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Survey Reveals More Epilepsy Patients Use Medicinal Cannabis -- What Does This Mean for Cannabis Research?

Mar 31, 2017 05:27 AM EDT
A majority of epilepsy patients turn to medical marijuana to properly manage their epileptic seizures.
(Photo : David McNew/Getty Images)

2017 looks promising for medicinal cannabis as a new survey shows that a majority of epilepsy patients turn to medical marijuana to properly manage their epileptic seizures. Will this finally pave the way for more research on the substance?

A nationwide survey by Epilepsy Action Australia Study, in cooperation with the Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney, asked 976 respondents regarding cannabis use of people with epilepsy, its benefits and the reasons for using marijuana, The Guardian reports.

Survey results showed that a high percentage of the respondents actually turn to medical marijuana because it can elicit "more favorable" side effects compared prescription drugs that contain anti-epileptic effects.

In fact, the survey found that 14 percent of people with epilepsy use cannabis, 90 percent of which are adults and 71 percent are children who reported success in seizure management.

Read Also: Promising Marijuana Research to Treat Dementia Blocked by US Regulations

Anastasia Suraeve, lead author of the study from the Lambert Initiative, said this means the medical community cannot simply ignore the fact that a lot of people are turning to cannabis-based products in Australia.

This may be an indication that it's "high" time to conduct more systematic studies in order to fully assess the effects of medicinal cannabis to people with epilepsy. Suraeve added that the survey shows that Australians are starting to look into the benefits of medical cannabis in epilepsy.

However, there's not much support from the government in the field of cannabis research or the legalization of marijuana itself. This means that future studies on medical marijuana will not be subsidized by the government and will be shouldered by institutions, just like in 2015 when grandparents of a girl suffering from epilepsy donated $33 million to the University of Sydney to conduct studies, The Guardian reports.

Read Also: Marijuana vs Cancer: Weed Can Kill Brain Cancer, New Study Explains 

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