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"The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to stop seizures and SUDEP, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies."


Proposed Amendment to the Illinois Medical Marijuana Law to Include Treatment for Epilepsy

On Tuesday, March 25th in Springfield, IL, the Illinois Senate Public Health Committee will be holding a hearing on a proposed amendment to the Illinois medical marijuana law. This amendment would include epilepsy as one of the conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed, and that pediatric intractable cases of epilepsy be permitted to use cannabis oil in the treatment of childhood seizures.  We are asking families and medical professionals to support the amendment by sending in letters of support. 

Click on the links below for letter templates that may be customized.

Illinois has a law that lists 35 conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed.  Unlike 18 of the other 20 states that permit the use of medical marijuana, epilepsy is not included in the conditions for which marijuana may be prescribed under Illinois law.  The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago supports further research into the effect of marijuana on epilepsy as well as all the other conditions enumerated in the Illinois law. Given that Illinois has a medical marijuana law and given the in vitro and in vivo evidence of the impact that cannabidiol (“CBD”) can have on seizures as well as the anecdotal human evidence, the Foundation believes that it is appropriate to allow patients, parents and physicians the ability to determine collectively if the compassionate use of medical marijuana is reasonable in each individual epilepsy case, including intractable pediatric cases.  This position is consistent with that taken by the National Epilepsy Foundation and members of their Professional Advisory Board, including Nathan Fountain and Orrin Devinsky.

It is important to note that for epilepsy, the useful form of marijuana is an oil; it is not smoked.  Furthermore, it is high in CBD and low in THC, the hallucinogenic component of marijuana.  Accordingly, there is no alternative recreational use for this form of marijuana; it is formulated to treat seizures.  

Over 130,000 people in the Chicagoland area live with epilepsy, a neurological condition that includes recurring seizures.  More than 40,000 of these people live with uncontrolled seizures.  People living with uncontrolled seizures live with the continual risk of serious injury and loss of life. The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago believes that Illinois residents suffering from seizures should be afforded the same benefits available to those suffering from any of the 35 conditions included in the Illinois medical marijuana law. Illinois families shouldn’t have to split up and move out of state in order to gain access to a viable treatment for intractable seizures.

Marijuana Law Amendment Letter for Doctors

Marijuana Law Amendment Letter for Parents

You can also show your support for this amendment, SB2636, online at the Illinois government’s websiteClick here to fill out the hearing’s Witness Slip. Be sure to check “Proponent” in the Position section and “Record of Appearance Only” in the Testimony section.

Thanks for your support!

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