Nearly 25 Percent of Parkinson’s Patients Have Used Cannabis During the Past Six Months

New York, NY: Nearly 25 percent of US patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) report having recently consumed cannabis, according to survey data compiled by the Parkinson’s Foundation and published in the Nature imprint, Parkinson’s Disease

Among respondents, 24.5 percent affirmed having used cannabis in the prior six months. The majority of these consumers reported that it provided them with either “moderate or considerable improvement” in their symptoms, particularly in addressing anxiety, pain, sleep disorders, stiffness, and tremors. Most of these respondents said that they did not possesses a formal recommendation from their primary care physician to use cannabis. Slightly more than 20 percent of those who had recently tried cannabis reported no significant improvements in their condition. 

Unlike many other patient populations, few PD patients reported reducing or eliminating their use of prescription medications in lieu of cannabis. 

The study’s authors concluded, “Our results suggest that although there are many people with PD using cannabis as a [complementary alternative] treatment for their motor and non-motor symptoms, the lack of formal guidance about cannabis usage for PD may underlie inconsistencies in use and reported effectiveness.”

A just-published survey of German patients with PD reported that nearly one-in-ten respondents use cannabis to mitigate symptoms of the disease. 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, “Weeding through the haze: A survey on cannabis use among people living with Parkinson’s disease in the US,” appears in NPJ Parkinson’s Disease. Additional information on cannabinoids and PD is available from NORML.