Huntington Disease

Huntington Disease (HD) is an inherited degenerative brain disorder characterized by motor abnormalities and dementia produced by selective lesions in the cerebral cortex and, in particular, the striatum. There are presently no known conventional therapies available to alleviate HD symptoms or delay HD-associated striatal degeneration.

Cannabinoids possess various properties that make it attractive in the potential treatment of neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington’s disease,[1-3] and cannabinoid administration has shown efficacy in the treatment of HD in preclinical models[4-6] as well as in case studies.[7] As a result, scientists have called for clinical trials evaluating the effect of cannabinoid pharmacology in HD patients.[8-9] To date, however, no controlled human trials exist assessing cannabis for this clinical condition.


[1] Luvone et al. 2009. Cannabidiol: a promising drug for neurodegenerative disorders? CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics 15: 65-75.

[2] Sagredo et al. 2012. Cannabinoids: Novel Medicines for the Treatment of Huntington’s Disease. Recent Patents on CNS Drug Discovery 7: 41-48.

[3] Gowran et al. 2011. The multiplicity of action of cannabinoids: implications for treating neurodegeneration. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics 17: 637-644.

[4] Sagredo et al. 2011. Neuroprotective effects of phytocannabinoid-based medicines in experimental models of Huntington’s disease. Journal of Neuroscience Research 89: 1509-1518.

[5] Valdeolivas et al. 2012. Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids in neuroprotective in malonate-lesioned rats, an inflammatory model of Huntington’s disease: role of CB1 and CB2 receptors. ACS Chemical Neuroscience 16: 400-406.

[6] Valdeolivas et al. Effects of a Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids on disease progression in R6/2 mice, an experimental model of Huntington’s disease. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18. [online ahead of print]

[7] Meisel and Friedman. 2012. Medical marijuana in Huntington’s disease: report of two cases. Medicine and Health, Rhode Island 95: 178-179.

[8] Sagredo et al. 2011 op. cit.

[9] Sagredo et al. 2012. Cannabinoids: novel medicines for the treatment of Huntington’s disease. Recent Patents on CNS Drug Discovery 7: 41-48.