Results: Cannabis and Parkinson’s

Recently, there has been an increased interest in the use of cannabis to treat Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptoms. The Parkinson’s Foundation Survey titled Weeding Through the Haze: A Survey on Cannabis Use Among People Living with Parkinson’s, Disease in the U.S., sought to capture community viewpoints and experiences with cannabis use. 

About the study

Researchers from Northwestern, University of Rochester and University of British Columbia, all Parkinson’s Foundation Centers of Excellence, collaborated on this study. Three people with Parkinson’s reviewed this study.

Key Highlights

  • Nearly 25% of people with PD reported cannabis use within the previous six months and were more likely to be male and about three years younger than non-users.
  • Among non-users, the primary reasons for avoiding cannabis included: 
    • A lack of evidence of the efficacy of cannabis (60%) 
    • A fear of cannabis side effects (35%)
  • Most cannabis users (65%) had not received a recommendation to use cannabis from a licensed doctor or provider.
  • Cannabis was most often used to treat the PD symptoms: pain, anxiety, sleep disturbance, tremor and stiffness. 

Figure description: Geographic representation of survey participants. Shading within a state depicts the legality of cannabis as of October 2020. Black dots represent cannabis users and grey dots represent non-users. Rhode Island was the only state without survey respondents.

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