MIAMI & NEW YORK – March 2, 2020 – The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the results of the medical cannabis and Parkinson’s disease (PD) survey. The survey, titled Weeding Through the Haze: A Survey on Cannabis Use Among People Living with Parkinson’s Disease in the U.S., was distributed to 7,607 people with PD in January 2020, with 1,064 complete responses analyzed.
The survey asked specific questions about cannabis use ― from symptom management to motivation for use and side effects ― and questions for those who do not use cannabis and why. Twenty-five percent of survey respondents used cannabis within the previous six months and less than 13 percent of consumers reported negative side effects from cannabis use. More than half of the respondents learned about cannabis use from the internet or from friends or other people with PD.
“At a time when cannabis is legal in more states than ever before, we believe this survey provides new and critical information for the growing population of cannabis users who have Parkinson’s disease,” said James Beck, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “Ultimately, our goal is better outcomes for everyone living with Parkinson’s disease and we’re committed to tackling issues that are a priority for the PD community.”
The survey results show that there is a knowledge gap among people living with PD, which may be impacting their decisions about cannabis use. Fifty-six percent of survey respondents were not provided any information on how to use cannabis such as dosage, type and frequency of use. Sixty-four percent had not received a cannabis recommendation from a licensed doctor or provider. Overall, 89 percent said cannabis was not a replacement for their PD prescription medication.
In the U.S., cannabis has become more widely available for medical and recreational use. Until now, there was insufficient data about the attitudes towards, and experiences with, cannabis use among those living with PD. This survey aims to address this disparity. The 1,064 survey respondents came from 49 states. The average age for respondents was 71, and the average time they have lived with Parkinson’s is seven years.
Find the complete survey results in the open access journal npj Parkinson’s Disease or read the Parkinson’s Foundation’s full statement on medical cannabis and Parkinson’s disease. Call the Parkinson’s Foundation free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO for more information about medical cannabis.