“The end to seizures should not be determined by one’s ZIP code,” the Epilepsy Foundation said in its statement. “Our current situation as an epilepsy community is not acceptable.”
Spurred by the promising results of families in Colorado who are treating epileptic children with cannabis, the Epilepsy Foundation and one of the leading researchers in the field are calling for access to medical marijuana nationwide.
“If a patient and their doctor feel that marijuana is their best treatment option then they need to have safe, legal access to medical marijuana and they need that access now,” the foundation said in a statement released Thursday.
The endorsement of medical marijuana was prompted largely by what has taken place in Colorado Springs in the last year. More than 100 families of children with epilepsy and other similar health problems have moved to Colorado in order to obtain an oil made from a special strain of cannabis. It’s called Charlotte’s Web and is low in THC – the notorious compound that makes users high – but high in a compound called cannabidiol that plays a role in regulating brain signals. Many taking the oil report significant improvements and some have had seizures almost disappear.
Devinsky called for “rigorous scientific studies” to show whether marijuana works and to document its side effects. In the meantime, he said, doctors should not have to wait to be able to recommend marijuana.
“Having the backing of the establishment will help push legislatures to legalize the oil,” said Paige Figi, the mother of a young girl prescribed the medicinal oil, “while at the same time encouraging skeptical neurologists to accept marijuana as a treatment option.”
“We have people here whose old doctors have stopped seeing them because of what they are doing. This is a huge validation for us.”