Nearly Half Of Parkinson's Patients Who Try Pot Experience Therapeutic Relief, Study Says

Thursday, 14 November 2002

Prague, Czech Republic: Nearly half of Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients who have tried marijuana have experienced therapeutic relief from it, according to the results of a survey presented this week at the Movement Disorders Society's Seventh International Congress of Parkinson's and Movement Disorders in Prague.

According to the study's findings, among those patients using marijuana, 46 percent said pot provided symptomatic relief.  Forty five percent said that marijuana relieved symptoms of bradykinesia (slowness of movement), 38 percent said pot relieved muscle rigidity, and 31 percent reported that it relieved their tremors.

The survey's author, neurologist Evzin Ruzicka of Charles University in Prague, said that patients were more likely to report therapeutic benefits from cannabis the longer they used it, and speculated that it was unlikely respondents were experiencing a placebo effect.  Among the total number of respondents to the survey, 25 percent reported having used marijuana.

Although few human trials have been conducted on the use of marijuana to treat symptoms of PD, a 1999 review by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded, "The abundance of [cannabinoid] receptors in the basal ganglia and reports of animal studies showing the involvement of cannabinoids in the control of movement suggest that [cannabis] might be useful in treating movement disorders" such as Parkinsons Disease in humans.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Director of Publications and Research, at (202) 483-5500.