The Parkinson’s Foundation announces the results of its reportedly first-ever 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. It was published in npj Parkinson’s Disease.

Cannabis Use Questions

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 6 months, and less than 13% 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, a media release from Parkinson’s Foundation explains.

“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. 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.”

— James Beck, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation

Knowledge Gap

The survey results suggest 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, the release continues.

In the US, 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.

Read the Parkinson’s Foundation’s full statement on medical cannabis and Parkinson’s disease here.

[Source(s): Parkinson’s Foundation, PR Newswire]