People with uncontrolled epilepsy - neurological disorder - resort to cannabis products when antiepileptic drug side-effects are intolerable, finds a study.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. University of Sydney researchers revealed that 14 percent of people with epilepsy have used cannabis products as a way to manage seizures.
‘Cannabis products are often what people turn to when they have been unable to control their epilepsy with conventional medication.’
The study, published in journal of Epilepsy & Behaviour, showed that of those with a history of cannabis product use, 90 percent of adults and 71 percent of parents of children with epilepsy reported success in managing seizures after commencing using cannabis products.
"This survey provides insight into the use of cannabis products for epilepsy, in particular some of the likely factors influencing use, as well as novel insights into the experiences of and attitudes towards medicinal cannabis in people with epilepsy in the Australian community," said lead author Anastasia Suraev from The Lambert Initiative. They surveyed 976 respondents to examine cannabis use in people with epilepsy, reasons for use and any perceived benefits self-reported by consumers.
The study revealed, 15 percent of adults with epilepsy and 13 percent of parents/guardians of children with epilepsy were currently using, or had previously used, cannabis products to treat epilepsy. Across all respondents, the main reasons for trying cannabis products were to manage treatment-resistant epilepsy and to obtain a more favourable side-effect profile compared to standard antiepileptic drugs.
"Cannabis products are often what people turn to when they have been unable to control their epilepsy with conventional medication," explained co-author Carol Ireland. "This highlights a growing need to educate consumers and health professionals on the use of cannabis by people with epilepsy and to provide safe and timely access to cannabinoid medicine in order to lessen people's reliance on illicit black market products" she added.