INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Some doctors and storeowners are happy Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb recently signed a bill allowing for the widespread use of cannabis-derived oil after nearly a year of legal confusion.
Commonly known as CBD, cannabidiol comes from marijuana and hemp. Doctors said CBD has therapeutic benefits with little to no THC, the compound causing the high usually associated with marijuana use.
Dr. Gary Gettelfinger said he's thrilled with the new law and has about 400 patients using CBD oil for pain management.
"The fact of the matter is, (CBD) is working, and nothing good ever came without a fight," said Gettelfinger, who practices out of the IU Health Pain Center in Bloomington.
Lawmakers heard about the misconceptions and benefits of CBD from Dr. Matt Andry, of Andry Medical Services. About 200 of his patients have quit or reduced their use of opiates or other painkillers since starting CBD oil, he said.
"I told (lawmakers) CBD is not a slippery slope to marijuana; it's an exit ramp," Andry said.
The owners of recently opened Pure Dream said their hemp-based products store has sold out of most of its items. Many people came into the store seeking more information about CBD, said Tina Aumsbaugh, a co-owner of the store.
"Mainly they've done research, or someone's told them, or they've seen somewhere that CBDs can help, or their doctor may have mentioned it. But they didn't know where or how to get it, or what to look for," Aumsbaugh said.
The legal uncertainty began when state's Attorney General Curtis Hill issued an opinion that purchasing CBD is illegal despite an April law allowing its use for epilepsy treatment. Holcomb issued a 60-day moratorium shortly after Hill's letter in November.
The new law allows for the continued distribution of low THC hemp extract until it takes effect July 1, which is when new labeling requirements will officially be in place.