Fewer specialists support using medical marijuana and CBD in treating epilepsy patients compared with other medical professionals and patients: Result ofEpilepsia's survey

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Abstract

Objective:

From May 20 to September 1 2014, Epilepsia conducted an online survey seeking opinions about the use of medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) for people with epilepsy. This study reports the findings of that poll.

Methods:

The survey consisted of eight questions. Four questions asked if there were sufficient safety and efficacy data, whether responders would advise trying medical marijuana in cases of severe refractory epilepsy, and if pharmacologic grade compounds containing CBD should be available. Four questions addressed occupation, geographic region of residence, if responders had read the paper, and if they were International League Against Epilepsy/International Bureau for Epilepsy (ILAE/IBE) members.

Results:

Of 776 who started or completed the survey, 58% were patients from North America, and 22% were epileptologists and general neurologists from Europe and North America. A minority of epileptologists and general neurologists said that there were sufficient safety (34%) and efficacy (28%) data, and 48% would advise using medical marijuana in severe cases of epilepsy. By comparison, nearly all patients and the public said there were sufficient safety (96%) and efficacy (95%) data, and 98% would recommend medical marijuana in cases of severe epilepsy. General physicians, basic researchers, nurses, and allied health professions sided more with patients, saying that there were sufficient safety (70%) and efficacy (71%) data, and 83% would advise using marijuana in severe cases. A majority (78%) said there should be pharmacologic grade compounds containing CBD, and there were no differences between specialists, general medical personal, and patients and the public.

Significance:

This survey indicates that there is a wide disparity in opinion on the use of medical marijuana and CBD in the treatment of people with epilepsy, which varied substantially, with fewer medical specialists supporting its use compared with general medical personal, and patients and the public.

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