Parents want epilepsy added to list for medical marijuana

Parents want epilepsy added to list for medical marijuana

SPRINGFIELD — Parents of children with seizure disorders will be among those testifying before state lawmakers Tuesday, seeking to add epilepsy to the list of allowable compassionate uses under the state's new medical marijuana law.

The law currently lists 35 debilitating medical conditions for which marijuana can be obtained and used as a treatment — among them cancer, Chron's disease, glaucoma and severe fibromyalgia.

About 2.2 million people in the U.S. have epilepsy, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago contends it is appropriate to allow patients, parents and doctors the ability to determine if marijuana is an appropriate treatment in each individual epilepsy case — given evidence of the impact that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in marijuana, can have on seizures.

"Right now, there is anecdotal evidence that the cannabidiol has helped people reduce seizures," said the organization's director of communications, Morgan Murphy.

The hearing before the Senate Public Health Committee on SB 2636 is set for 1 p.m. Tuesday in Room 409 of the Illinois State Capitol.

The proposed amendment would allow access to medical marijuana to both adults and minors suffering from seizure disorders.

"Medical marijuana has been found to produce significant benefits for patients suffering from frequent and severe seizures," Chris Lindsey, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, said. "These patients deserve the same right to relief as those suffering from other conditions that qualify under Illinois' medial marijuana law."

The rules

Under the state's proposed rules for medical marijuana:

Patients would be limited to 2.5 ounces during a 14-day period.

Smoking would be limited to places where the smoking of traditional tobacco is allowed.

Prescription cards would not be issued to patients under age 18.

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