A new study provided data mirroring results of previous studies on Parkinson’s disease (PD) and cannabis—suggesting that over half of patients see improvements in sleep, mood and pain control.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) launched a privacy-protected survey through an online Fox Insight study in January 2020. The survey asked respondents about cannabis delivery methods, as well as how well it affected Parkinson’s diseases (PD) symptoms.
Few organizations have been more active than MJFF in the heavy duty work of research that leads to real legislative change on medical cannabis and PD—even urging Congress to act on specific medical cannabis research bills.
Over the course of four months, almost 1,900 people with PD participated in the survey. Fox Insight is the research arm of MJFF, which also partners with the consumer genetics company 23andMe to better understand the role of the human genome in relation to PD symptoms.
What They Learned
Lead study author Maureen Leehey, MD, from the University of Colorado, Denver, presented the study results at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology Virtual Annual Meeting. She listed five key findings:
- Over half of respondents reported “mild benefits on sleep, mood and pain.” Some respondents even decreased the use of prescription drugs to treat those symptoms.
- The survey did, however, find some side effects including dizziness, cognitive changes and dry mouth.
- On average, respondents said they consumed an oral dose of cannabis daily.
- About 13 percent of respondents did not identify the specific cannabis product they were using, while one third couldn’t recall the exact dosage.
- Over 30 percent of respondents said that they did not discuss cannabis use with their physician.
The data is very close to other recent findings that the MJFF reported on several months earlier, referring to a German study that also found over half of PD patients reported improvements from cannabis.
One of the problematic findings is that most patients were afraid to discuss cannabis use with their doctors. Researchers encourage patients to do their own research into the use of and perspectives on cannabis in the real world.
You can share your experience at foxinsight.org. If you’re already in the study, sign in and find the questionnaire in the Survey Center under “Related Research.”