Study: ‘Artisanal CBD’ contributes to better quality of life among epilepsy patients

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Since the late 1970s, ‘artisanal CBD’ has been manufactured. However, up until recently, scientists didn’t realize that these non-prescription CBD products may actually help improve quality of life among epilepsy patients.

A new study featured in the peer-reviewed journal Epilepsy & Behavior suggests that epilepsy patients enjoyed a better sleep and higher quality of life after using artisanal CBD – products that contain variable amounts of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) and the psychotropic cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – as opposed to those who didn’t consume the cannabinoid. 

The study, titled, “Cross-sectional and longitudinal evaluation of cannabidiol (CBD) product use and health among people with epilepsy,” was published on Tuesday, July 27.

Based on the results, epilepsy medications were better tolerated by patients who consumed artisanal CBD products and many patients reported reduced psychiatric symptoms. Individuals who consumed artisanal CBD were also less likely to call in sick for work or school, as well as visit an emergency room within the past month.

“These findings further emphasize the need for controlled research to determine optimal CBD product types, doses, and concomitant use of other medications that maximize possible clinical benefit while minimizing potential risks. Pharmaceutical CBD is currently a restricted prescription medication, and insurance coverage is often limited to only those patients with the specific approved indications. As a result, a large number of patients with epilepsy elect to use alternative CBD products sold widely as dietary supplements by commercial vendors,” the report reads.

Artisanal CBD for epilepsy patients: Researchers analyzed survey results from 280 epilepsy patients 

In order to carry out their study into the effects of artisanal CBD on epilepsy patients, the team of researchers first obtained funding from nonprofit organization Realm of Caring. This foundation collaborated with researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Artisanal CBD products were tested by a total of 280 patients, all of whom had been diagnosed with epilepsy. Additionally, 138 epileptic study participants didn’t use any cannabis products. Each participant was chosen from social media posts and Realm of Caring’s patient registries. Of the survey respondents, 190 contributed to follow-up surveys.

Approximately 74 percent of patients were white and 55 percent were female. On average, epileptic patients were 21 years of age, with 90 percent reporting no previous experience using either recreational or non-medical cannabis. The majority of respondents (93 percent) identified epilepsy as their main condition, whereas seven percent reportedly endured epilepsy as a result of developing sleep disorders, cancer or neuropsychiatric conditions.

“Generally, higher quality of life, lower psychiatric symptom scores and improved sleep were observed among people using an artisanal CBD product based on both cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons,” reads an excerpt from the study, which saw participants complete standardized questionnaires on sleep, depression, anxiety, pain and quality of life.

“Artisanal CBD Users reported significantly better epilepsy medication tolerability, a lower odds of prescription medication use and traditional anticonvulsant use, and reduced healthcare utilization compared with Controls.”

Artisanal CBD for epilepsy patients: CBD dosing didn’t seem to majorly impact the outcomes

Authors appreciate the fact that the study was limited by self-reported data. Nonetheless, the findings concluded that CBD dosage didn’t necessarily influence the outcomes. 

It’s also important to note that, while most survey participants reported positive experiences after using artisanal CBD for epilepsy, one in five respondents claimed to experience adverse effects. Those effects were as follows:

  • Drowsiness (11 percent)
  • Intensified epilepsy symptoms (four percent)
  • Concerns about high cost of CBD products (four percent)
  • Confusion/concerns about CBD legality (three percent) 
  • Concerns about/reported interactions with alternative drugs (unknown.)

In summary, the study authors were satisfied that the findings demonstrated “real-world evidence for the possible utility of artisanal CBD products in a diverse and heterogeneous population of patients with epilepsy.”

The team noted that patients with epilepsy may benefit from experimenting with artisanal CBD to boost both health and quality of life.

“These findings are consistent with research indicating that practitioners recommending CBD in clinical care for epilepsy report integrating the use of CBD both as a means to improve patient quality of life and as well as for seizure reduction,” the researchers concluded.