Survey: Nearly Ten Percent of Parkinson’s Report Using Cannabis Products for Symptom Management

Hamburg, Germany: Nearly one-in-ten patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) report using cannabis products to alleviate PD-related symptoms, according to a survey of German patients published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. Medical cannabis products have been approved in Germany since 2017 for the treatment of severe symptoms of PD.

A team of investigators affiliated with the University of Hamburg conducted a nationwide survey among members of the German Parkinson Association. Over 1,300 patients responded to the survey. Researchers described the study as the “largest” ever undertaken to assess PD patients’ perceptions regarding the use of cannabis.

Just under nine percent of survey respondents acknowledged using products containing either THC or CBD or both to mitigate symptoms of the disease. Over half of the respondents (54 percent) reported clinical benefits due to their consumption of cannabis products.

Patients were most likely to report that marijuana-based products relieved pain, depression, stiffness/akinesia, and improved sleep. Respondents were more likely to report benefits from products containing THC than those consisting of CBD only.

Authors concluded: “Our study offers insights into the PD community’s perception of MC [medical cannabis] and shows that cannabis is applied in almost ten percent of patients against motor- and non-motor symptoms. Results suggest that MC might be helpful for selected PD patients with insufficient symptom relief despite their usual anti-parkinsonian medication.”

Observational trial data has previously reported that cannabis inhalation is associated with improvements in tremor, rigidity, pain, sleep, and bradykinesia (slowness of movement) in patients with Parkinson’s

Full text of the study, “Cannabis in Parkinson’s Disease: The patients’ view,” appears in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. Additional information on cannabinoids and PD is available from NORML.