Medical Marijuana & Epilepsy
The Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania is first and foremost a patient advocacy organization here to provide information to the public and work towards a future in which all seizures are controlled. As such, the EFEPA will answer the call of its constituents and defend the rights of patients and families to secure full access to physician directed treatment options, including medical marijuana. The EFEPA is proud to join the national Epilepsy Foundation by urging physicians, legislators and the general public to consider the potentially life changing effect new and alternative treatments can offer. 30% of individuals with epilepsy live with uncontrolled seizures and annually approximately 1 out of 1,000 people with epilepsy will die from Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP.) Medical marijuana has the potential to save their lives. As such the Foundation believes that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) should end restrictions that limit clinical trials and research into medical marijuana for epilepsy.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania will be doing the following to support improved access and research into medical marijuana:
- Calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration to implement a lesser schedule for marijuana so that it can be more easily accessible for medical research.
- Supporting appropriate changes to Pennsylvania state laws to increase access to medical marijuana as a treatment option for epilepsy, including pediatric use as supported by a treating physician.
- Supporting the inclusion of epilepsy as a condition that uses medical marijuana as a treatment option where it is currently available.
- Supporting research on multiple forms of cannabis and seizures.
Read below for more information on Legislation, Medical Marijuana in the News and Research.
Advocacy and Legislation
Federal Medical Cannabis Legislation
Representative Scott Perry has introduced the Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014 (H.R. 5226) to remove therapeutic hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. This would expand the availability of this treatment option, by allowing cannabis with less than .3% THC to be grown as therapeutic hemp and make extracting cannabidiol (CBD) oil legal at the federal level.
There is no “one size fits all” treatment for epilepsy, and about a third of people living with epilepsy suffer from uncontrolled or intractable seizures, with many more living with significant side-effects, despite available treatments. Uncontrolled seizures can lead to disability, injury, and even death. This is why people living with uncontrolled seizures turn to medical cannabis when all other options have failed.
Medical use of cannabis has been legalized in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and people living with uncontrolled seizures have reported beneficial effects and reduced seizure activity when using medical cannabis, especially CBD oil.
But people living with uncontrolled seizures and in states where medical cannabis is not legal, don’t have access to this promoting treatment options. Some families split up, and one parent moves to a state where medical cannabis is legal to gain access to CBD for their child. But this is not an option for most people living with epilepsy.
Nothing should stand in the way of patients gaining access to this potentially lifesaving treatment when all other options have failed.
Please urge your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 5226. Click Here to contact your Representative today.
Medical Marijuana Research
The House of Representatives is considering legislation, introduced by Rep. Blumenauer, which would reschedule marijuana to Schedule III or lower. H.R. 689 would also protect states that have legalized medical cannabis.
There is no “one size fits all” treatment option for epilepsy, and about a third of people living with epilepsy suffer from uncontrolled or intractable seizures, despite available treatments. This can lead to disability, injury, and even death. Medical use of marijuana has been legalized in 22 states and the District of Columbia, and people living with uncontrolled seizures have reported beneficial effects and reduced seizure activity when using medical marijuana, especially cannabidiol (CBD) oil. This is why people living with uncontrolled seizures turn to medical marijuana when all other options have failed.
If you support reducing the schedule medical marijuana so that more research into this potentially life changing medication can be explored, contact your representative today.
In the News
November 24, 2014: New Study on Cannabidoil shows 50% Seizure Reduction
July 7, 2014: “New York Becomes 23rd State to Allow Medical Marijuana”
June 29, 2014: “Medical Marijuana Bill out of PA. Senate Committee ”
March 10, 2014: “Medical Marijuana Refugees: “This Was Our Only Hope”‘
February 21, 2014:” Medical Marijuana: The Last Hope for Sick Children”
November 18, 2013: “Epilepsy Patients Flock to Colorado..”
August 7, 2013: “Marijuana Stops Child’s Severe Seizures”
Interested in learning more about Charlotte’s Web? Watch this brief video below:
- Mathern, G, et al. From the Editors: Cannabidiol and medical marijuana for the treatment of epilepsy. Epilepsia (2014).
- Maa, E. & Figi, P. The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy. Epilepsia (2014).
- Devinsky, O., et al. Cannabidiol: Pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Epilepsia (2014).
- Institute of Medicine. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press (1999).
- Collins, Th. Special Report: What Neurologists are Doing about Medical Marijuana. Neurology Today, 14(8): 1,28-33 (2014).
- Samson, K. AAN Systematic Review: How Effective and Safe Is Medical Marijuana for Different Neurologic Disorders?. Neurology Today,14(9): 1, 12-13 (2014).
- Jacobson, K. & Porter, B. Report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy. Epilepsy and Behavior. 29(3): 574-577 (2013).
The EFEPA will continue to update this platform with more information, news and research regarding medical marijuana.