Becoming a patient in Alabama

Summary

To become a patient eligible for CBD oil therapy under SB 174, the patient must receive a diagnosis for a debilitating epileptic condition, which is defined as "Epilepsy or other neurological disorder, or the treatment of epilepsy or other neurological disorder that, as diagnosed by a board-certified neurologist under the employment or authority of the UAB Department, produces serious, debilitating, or life-threatening seizures." In 2016, HB 61 was passed, which expanded the affirmative defense to several conditions and removed the requirement that patients must be enrolled in the UAB study program.

What's Legal

The current Alabama law only authorizes an affirmative defense for the possession and use of CBD oil in limited circumstances. There is no legal access to cannabis in dried flower form, nor is there access to cannabis based products that contain more than 3% THC.

Eligible conditions

  1. Cachexia or wasting syndrome.
  2. Severe or chronic pain.
  3. Severe nausea.
  4. Seizures.
  5. Severe and persistent muscle spasms.
  6. Any other condition that is severe and resistant to conventional medicine.

Application process

There is no formal application process to become a patient. The only way to gain legal access through SB 174 is by obtaining a "prescription" from a board-certified neurologist under the employment or authority of the UAB Department. However, HB 61 extended affirmative defense protections to patients regardless of their participations in the UAB program as long as they are in a bona fide relationship with their doctor and have one of the eligible conditions.

Doctor

Only board-certified neurologists under the employment or authority of the UAB Department may "prescribe" CBD oil under SB 174; however, physicians may not write prescriptions for CBD under federal law, therefore it remains unlikely that patients can get access to CBD oil in Alabama unless a enrolled in an FBA-approved Phase II or Phase III clinical trial.

To establish an affirmative defense, the patient must be in a bona fide relationship with their physicians. A "bona fide relationship" is defined as "A relationship in which a physician has ongoing responsibility for the assessment, care, and treatment of a patient's medical condition."

Access/Caregivers

The affirmative defense for patients is also offered to the parent or legal guardian of a minor patient.

Consumption

There are no restrictions on consumption of CBD oil.

Age Limits

There are no age restrictions.

Confidentiality

The are no explicit privacy protections, but HIPPA protections offered to all medical patients also apply to medical cannabis therapy under SB 174.

Housing

There are no housing protections provided by SB 174.

Employment

There are no employment protections under

Insurance

The law is silent on whether insurance can cover CBD oil.

Out of State patients

The law only recognizing patients who have been prescribed CBD oil from board-certified neurologist under the employment or authority of the UAB Department. However, the law does not specify that the patient must be a resident of Alabama.

For More information

University of Alabama-Birmingham Department of Neurology

Quick Links

University of Alabama-Birmingham Department of Neurology