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"The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives."

 

True or False Quiz: 10 Things to Know about Medical Cannabis

Quiz

1. If medical marijuana is legal in a state, then anyone can prescribe it.

False

Providers cannot prescribe marijuana as it is illegal at the federal level, which can result in loss of a medical license, or worse, if prescribed. In states where marijuana is legal, a provider can state that a patient has a condition that may benefit from marijuana. However, they cannot prescribe it and can only recommend it.

2. Medical marijuana is not the same as cannabidiol (CBD).

True

Medical marijuana is whole plant marijuana (cannabis) used for medical purposes. CBD is a major non-psychoactive (does not get someone “high”) part of the plant. Review a glossary of cannabinoid termsto learn more.

3. Marijuana is safe because it is a plant.

False

Marijuana (cannabis) is broken down in a person’s liver like many medicines and can cause liver issues for some. There are also drug-to-drug interactions between medical marijuana and some medicinesLearn more about side effects and drug interactions of cannabis.

4. Buying CBD products from anywhere is the same as what is being studied with the purified CBD product (Epidiolex) that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in certain tpes of epilepsy.

False

CBD products from different growers or manufacturers and bought at dispensaries or on the internet are not the same. There is no consistency from one product (or package) to another. The claims on labels are advertising and not necessarily factual. Data from scientific studies of Epidiolex or other cannabadiol products do not relate to all products with cannabis or cannabadiol. Cannabis products often have tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the major part that causes a “high”) or other chemicals in them. Epidiolex is > 98% CBD oil that is extracted from the plant.

5. It is illegal to have hemp extract with CBD shipped to a house in a state where marijuana is illegal.

True

If a product claims to have any CBD in it, it is illegal to ship or accept it by mail. It is a violation of federal, and in some cases state, law.

6. People making marijuana products to use for medical purposes (vernacular products) do not test and show that the contents of their product are consistent and have only what is claimed in it.

True

These products are under the same class as nutritional supplements. The law does not require them to be tested or have proof of consistency. They also do not have to prove they are effective or safe to treat medical illness. Find FDA Warning Letters and Test Results for Cannabidiol-Related Products.

7. To prescribe Epidiolex, providers will need a special license or certificate to prescribe it now that it is FDA approved.

False

Once the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) places Epidiolex on the Drug Schedule and states create a pathway for it, Epidiolex can be prescribed like many other anti-seizure medications. The provider can use their existing prescribing license granted by the DEA. Read an FAQ to learn more.

8. Dosing is known for vernacular CBD products.

False

Since it is unclear how much CBD is in these products and there is not robust scientific data on safe and effective CBD dosing, it is not known how to dose CBD properly at this time.

9. There are zero FDA approved medications that have chemicals found in marijuana.

False

On June 25, 2018, the FDA granted approval for a plant-based formulation of CBD called Epidiolex for people 2 years and older with seizures from Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). In addition, there are two FDA approved synthetic marijuana type medications (nabilone and dronabinol) that have synthetic version of THC (the major component found in marijuana).

10. There are many well conducted studies that show marijuana is effective to treat neurological disorders.

False

Studies thus far have been poorly designed or do not show effectiveness when done well in most neurological disorders. Only in multiple sclerosis (MS) and epilepsy is there good data showing potential benefit. For people with MS who have pain from spasticity, synthetic marijuana and other forms of plant-based products appear to show benefit. In addition, studies in epilepsy published in 2017 and 2018 in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that a plant-based > 98% CBD product (Epidiolex) demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in seizures and was well tolerated. Not everyone in these studies had benefit from CBD. It does not work for everyone with epilepsy.