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Legislature advances Martinez’s expansion of treatment options (VIDEO)

MartinezCannibus053014State Senator Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago 20th) called the passage of her medical cannabis for epilepsy legislation “a victory for children and their families who had run out of hope.” The measure now only needs the governor’s signature to become law and give families the option of administering CBD, a non-hallucinogenic cannabis derivative, to children afflicted with epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

“My colleagues and I have been deeply moved by the plight of these children and their parents, who courageously and tenaciously pursue any option that could bring relief and better health to their kids,” Martinez said. “This legislation will allow these families to stay in Illinois while utilizing a treatment that has helped many suffering from epilepsy and results in few side effects compared to many FDA-approved drugs.”

Martinez’s legislation adds seizure disorders to the list of conditions for which individuals may legally possess small amounts of cannabis — in this case an orally administered oil derived from the marijuana plant and containing CBD — with a doctor’s prescription. Colorado and New Jersey both allow minors with epilepsy to take CBD, which is distinct from THC, the substance in marijuana that produces the “high” sought by recreational users. The House amended Senate Bill 2636 to create a process for patients younger than 18 with other kinds of debilitating conditions, such as cancer, to also petition the Department of Public Health to be able to use medical cannabis to obtain relief from symptoms. The Senate approved that amendment today.

Some seizure disorders affecting minors can cause a child to have a seizure as often as every 15 to 30 seconds. Children suffering from this type of epilepsy experience severe developmental delays and disabilities as a result of the nearly continuous seizure activity. CBD works by relaxing the nervous system and can significantly reduce the frequency of seizures in these patients — even stopping them completely in some cases.

“I’m pleased that legislators on both sides of the aisle came together to pass legislation that means everything to these families,” Martinez said. “There is no better reward for public service than having the opportunity to ease the suffering of a child.”

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