According to a nationwide Australian survey involving 976 respondents and published in Epilepsy & Behavior, cannabis effectively reduced seizures in both children and adults. The study, called the Epilepsy Action Australian study, found 14% of patients with epilepsy had used cannabis for treatment, and of those patients, 90% of adults and 71% of parents or guardians of children with epilepsy found cannabis reduced the frequency of seizures. The study found a correlation between past anti-seizure drugs and medical cannabis use in both adults and children, in that with every anti-seizure medication tried in the past, patients were 1.1 times more likely to experiment with cannabis as an alternative treatment. All respondents noted their main reasons for trying medical marijuana products was in an attempt to better manage their seizures that had proven resistant to traditional pharmaceutical options, and they hoped for a regimen with fewer and more favorable side effects.
The study's lead author, Anastasia Suraey, wrote, “Despite the limitations of a retrospective online survey, we can not ignore that a significant proportion of adults and children with epilepsy are using cannabis-based products in Australia, and many are self-reporting considerable benefits to their condition.” Co-author Carol Ireland added, “This highlights a growing need to educate consumers and health professionals on the use of cannabis by people with epilepsy, and to provide safe and timely access to cannabinoid medicine in order to lessen people’s reliance on illicit black market products.” This study partnered with the Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney.