This nationwide survey on medicinal cannabis use for epilepsy discovered that a patient’s history of antiepileptic drug treatment was a predictor for medicinal cannabis use.
An online survey was developed by Epilepsy Action Australia (EAA), consisting of 39 questions that measured demographic factors, clinical factor (such as diagnosis and seizure types), past treatment history for epilepsy, and experiences and opinions of cannabis use in epilepsy.
Study data was collected by online survey software Survey Monkey. The survey link was posted for ten days, and promoted through EAA, a national non-profit organisation that provides education and services to people with epilepsy and their families, via their website and mailing list, social media, and word of mouth. Results were analysed, interpreted and written up for publication with assistance from Lambert Initiative researchers.
Community outreach and online survey
The Lambert Initiative
The survey was answered by 976 Australians with epilepsy. It found that 14 percent of people with epilepsy have used cannabis products as a way to manage their seizures. Of these, 90 percent of adults with epilepsy and 71 percent of parents or guardians of children with epilepsy reported success in seizure management.
The past number of antiepileptic drugs used was a significant predictor of cannabis use. The main reasons for using cannabis was to manage treatment-resistant epilepsy and to find a treatment with a more favourable side-effect profile compared to conventional antiepileptic drugs. Adults with a neurological condition or pain condition in addition to epilepsy were significantly more likely to have tried cannabis as a way to manage symptoms.
The results were published in Epilepsy & Behaviour in February 2017, under the title: An Australian nationwide survey on medicinal cannabis use for epilepsy: History of antiepileptic drug treatment predicts medicinal cannabis use.
SBS News - Cannabis used by many with epilepsy: study
Australian Doctors Group – 6 Minutes - Epilepsy patients turning to illicit cannabis
Sky News - Epilepsy patients turning to cannabis
P&T Community - Survey Finds Cannabis Use in Epilepsy
Pharmacy News - Australian epilepsy patients turn to illicit cannabis
Radio 6PR with Gareth Parker – 10 March 2017
FIVEAA Adelaide with Andrew Reimer – 13 March 2017
ABC News with Penny Timms – 9 March 2017
ABC24 Live News with Andrew Geoghegan – 10 March 2017
This survey has now closed