Updated on May 26, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Marijuana has two components called cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that produce many of its medical benefits. While THC creates the “high” marijuana causes, CBD doesn’t have that effect. Meanwhile, it still offers many forms of relief. Some states give CBD medicine more leeway than regular medical marijuana because of these properties. Alabama has a few laws that allow patients to use CBD in specific cases.
The state of Alabama first allowed CBD medications in 2014. Carly’s Law gave patients the right to use CBD if they took part in a study by the University of Alabama-Birmingham. This study examined patients with epileptic conditions, so only people with epilepsy could qualify. In 2016, state legislators passed Leni’s Law, which expanded the qualifying conditions and let patients use CBD outside of the study.
In cases where someone doesn’t count under Leni’s Law, Alabama bans all forms of CBD. Federal law allows the use of hemp-derived CBD, but Alabama considers it illegal. You cannot use CBD unless you have a qualifying diagnosis from a doctor.
According to Leni’s Law, patients with the following conditions can use CBD:
Alabama does not require patients to submit a formal application to become eligible for CBD. Instead, a person receives a diagnosis from their doctor, and the physician provides them with CBD. They cannot get CBD medicine from a source other than their doctor, such as an Alabama dispensary. The patient may use their diagnosis as an affirmative defense against any charges for CBD possession and use.
Neither Leni’s Law nor Carly’s Law establishes age or residency limits. People of any age from any state may qualify for CBD if they follow the rest of the laws.
In states without legal medical marijuana, CBD can help patients in need. It relieves a wide range of conditions that don’t always respond to conventional medicine. While it doesn’t provide the same benefits as THC medicine, it still acts as an alternative to prescriptions.
Also, a CBD program could pave the way for a full medical marijuana program. It raises awareness about the nuances of cannabis medicine and reduces the stigma surrounding it.
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