Review: Medical Cannabis Shows Promise as an Adjunctive Treatment for Patients with Huntington Disease

Park Ridge, IL: Available evidence indicates that cannabis can improve neurological symptoms associated with Huntington disease (HD), and therefore physicians ought to consider authorizing it for certain patients suffering from it, according to the findings of a literature review published in the Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences.

A team of investigators affiliated with the Saint James School of Medicine in Illinois reviewed 22 studies – including five randomized, placebo-controlled trials – assessing the efficacy of either cannabinoids or herbal cannabis for the alleviation of symptoms of HD and other related movement disorders.

Of the studies included for review, authors determined that “the majority [of them] showed statistically significant results favoring the use of medical marijuana, especially for improving motor symptoms and quality of sleep.”

Authors concluded that additional clinical trials are warranted, but also recommended that in the interim, “physicians consider prescribing medical marijuana as adjunctive treatment for symptomatic relief to slow the progression or reverse spasms, tremor, spasticity, chorea, dystonia, behavioral, neuropsychiatric and sleep disturbances in patients with Huntington disease.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, no FDA-approved medications are currently available to mitigate the physical, mental, and behavioral decline associated with HD.

Full text of the study, “Medical marijuana effects in movement disorders, focus on Huntington Disease — A literature review,” appears in the Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. Additional information on cannabinoids and HD is available from NORML.