Understanding RoC’s latest published research on cannabinoid therapy and epilepsy
Between April 2016 and July 2020 individuals who are registered with the Realm of Caring Foundation participated in an observational research study with Realm of Caring and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Of the 1,783 individuals enrolled in this online, self-reported survey researchers identified a sample size of 418 participants. Of the 418 participants, 93% had listed epilepsy as their primary medical condition with the remaining noting epilepsy as a secondary medical condition. In this sample size, there were 71 adults and 209 adult caregivers of children or dependent adults who were utilizing CBD products for medicinal use. In addition, there was a control group of 29 adults and 109 adult caregivers who were considering CBD use but had not yet begun.
The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate how CBD product use is associated with quality of life, mental health, healthcare utilization, and epilepsy-specific outcomes within a large, observational group of people with epilepsy.
The average age of the participants were 21 years old, with 51% being under 18 years of age. Of the 418 participants, 280 identified using a CBD product while the remaining 138 served as controls as they were not using cannabis-based products. The majority (90%) had no history of recreational cannabis use and of the CBD products that were listed as used, most could be verified as a CBD-dominant, cannabis-based product. In-depth information from 110 participants in the study helped to conclude that the calculated median dose of CBD was 50mg/day, which equated to 1.4mg/kg/day.
Compared with controls, CBD Users had a greater health satisfaction, higher ratings of quality of life, and better scores on psychological health. Taking a deeper look, CBD Users reported lower anxiety and depression and improved sleep scores.
Other findings that were of significance relate to pharmaceutical use, healthcare visits, and caregiver burden. CBD Users had lower instances of reported prescription medication use, lower medication-related adverse effects, less ER visits, and less missing school and/or work days. In addition, caregivers of CBD Users that noted consistent use through the follow-up period reported significant decreases in the Caregiver Burden total score.
Out of the 280 CBD Users, 79% did not report any adverse effects. Among the remaining CBD Users 11% reported drowsiness, 4% reported a worsening of epilepsy symptoms, 4% reported high or prohibitive cost of CBD products, 3% reported barriers related to legality, and 3% reported concerns of drug to drug interactions.
The findings from this study emphasize the need for additional research to determine optimal methods for CBD product use for epilepsy treatment. Determining best CBD product types, doses, and administration alongside pharmaceuticals would provide us with a better understanding of how to maximize benefits while minimizing potential risks. While observational approaches, such as this study, allow for evaluation of CBD product use in an individual’s natural environment, future work is needed in more controlled settings to extend the findings of this research.
Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Evaluation of Cannabidiol (CBD) Product Use and Health Among People with Epilepsy is authored by: Justin C. Strickland, Heather Jackson, Nicolas J. Schlienz, Jay A. Salpekar, Erin L. Martin, Joel Munson, Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, and Ryan Vandrey.
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Realm of Caring and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have developed the Observational Research Registry (ORR) to better understand medicinal cannabis use and its impact on key health outcomes including healthcare utilization, chronic pain, anxiety and depression, caregiver burden, epilepsy, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our registered clients provide critical information that leads to important insights into the therapeutic capabilities of medicinal cannabis. The ORR helps us develop client educational resources and may ultimately serve to legitimize the medicinal use of cannabis.
About Realm of Caring
Realm of Caring Foundation (RoC), is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was established by parents in 2013 to support families who were out of medical options. By creating educational resources, conducting research, and assisting families with data-rich answers to their questions, RoC continues to be a leader in the cannabinoid (cannabis/hemp) field. RoC’s no-cost Care Team has served more than 65,000 clients worldwide and supports a network of over 2,000 medical professionals. To learn more about participating or to donate to this cause, visit www.realmofcaring.org or call 1-888-210-3772.