven scientific study and research?