Study: Inhaled Cannabis Mitigates Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

Inhaling whole-plant cannabis provides symptomatic relief in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), according to observational trial data published in the March/April edition of the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology. Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that results in tremor, slowed movement, and muscle rigidity.

Investigators at Tel Aviv University, Department of Neurology evaluated Parkinson’s disease symptoms in 22 patients at baseline and 30-minutes after inhaling cannabis.

Researchers reported that inhaled cannabis was associated with “significant improvement after treatment in tremor, rigidity, and bradykinsea (slowness of movement). There was also significant improvement of sleep and pain scores. No significant adverse effects of the drug were observed.”

They concluded: “[T]his observational study is the first to report an amelioration of both motor and non–motor symptoms in patients with PD treated with cannabis. The study opens new venues for treatment strategies in PD especially in patients refractory to current medications.”

Israel has formally allowed for the licensed production and distribution of the substance for therapeutic purposes since 2011.

An abstract of the study, “Cannabis (Medical Marijuana) Treatment for Motor and Non–Motor Symptoms of Parkinson Disease: An Open-Label Observational Study,” is online here.

29 thoughts

  1. Poor Michael J Fox, his people have been “protecting” him from people advising him to use cannabis for years. Then there is the 6 year old in Utah who recently died after being refused cannabis treatment…

    WHEN will this end? Why do we have to wait one more day? Can’t the PotUS issue an executive order, to the USAG, to reschedule cannabis to schedule II under the authority granted the USAG in the controlled substance act?

    It’s not the right answer, but it’s a hell of a lot less wrong then the status quo!

    The Department of Health and Human Social Services just issued authority to the FDA to research the efficacy of medicinal marijuana!
    Thank you NORML!
    Thank you Dr. Sanjay Gupta for documenting the patent the DHHS has on neuroprotective cannabinoids for illness like brain tumors while they can take custody of children being treated by safe, healthy marijuana, then place them in potentially violent foster care for profit.
    We really need a “Weed 3” on marijuana-related patenting.

  3. It may be the first study to formally report on this topic, but it’s been demonstrated before.

    Watch the documentary (if you haven’t already) “The Union: Business Behind Getting High. There is a patient in the film who has severe tremors and involuntary motor control, just watching the sort of constant suffering he endures is saddening, makes you more grateful about your own life and situation.

    I believe he had Parkinson’s but it could have been multiple sclerosis.

    While having difficulty even getting his hand to his mouth, he lights up from a one-hitter with the help of the narrator.

    The difference is like NIGHT and DAY after he smokes cannabis medicine, his body seems to relax, finally giving the poor guy a break.

    How anyone can watch that clip and not feel on a gut level, the sort of senseless, pervasive injustice that continues to terrorize people pointlessly, and that promotes the denial of pain treatment and effective medical care.

    The war on drugs contradicts
    the war on terror
    and also the war on cancer
    as well as the war on poverty and IF
    there were a war on racism.

    Make up your damn minds, already, war-mongering scum.

    Criminalization of drugs of any sort goes directly against principles of human rights and freedom

    Even before Charlotte’s Web strain and news stories about kids with seizure disorders, many people have shown how cannabis helps their ailments and the difference is stark. The compassionate use program that resulted from the Supreme Court victory of glaucoma patient Robert Randall.

    He argued that going blind was more dangerous than smoking cannabis. The court agreed. He helped other patients obtain compassionate use cannabis till he passed away.

    Descriptions of glaucoma pharmaceuticals are like horror stories, “I would take the medicine they prescribed, but the side effect was losing all vision for one day out of four.” Yet those who have been told directly by doctors that blindness is inevitable, and who then chose to self-medicate with cannabis, many have protected and kept their vision, one man did so for 40 years.

    We’ve known that there are disorders and chronic illnesses that can’t be treated by pharma toxins, like glaucoma and grand mal seizure disorders. Those which are used, such as benzodiazapines (used for seizures, PTSD, panic disorder), may help (only marginally) for a while, but tolerance inevitably develops, dosage increase is required in order to maintain “effectiveness”, up to a point when the dosage must be capped because it’s just too toxic to justify medical use, because it’s almost lethal.

    And then withdrawal from these drugs trigger seizures worse than before so they have to be tapered down slowly, weaning them off gradually. Talk about a drug that only complicated things while not treating the seizures adequately, while involving seriously sedating drugs that people get hooked on, only to inevitably be forced to quit taking them completely bc they are not for long-term treatment.

  4. Cannabis should never have been made illegal and that fact that it still remains illegal is the greatest single failure of our government. Millions of people who suffer could have relief, millions have been wrongly jailed. They’ve made enough money to live 10 lifetimes off the death or incarceration of Americans, its time to change. They should be brought up on charges and sent to the prisons they filled up with innocent Americans, they need to be held accountable for this injustice or whats to stop them from doing it again. They’re dragging their feet to make sure when it is made legal, they’re in the position to reap all the benefits. Sad day, the biggest criminals in our country are the ones in charge.

  5. I’ve known about this medicinal property for a couple of years already. A good friend finds that it greatly helps his condition!

    Thanks to the NORML staff for continuing this fight for science/compassion over politics/ignorance/greed/racism…

  6. Seeing and watching everything on cannbis i can watch makes me realize one important thing……..our government should have never been allowed to take control and waste our monies on eradicating a plant….o wait …..they never did….all they have managed to do over the years is keep a mojority of the people on the down side by producing only bad information about cannabis…..and its effects that they dont know because its illeagal to do any tests on it……unless your only looking to make the worst case senerios……like if you drive 90 with out a seatbelt and you get into a wreck….you will probably turn out to be a puppie killer…(the point on that is that even the examples as to why cannabis has been controled isnt any better)
    Im just tired of reading all the crap that has kept cannabis in a glass jar kept on the shelf of our government and then they can take it down when they want to allow who ever they want to have it…..Sorry for pushing my negative thoughts today……im just sick of hearing about all of it …….use cannabis , and they want to take your job, your house , your car , your life…..and for what…because you want to enjoy your life after hours of work, so you can pay alot of your monies into a tax system they have even managed to destroy with stealing and greed and lies…all we are is free roaming prisoners…… doesnt take much for our governmet to turn on its people……and with out the people who want to work and are trying to live norml lives …..there would be no government …….This country was built on stealing and lies……so now that we are a super power , we are still lying to our people and keeping them from living in peace…….war.War.WAr.WAR……..this is how america survives……even if it is on its own people……

    as always
    thanks for reading

  7. Yeah Jimmy, the War on Weed is Anti-American is every way possible. It damages our future success–which is exactly opposite what these prohib’s keep telling they are saving us from… They are ineffective and would rather arrest potheads than criminals who are dangerous.

  8. This is off-topic, but I feel I need to discuss this with someone. There is a widespread belief in West Texas–even among lifelong stoners–that the campaign to legalize marijuana is a plot by the federal government to seize firearms. This seems to stem from a wildly misquoted legal opinion by Brian T. Yeh at Stanford and an insane discussion panel on the Fox News show “Red Eye”. During the past week I have met three people (educated American citizens) who believe that all firearms have already been confiscated in the state of Colorado. When I expressed disbelief, they laughed and shook their heads. What is going on? Why isn’t somebody out there debunking this crap?

  9. @Dr. Forke,
    For excellent coverage of the hypocrisy of Fox Network check out the Daily Show with John Stewart. He just did a great report on corporate tax loopholes out”foxing” the attack on food stamp fraud by billions of dollars. And you HAVE to try “McConneling.” Between the see-saw of his support for the hemp research amendment while enduring his support of the DEA and prohibition, its refreshing to play the song “behind blue eyes,” to his wordless campaign commercial.

    My grandfather had Parkinson’s Disease. He was a strong, tall doctor, graduated from Harvard Medical School. He was a field medic in Normandy and saved lives in unspeakable circumstances during WWII, sawing off limbs when he had to.
    He deteriorated into a wheelchair, frail and unable to direct his gaze. His last years he tortured my grandmother insisting on hunting, so he fell out of deerblinds and down the front steps numerous times, cracking his skull just to feel the freedom of the hunt.
    The horrible tragic irony is that it was not until after his death in 1996 that the U.S. was permitted to publish that the endocannabinoid system even exists. I cant help but wonder how much less my grandparents would have suffered if they had a marijuana vaporizer instead of some pills with deadly side effects.
    And the DOJ wants us to settle for decriminalization without Cannibanking? We will settle for nothing less than the right to grow our own medicine. Patents be damned.

  10. The U.S. Prison Industry needs victimless crimes to incarcerate people to grow their business. Welcome to corrupt government and unregulated capitalism running and lobbying congress for laws that benefit industry.

  11. The Pharmaceutical, oil and liquor industry lobbies congressmen heavily to protect their right to poison and profit off the Population with total indifference to the outcome, Constitutional right and liberties of Citizens. All in the name of increased profits and shareholder returns. Fascism is alive and well in the U.S.

  12. @Julian – Have you noticed that we have not cured any diseases in 50 years?? The big Pharma companies know there is no money in curing disease. The government is in no rush to lose that income from big Pharma. We have to watch the Feds don’t try to shove 420 to big Pharm or we’re all screwed again.


  13. Isn’t Kevin Sabet always going on about how inhaled cannabis isn’t a medicine? Please make sure someone from NORML references this one next time you get to debate him.

  14. Meanwhile, numerous marytrs languish incarcerated due their participation in a personal experiment with a medication the govt is willing to patent, but not willing to reschedule. How long will the disrespect continue? Patients rights are not to be tabled when their choices remain theirs to make.

  15. @Barney,
    The wall between growing our own and prohibition is the patent to neuroprotective cannabinoids owned by the Department of Health and Human Social Services.

  16. @Jon: Don’t leave out the drug testing industry and the forced rehab industry–both make hundreds of billions every year off of prohibition, as the vast majority of users are MJ users, and the vast majority of drug test positives are for MJ. Without prohibition, these industries would be sunk. And they are putting millions towards maintaining prohibition for that reason.

    No list of Drug War profiteers is complete without these two fraudulent industries.

  17. DR FORKE,

    This is just an attempt to polarize the Right and the Left.
    Their worst nightmare is too have the Tea Baggers joining forces
    with the Liberals on Cannabis Reform.

    During the 80s and 90s the Christian Right was fully in sync with the Reagan and Bush presidencies and their agendas.

    After 911,something strange happened,and now,the christian right wingers are seen as conspiracy theorist that want to keep their guns and rebel against the government.

    Its funny how things change,i still remember the Moral Majority during the early 80s with the Reagan administration and the right wing -nut jobs, that destroyed a lot of the progress that was made during the late 70s on Cannabis Reform, with insane hysteria,and bizarre correlations on how marihuana led to crack cocaine.But now where finding out its just the opposite, that cannabis is an exit -way drug for previous cocaine and methamphetamine users.

    Sounds Dyslexic to me,but then again,so is the whole Right Wing versus Left Wing concept.

  18. An open letter to members of Congress:
    The correct solution to the cannabis controversy is the reschedule cannabis out of Schedule I and to Schedule III. This would allow for the much needed and more comprehensive study of the ever increasing areas where cannabis has been found to be effective medicinally.
    It has been found to be effective in lessening the damage in brain and spinal cord injuries and promotes healing in these instances. There is encouraging research that shows it can be effectively used to destroy cancer tumors without damaging surrounding healthy cells.
    How many politicians can seriously support cannabis being classified with heroin when it has never caused a death from an overdose? How many will continue to keep it in Schedule I when it can treat many maladies now treated with Big Pharm. drugs that have massive side effects that cannabis does not have when used for treatment?
    Being classified as a Schedule I narcotic severely restricts research of the efficacy of cannabis in treating many conditions. How will politicians justify their resistance to rescheduling cannabis when thousands of stroke victims or cancer sufferers that might have been helped were denied that help merely because cannabis is a political hot potato?
    The ATF specifically has stated, “any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.” The only way to fight this is to get cannabis rescheduled
    If everyone who reads this letter sent it to their friends who feel the above is correct and everyone then sent it to their elected officials, maybe we could get cannabis rescheduled.

  19. @Stephen, a subliminal post-resurrection? As humerous as the “burning bush in the cave of Moses” may sound, check out this article from a 1996 issue of CannabisCulture, by Chris Bennet;


    Combine this religious etymological analysis of the Old Testament with recent cannabis ethnobotanical research by Robert Clarke and I’ll bet you never look at your place of worship, cannabis or human history the same way again.
    Chris Bennet does an excellent job of explaining Sulah Bennet’s (relation?) etymology of hemp in the old testament in her 1937 publication of “Early Difussions and Folk Uses of Hemp.” The root word “Kan” can mean either “reed,” or “hemp,” in early semitic languages that describe the holy Hebrew anointing oil in Exodus 30-20.
    There is a growing consensus that cannabis evolved with human consciousness and continued coexistence with nature in Civilization. Attempts to prohibit cannabis describe eras of violence and ecological destruction. There is also a dire warning of cannabis prohibition explained in the old testament when the King Hezekiah desecrates the temples of the Godess Ashera built on the high groves around Jerusalem by King Solomon and Moses.
    (Kings: 18:4)

    On another subject: @Reggie,
    That is a very interesting yet unconstutional quote you have discovered from the ATF. Prohibiting the right to bear arms to those in posession of marijuana?… From the same agency in the DOJ that can legally deny the report of serial tracking numbers on weapons sales? Poor ATF… Sounds like they’re having an extinction-burst tantrum at the threat of losing their ability to sell U.S. weapons in contrived drug wars (Fast and Furious,ATF) …paid for by seized cartel money, asset forfeitures and our hard earned U.S. tax-payer dollars.
    How about some math:
    How many people have ever lethally overdosed on THC? Zero. In all recorded human history.
    How many deaths have been reported as caused by ATF “tracer” programs selling U.S. Weapons to rival cartels and the Mexican military? Thousands and counting… That we know of only from one failed Fast and Furious program that was only revealed in 2011… Not because of the thousands of innocent Mexicans and immigrants killed, but because of one DEA agent killed by a semi automatic rifle sold to the Zetas by the ATF. The DEA is quoted as saying their agent was on vacation in Mexico. In kevlar. With his badge. The ATF is quoted as saying, “We wanted to see where the guns would end up.” Big Surprise. They ended up killing lots of people.

  20. “Recreational pot use by a small group of young adults caused significant changes to the shape and density of both the nucleus accumbens, a region of the brain involved in reward and addiction, and the amygdala, which helps process emotion and form long-term memories, the study authors reported.”

    “a small group of young adults” means that the sample size was inadequately small (n = too small a sample to be reliable as “accepted medical” data.

    and secondly, the nucleus accumbens is an area of the brain related to what is called the “reward” and “motivation” centers of the brain. Serious chemical dependency to a l c o h o l have proven that that transformational changes occur to the reward system in such a way that it becomes dysfunctional, nonfunctional.

    Any drugs that lead to a release in dopamine, like cigarettes, cocaine, amphetamine, caffeine, and other alkaloid compounds, including gambling addiction, will lead to changes in the brain.

    Even meditation is shown to grow areas of the pre-frontal cortex, meditation which simply helps people learn to “think of nothing” can change neuronal growth.

    But then the ending of the article, with that contrived, “this is not your dad’s Oldsmob-owl, is just stupid.

    Marlboro Reds (“full flavored”) is not your mom’s Marlboro “lights” which are supposedly less lethal and less carcinogenic, is just a fraud, based on filter density. People who are hooked on nicotine just smoke more light cigarettes to get the same effect.

    passing that link on was elucidating, about how deceptive the propaganda still words the demonization of cannabis.

    “abnormal neuronal growth” is most likely attributed to neurogenesis, that cannabis has been demonstrated to grow new brain cells, just like aerobic exercise tends to do. But it also protects nerves. They use the phrase there in a way that sounds like tumor growth. Speculative nonsense.

    I now know that newsmaxhealth is not a reliable source of information, which is good.

    The problem of not understanding evil, not knowing what evil is, ends in consequences. People who think in such ways end up easily victimized by the secret and evil intent and motivation of degenerates who misinform and deliberately mislead.

    newsmaxhealth = sychophant to NIDA

  21. Ya know … many pharmaceuticals cause euphoria (high)… even more do if over used (ask any good addict). It’s interesting that just because Marijuana doesn’t require OVER use or abuse to include a peasan component whie it does it miracle work, makes it skeptical/suspicious!

  22. I live in France and here they speak of liberty,equality and fratinity. there has been uninterupted hemp cultivation but total contrmol of medcine. herberists are banned here. liberty?what liberty?
    In the USofA you speak of the right to life,liberty and the pesuit of can this be so when what helps me be happy is illegal and makes me a criminal.
    They all speak of justice;;;;;;;; OH what a joke,they let you have a gun but they wont let you smoke.
    But hey,,,,, it took three hundred years to finally accept that the earth did indeed orbit the sun,,,,,,we are winning,

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