Almost two and a half million Americans suffer from epileptic seizures every year—almost half of which do not respond to traditional pharmaceutical therapies. For these individuals, a new kind of treatment has emerged—one that is found to be incredibly effective—medical marijuana.

In fact, certain strains of cannabis works so well, the Epilepsy Foundation has come out to strongly endorse medical marijuana as a treatment option, and has called on the federal government to change how it classifies the plant.

“The Epilepsy Foundation believes that the end of seizures should not be determined by one’s zip code,” CEO Philip Cattone and board chairman Warren Lammert said Thursday in a statement.

The two foundation leaders urged the government to:

  • Reschedule marijuana from its status as a Schedule I drug, the same as heroin, in recognition of properties that help patients of multiple illnesses.
  • Support state laws that allow for the use of marijuana for the relief of pain, laws that now apply in much of the West, including California, the nation’s most populous state.
  • Support medical marijuana as a treatment option.

“This is a very important, difficult and personal decision that should be made by a patient and family working with their health care team,” said Cattone and Lammert.

The strain that aids epileptics is a special variety of marijuana that is low in THC (the psychoactive, intoxicating chemical)  and high in another, non-intoxicating chemical--CBD.

The Huffington Post reported late Thursday that more than 100 families have relocated to Colorado, where marijuana is legal for both medical and adult use.

 “Nothing should stand in the way of patients gaining access to potentially life-saving treatment,” added Cattone and Lammert,  “if a patient and their health care professionals feel that the potential benefits of medical marijuana for uncontrolled epilepsy outweigh the risks.”