Study: Inhaled Cannabis Mitigates Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 17, 2014

    Inhaling whole-plant cannabis provides symptomatic relief in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), according to observational trial data published in the March/April edition of the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology. Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that results in tremor, slowed movement, and muscle rigidity.

    Investigators at Tel Aviv University, Department of Neurology evaluated Parkinson’s disease symptoms in 22 patients at baseline and 30-minutes after inhaling cannabis.

    Researchers reported that inhaled cannabis was associated with “significant improvement after treatment in tremor, rigidity, and bradykinsea (slowness of movement). There was also significant improvement of sleep and pain scores. No significant adverse effects of the drug were observed.”

    They concluded: “[T]his observational study is the first to report an amelioration of both motor and non–motor symptoms in patients with PD treated with cannabis. The study opens new venues for treatment strategies in PD especially in patients refractory to current medications.”

    Israel has formally allowed for the licensed production and distribution of the substance for therapeutic purposes since 2011.

    An abstract of the study, “Cannabis (Medical Marijuana) Treatment for Motor and Non–Motor Symptoms of Parkinson Disease: An Open-Label Observational Study,” is online here.

    29 responses to “Study: Inhaled Cannabis Mitigates Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms”

    1. Chris_in_WI says:

      Poor Michael J Fox, his people have been “protecting” him from people advising him to use cannabis for years. Then there is the 6 year old in Utah who recently died after being refused cannabis treatment…

      WHEN will this end? Why do we have to wait one more day? Can’t the PotUS issue an executive order, to the USAG, to reschedule cannabis to schedule II under the authority granted the USAG in the controlled substance act?

      It’s not the right answer, but it’s a hell of a lot less wrong then the status quo!

    2. Julian says:

      HOLY SHIT!
      The Department of Health and Human Social Services just issued authority to the FDA to research the efficacy of medicinal marijuana!
      Thank you NORML!
      Thank you Dr. Sanjay Gupta for documenting the patent the DHHS has on neuroprotective cannabinoids for illness like brain tumors while they can take custody of children being treated by safe, healthy marijuana, then place them in potentially violent foster care for profit.
      We really need a “Weed 3” on marijuana-related patenting.

    3. jimmy says:

      It may be the first study to formally report on this topic, but it’s been demonstrated before.

      Watch the documentary (if you haven’t already) “The Union: Business Behind Getting High. There is a patient in the film who has severe tremors and involuntary motor control, just watching the sort of constant suffering he endures is saddening, makes you more grateful about your own life and situation.

      I believe he had Parkinson’s but it could have been multiple sclerosis.

      While having difficulty even getting his hand to his mouth, he lights up from a one-hitter with the help of the narrator.

      The difference is like NIGHT and DAY after he smokes cannabis medicine, his body seems to relax, finally giving the poor guy a break.

      How anyone can watch that clip and not feel on a gut level, the sort of senseless, pervasive injustice that continues to terrorize people pointlessly, and that promotes the denial of pain treatment and effective medical care.

      The war on drugs contradicts
      the war on terror
      and also the war on cancer
      as well as the war on poverty and IF
      there were a war on racism.

      Make up your damn minds, already, war-mongering scum.

      Criminalization of drugs of any sort goes directly against principles of human rights and freedom

      Even before Charlotte’s Web strain and news stories about kids with seizure disorders, many people have shown how cannabis helps their ailments and the difference is stark. The compassionate use program that resulted from the Supreme Court victory of glaucoma patient Robert Randall.


      He argued that going blind was more dangerous than smoking cannabis. The court agreed. He helped other patients obtain compassionate use cannabis till he passed away.

      Descriptions of glaucoma pharmaceuticals are like horror stories, “I would take the medicine they prescribed, but the side effect was losing all vision for one day out of four.” Yet those who have been told directly by doctors that blindness is inevitable, and who then chose to self-medicate with cannabis, many have protected and kept their vision, one man did so for 40 years.

      We’ve known that there are disorders and chronic illnesses that can’t be treated by pharma toxins, like glaucoma and grand mal seizure disorders. Those which are used, such as benzodiazapines (used for seizures, PTSD, panic disorder), may help (only marginally) for a while, but tolerance inevitably develops, dosage increase is required in order to maintain “effectiveness”, up to a point when the dosage must be capped because it’s just too toxic to justify medical use, because it’s almost lethal.

      And then withdrawal from these drugs trigger seizures worse than before so they have to be tapered down slowly, weaning them off gradually. Talk about a drug that only complicated things while not treating the seizures adequately, while involving seriously sedating drugs that people get hooked on, only to inevitably be forced to quit taking them completely bc they are not for long-term treatment.

    4. LL says:

      Cannabis should never have been made illegal and that fact that it still remains illegal is the greatest single failure of our government. Millions of people who suffer could have relief, millions have been wrongly jailed. They’ve made enough money to live 10 lifetimes off the death or incarceration of Americans, its time to change. They should be brought up on charges and sent to the prisons they filled up with innocent Americans, they need to be held accountable for this injustice or whats to stop them from doing it again. They’re dragging their feet to make sure when it is made legal, they’re in the position to reap all the benefits. Sad day, the biggest criminals in our country are the ones in charge.

    5. Judy says:

      I’ve known about this medicinal property for a couple of years already. A good friend finds that it greatly helps his condition!

      Thanks to the NORML staff for continuing this fight for science/compassion over politics/ignorance/greed/racism…

    6. chris says:

      Seeing and watching everything on cannbis i can watch makes me realize one important thing……..our government should have never been allowed to take control and waste our monies on eradicating a plant….o wait …..they never did….all they have managed to do over the years is keep a mojority of the people on the down side by producing only bad information about cannabis…..and its effects that they dont know because its illeagal to do any tests on it……unless your only looking to make the worst case senerios……like if you drive 90 with out a seatbelt and you get into a wreck….you will probably turn out to be a puppie killer…(the point on that is that even the examples as to why cannabis has been controled isnt any better)
      Im just tired of reading all the crap that has kept cannabis in a glass jar kept on the shelf of our government and then they can take it down when they want to allow who ever they want to have it…..Sorry for pushing my negative thoughts today……im just sick of hearing about all of it …….use cannabis , and they want to take your job, your house , your car , your life…..and for what…because you want to enjoy your life after hours of work, so you can pay alot of your monies into a tax system they have even managed to destroy with stealing and greed and lies…all we are is free roaming prisoners……..it doesnt take much for our governmet to turn on its people……and with out the people who want to work and are trying to live norml lives …..there would be no government …….This country was built on stealing and lies……so now that we are a super power , we are still lying to our people and keeping them from living in peace…….war.War.WAr.WAR……..this is how america survives……even if it is on its own people……

      as always
      thanks for reading

    7. Dave Evans says:

      Yeah Jimmy, the War on Weed is Anti-American is every way possible. It damages our future success–which is exactly opposite what these prohib’s keep telling they are saving us from… They are ineffective and would rather arrest potheads than criminals who are dangerous.

    8. Druk says:

      and the DEA will continue to deny, deny, deny…

    9. DR FORKE says:

      This is off-topic, but I feel I need to discuss this with someone. There is a widespread belief in West Texas–even among lifelong stoners–that the campaign to legalize marijuana is a plot by the federal government to seize firearms. This seems to stem from a wildly misquoted legal opinion by Brian T. Yeh at Stanford and an insane discussion panel on the Fox News show “Red Eye”. During the past week I have met three people (educated American citizens) who believe that all firearms have already been confiscated in the state of Colorado. When I expressed disbelief, they laughed and shook their heads. What is going on? Why isn’t somebody out there debunking this crap?