Parkinsons Disease

It seems as though medical use of cannabis for Parkinson’s Disease has been unfortunately bypassed by all traditional drug approval processes, which has left medical professionals with insufficient evidence to work with, and little guide for patients. 

There have been studies which have gathered date related to the effects of cannabis on Parkinson’s, covering the benefits and the risks. Anonymous 73 item online tests were carried out, and included neurologists at all National Parkinson Foundation Centers of Excellence.

These tests apparently showed that 56 people responded, and this represented centres across 5 countries and 14 states. 23% reported some formal education on cannabis. Eighty percent of responders had patients with PD who used cannabis, and 95% were asked to prescribe it. Fifty‐two percent took a neutral position on cannabis use with their patients, 9% discouraged use, and 39% encouraged it. 

Most of the people who responded believed that the literature in support of cannabis for nausea was 87%, anxiety was 60%, and pain was also 87%. These tests showed divisions in responses, most expected cannabis to make the symptoms worse – 59%. Others thought there was danger of causing sleepiness – 60%, many feared that it would cause hallucinations – 69%, and most were concerned that there would be negative effects 75%, others were worried about potential memory loss – 55%, executive functioning – 79%, and driving – 96%. Many didn’t believe that cannabis should be recreational – 50%, but most believed that it should be legalised for medicinal purposes – 69.6%.

This survey has provided data on cannabis related practices, beliefs, and attitudes of expert PD physicians. It would seem that there exists a lack of knowledge between medical experts, and a large amount of the average person. 

Not enough is known about the patients’ view on treatment with medical cannabis for Parkinson’s disease.

There does seem to be increased interest in medical cannabis as a treatment for Parkinson’s, but there was a questionnaire sent around to evaluate general knowledge, and interest in medical cannabis

Questions were distributed via the membership journal of the German Parkinson Association.

1.348 questionnaires were analysed. 51% of participants were aware of the legality of medical Marijuana, 28% of various routes of administration, and 9% of the difference between delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ 9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). 

Parkinson’s inspired cannabis use was reported by 8.4% of patients, mostly associated with younger age groups, living in large cities  and better knowledge about the legal and clinical aspects of medical cannabis. Reduction of pain and muscle cramps was reported by more than 40% of cannabis users. Stiffness/akinesia, freezing, tremor, depression, anxiety and restless legs syndrome subjectively improved for more than 20% and overall tolerability was good. Improvement of symptoms was reported by 54% of users applying oral CBD and 68% inhaling THC-containing cannabis. Compared to CBD intake, inhalation of THC was more frequently reported to reduce akinesia and stiffness (50.0% vs. 35.4%). Interest in using medical cannabis was reported by 65% of non-users.

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