cbd oil vial and dropper for medical cannabis

While not everyone with epilepsy should or would consider medical cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment option, some people living with uncontrolled seizures have reported beneficial effects and reduced seizure activity when using medical cannabis, especially strains rich in CBD. Further research is needed on the effects of medical cannabis on epilepsy, but when recommended by a treating physician, medical cannabis may be the best alternative for some individuals living with drug-resistant epilepsy and uncontrolled seizures.

Access to medical cannabis will support increased research efforts and allow individuals who have failed to gain seizure control an option for treatment.

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Position

The Epilepsy Foundation is committed to supporting physician-directed care, and to exploring and advocating for all potential treatment options for epilepsy, including cannabidiol (CBD) oil and medical cannabis. We support safe, legal access to medical cannabis and CBD if a patient and their health care team feel that the potential benefits of medical cannabis or CBD for uncontrolled epilepsy outweigh the risks. To this end, the Foundation supports the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act (H.R. 2093/S. 1028 in the last Congress).

We also support breaking down barriers to research to better understand the potential therapeutic benefits and harms of cannabis as would be accomplished through the Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act (H.R. 4322/S. 2400 in the last Congress). The Epilepsy Foundation does not have a policy position on adult use recreational cannabis programs – however, under these laws, individuals and their physicians are able to work together to access cannabis to control seizures when medically appropriate.

Status

As of November 2020, 48 states and the District of Columbia have legalized either the recreational or medical use of cannabis on the local level. Under federal law, cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled substance, and illegal to use, buy, sell, or possess. The restrictive Schedule I status also creates a significant barrier to conducting medical research on the benefits or harms of cannabis as a treatment option for epilepsy and seizures as well as other complex, chronic conditions.

During the November 2020 elections, Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Montana residents approved ballot measures to allow for the adult recreational use of cannabis. Mississippi and South Dakota residents approved ballot measures to allow for the medical use of cannabis as well. The Arizona law will take effect on November 30, 2020 when election results are certified, and public sale of cannabis could begin as soon as March 2021. New Jersey’s constitutional amendment takes effect January 1, 2021 and will issue regulations and licenses for cannabis businesses in the coming months.

Adult recreational use and medical use of cannabis laws will take effect on July 1, 2021 in South Dakota. The Montana approved ballot measure will take effect on January 1, 2021, making possession of cannabis legal – however, dispensaries are not expected to open until January 2022. Regulators in Mississippi must create rules for the medical cannabis program by July 1, 2021, and the state must begin issuing licenses to individuals and businesses by August 15, 2021. The Epilepsy Foundation will continue to monitor the implementation of these ballot measures to ensure safe, legal, and timely access to medical cannabis for individuals and their providers who believe any benefits of medical cannabis outweigh the risks.

United States map of cannabis laws
 

 

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Authored Date: 
01/2021
Reviewed By: 
Epilepsy Foundation Advocacy
on: 
Wednesday, April 14, 2021