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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Epilepsy Foundation Supports Research, Safe Access to Medical Marijuana

By Chelsea Shaker

     The CEO and Board of Directors of The Epilepsy Foundation (E.F.) have come together to publically promote the use of medical marijuana as an alternative option to traditional medications used to treat epilepsy in adults and minors. The foundation urges the federal government to change current laws concerning cannabis.
     In a joint statement issued by CEO Philip Gattone, and Chair of the Board of Directors Warren Lammert, they state, “The Epilepsy Foundation supports the right of patients and families living with seizures and epilepsy to access physician directed care, including medical marijuana. If a patient and their healthcare professionals feel that the potential benefits of medical marijuana for uncontrolled epilepsy outweigh the risks, the families need to have that legal option NOW – not in five or ten years.” 
Powerful words from the top of The Epilepsy Foundation are indeed needed in the discussions involving medical marijuana. Safe access to the beneficial cannabis strains for all patients is crucial. With so many court cases involving medical marijuana making headlines in newspapers across the country the legality of being a medical marijuana patient can sometimes put patients at risk. 
     Even in our home state of Michigan, the very public “Free Bree” campaign, involving the local Green family 
appeared in headlines when their baby daughter was 
removed from their home in a case involving medical marijuana. 
     Steve Green, father of baby Bree says, “I’m pleased to hear the stance of the gentlemen at The Epilepsy Foundation. It means it’s being considered the serious issue it is for epilepsy patients. The Epilepsy Foundation realizes it needs to be addressed. I’m pleased.”
     Countless numbers of success stories with medical marijuana lends credence to the idea there may be more to discuss on the topic. Success seems to be especially evident in those suffering from Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, where medical marijuana patients are seeing some astonishing results.  
     The Epilepsy Foundation is making specific requests of the U.S. government. They’re requesting the rescheduling of marijuana from the current Schedule I drug (the same as heroin), to a more sensible classification in order for further medical studies to be done on benefits for epileptic patients. They’re also asking our nation’s leaders and government to support state laws that allow for the use of medical marijuana and support it as a legitimate treatment option for those who are living with seizures. 
     When CNN’s Sanjay Gupta witnessed the benefits of a particular strain of cannabis called “Charlotte’s Web” in 2013 he promptly went public to claim the benefits of medical marijuana. As more and more medical organizations, physicians, and families are opening their eyes to the brilliant potential cannabis offers, understanding blooms. 
     Steve Green, who’s familiar with “Charlotte’s Web” and other high CBD strains agrees, “CBD strains can be very useful in treating epilepsy and a variety of other ailments. That’s one of the things that makes Michigan stand out as a leader, the variety of high CBD strains caregivers and patients have access to.” With a smile he adds, “I was using CBD before it was cool and on T.V.”
     Luckily, even the Obama administration has weighed in on the subject, releasing three separate statements seemingly in favor of moving medical marijuana forward. One, by offering little or no interference from the federal government with individual states that have chosen to have medical and/or recreational marijuana programs. A second move was when Obama signed an important farm bill that includes amendments to cultivate industrial hemp for research and development purposes. The President has also issued a bill allowing for federal banking involvement with medical and recreational marijuana businesses. 
     With nearly 2.3 million people suffering from various forms of epilepsy in the U.S. and over 65 million suffering around the world, this breakthrough in exposure to the benefits of medical marijuana is much needed to enable the continued support with research and clinical trials of cannabis components. With enough medical organizations prompting the federal government to increase access to medical marijuana, we’re likely to see a landslide effect in new support in the near future.


  1. The solidarity shown by the people at the E.F. is a very welcome announcement. With the legalization of medicinal cannabis use in Colorado, the rest of the U.S., even the rest of the civilized world, has been prompted to review the hard facts and the benefits of legal accommodation. I hope that there comes a time in which change happens in the federal level, for advanced and in-depth research on the health benefits of cannabis to proceed and be known to all concerned parties.

    Vincent @ Canned MedBox

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