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Survey: Physicians Endorse Cannabis Therapy For Epilepsy

Thursday, 04 December 2014

Survey: Physicians Endorse Cannabis Therapy For Epilepsy

Los Angeles, CA: Most general physicians and nurses, but not a majority of epileptologists and general neurologists, support the option of cannabis therapy for patients with severe refractory epilepsy, according to survey data published in the journal Epilepsia.

Investigators from the University of California, Los Angeles reviewed survey responses from 776 participants from North America and Europe in regard to the use of medical marijuana and/or cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychotropic plant cannabinoid, for people with epilepsy. Authors reported that slightly fewer than half (48 percent) of epilepsy specialists and general neurologists would advise in favor of using medical marijuana in severe cases of epilepsy. By comparison, most (83 percent) general physicians, basic researchers, nurses, and allied health professions said that they would recommend cannabis therapy, with more than seven out of ten respondents acknowledging that the plant possesses sufficient safety and efficacy.

A majority (78%) of all respondents said there should be pharmacologic grade compounds containing CBD available as a epilepsy treatment option.

In recent months, numerous states have enacted or amended laws permitting doctors to recommend either the use of cannabis or cannabidiol extracts for various forms of treatment-resistant epilepsy. Survey data recently compiled by researchers at Stanford University shows promise that the administration of organic CBD extracts mitigates seizure activity in children with treatment-resistant forms of the disease. Controlled clinical trials assessing the use of CBD-rich extracts in subjects with pediatric epilepsy are ongoing.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at paul@norml.org. Full text of the survey, "Fewer specialists support using medical marijuana and CBD in treating epilepsy patients compared with other medical professionals and patients: Result of Epilepsia's survey," appears online in Epilepsia.