"Charlotte's Web," Derived From Hemp, Has Been Legal Since 2003
Moriah Barnhardt has a three-year-old daughter, Dahlia, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor last May. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a soon-to-be-legal brand of low-THC pot called Charlotte's Web might help her condition. If not, legalizing medical marijuana as a whole would give her a plethora of treatment options by allowing her to tweak the formula she administers to her kid.
via Wikimedia Commons
But this Tampa mom doesn't need to wait for 2015, or for Florida voters to make up their minds. She's one of the many parents who are already purchasing hemp oil online and making Rick Scott's decree obsolete before it even happens.
Starting at the beginning of next year, something that's often called "Charlotte's Web" will be grown in Florida. This medical marijuana, which is named after a product developed by the Stanley brothers in Colorado, will be a low THC and high Cannabidiol compound that doesn't get people stoned. It will be made into oil that can be dropped into children's food to alleviate their intractable epilepsy or help with their chronic pain.
But a website called RealScientificHempOil.com sells a hemp-derived product for $550 a tube that mirrors the profile of what people are calling Charlotte's Web. It has 18 percent Cannabidiol and less than 1 percent of the THC that gets you stoned. It's also been totally legal in all 50 states since a 2003 circuit court ruling. That said, RSHO's product basically means that the medical marijuana reform law Governor Rick Scott signed last month is practically meaningless.
Counter to the popular narrative, Barnhardt says the Compassionate Care Act is creating a mental monopoly in which people think "Charlotte's Web" is their only option. She wants people to realize that it's the same thing as thinking only Kleenex sells tissues.
She encourages people to try Charlotte's Web's already-legal competitor rather than sign up for a waiting list.
"It's hemp -- not a special version of hemp," this mom says of the oil she gets for RSHO. "If you need hemp, and you believe its going to help your child, get it imported and decide for yourself."
The day she took her first dose, Dahlia Barnhardt had her first full night sleep since she was diagnosed. The next day, she was both hungry and thirsty, even though doctors had been threatening to put her on a feeding tube. Though she usually vomited every hour, Dahlia kept down her food and water. After four days of using the hemp product, momma Barnhardt says she knew it wasn't a fluke.
"Nobody needs to be on a waiting list for [Cannabidiol]," says Andrew Hard of Real Scientific Hemp Oil. "I don't know how the Stanley Brothers created this huge cloud of confusion, but they have a crazy PR machine."
Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.
Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti