Medical Cannabis in Parkinson Disease: Real-Life Patients’ Experience
Clinical Neuropharmacology, 2017
1Movement Disorders Unit, Neurological Institute, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, TelAviv; 2Sackler School of Medicine, TelAviv University, TelAviv; 3Tikun Olam, Research Department, Tel Aviv; 4School of Public Health, Epidemiology, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv; 5OneWorld Cannabis Ltd, Petah-Tikva; 6Movement Disorders Center, Rabin Medical Center, Petah-Tikva; and 7Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Current treatments of Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism still provide suboptimal effects, especially regarding the patients’ quality of life. This has led to the search for alternative and often unconventional therapies. There is a wealth and steadily growing body of information in the nonmedical literature on the positive effects of cannabis products on motor symptoms (tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia) as well as on nonmotor symptoms (pain, sleep, depression, anxiety, nausea, and vomiting) and quality of life. The purpose of this retrospective cohort study, conducted in collaboration with the Movement Disorders Unit at Sourasky Medical Center and the Movement Disorders Center at Rabin Medical Center, was to examine the effect of cannabis treatment on 47 Parkinson’s and Parkinsonism’s patients. Medical cannabis was found to improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in the initial stages of treatment and did not cause major adverse effects.
STUDY POPULATION: 47 patients with Parkinson’s Disease and Parkinsonism (40 males, mean age 64.2).
STUDY PRODUCT: About half of the patients in the study received the company’s products regularly.
- 42 patients (89.4%) remained in active treatment.
- General improvement – Most of the patients (82.2%) reported that medical cannabis improved their overall symptoms.
- Decrease in falls – The treatment led to a reduction in complaints of falling (from 46.8% to 33.3%).
- Decreased overall stiffness – Most patients (72.7%) reported a decrease in overall stiffness.
- Decrease in muscle tremor – Most patients (73.2%) reported a reduction in muscle tremor.
- Decreased pain – Most patients (81.4%) reported pain reduction.
- Improvement in mood – Most patients (76.1%) reported improvement in mood.
- Improvement in sleep quality – Most patients (69.6%) reported an improvement in sleep quality.
- Side effects have been reported in 59.6% (a higher rate compared even to a group of older patients and the type of side effects varies – we see confusion and anxiety in higher percentages than usual and also rare side effects like hallucinations and psychosis).
- Medical cannabis has been found to improve symptoms that characterize the disease in the early stages of treatment with relatively few side effects.