4 children treated with marijuana extract oil

Posted at 2:40 PM, Jan 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-18 16:40:07-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Idaho health officials say four children are receiving treatment for severe forms of epilepsy with an experimental non-psychoactive drug derived from marijuana plants.

Elke Shaw-Tulloch with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare told state budget writers on Monday that Idaho has filled four of its 25 slots awarded in the newly created Expanded Access Program. The program was established by Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter last year through executive order. It treats children suffering from severe epileptic seizures with the new drug -- also known as Epidiolex.

Shaw-Tulloch says another 18 children are scheduled to be screened for the program.

Lawmakers approved legalizing oil derived from marijuana plants last year. Supporters of the bill argued the extract oil can reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in children with epilepsy.

However, Otter vetoed the legislation after citing concerns that there wasn't enough evidence supporting the claims. Instead, the Republican governor signed an executive order establishing the new program that restricted the use of the oil.