Carol Ireland
CEO Epilepsy Action Australia

“In my role as CEO of Epilepsy Action Australia I have had significant contact with many individuals and families who are faced with managing very challenging forms of medication resistant epilepsy. In often dire circumstances, and with no other options left in the conventional treatment bucket, some have been willing to try anything to help reduce the severity and frequency of their seizures or those of their child.

The current debates around Cannabis are complex. I have tried to follow the various arguments and positions: from consumers, medical specialists, suppliers and politicians. Personally I am learning all the time.

What I do know is that families are desperate, wanting a safe, effective and legal form of Medicinal Cannabis which at present they are unable to access. Families often having to resort to any means possible to source a ‘non-conventional’ treatment that has given renewed hope to many. It is true that clinical trials and further researched is needed. It is true that the long term effects haven’t been investigated, and we don’t understand all the possible uses of Medicinal Cannabis for epilepsy and other conditions. This all takes time, something many people just do not have to spare.


I have personally heard and seen the changes in people’s lives, reduction in the severity and frequency of seizures, regaining function thought forever lost or children reaching developmental milestones never thought possible. Hope has been restored. A positive ripple reverberates through families and their community as quality of life improves. 

I strongly believe a pragmatic but compassionate approach is needed, and it is needed NOW.