Category: Newsworthy Notes

Reprinted from the National Institutes of Health

There is growing interest in the therapeutic potential of marijuana (cannabis) and cannabinoid-based chemicals within the medical community and particularly for neurologic conditions. This interest is driven both by changes in the legal status of cannabis in many areas and increasing research into the roles of endocannabinoids within the central nervous system and their potential as symptomatic and/or neuroprotective therapies. We review basic science, preclinical and clinical studies on the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids specifically as it relates to movement disorders. The pharmacology of cannabis is complex with over 60 neuroactive chemicals identified to date. The endocannabinoid system modulates neurotransmission involved in motor function, particularly within the basal ganglia. Preclinical research in animal models of several movement disorders have shown variable evidence for symptomatic benefits but more consistently suggest potential neuroprotective effects in several animal models of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. Clinical observations and clinical trials of cannabinoid-based therapies suggests a possible benefit of cannabinoids for tics and probably no benefit for tremor in multiple sclerosis or dyskinesias or motor symptoms in Parkinson’s. Data are insufficient to draw conclusions regarding Huntington’s, dystonia or ataxia and nonexistent for myoclonus or restless legs syndrome.

Despite the widespread publicity about the medical benefits of cannabinoids, further preclinical and clinical research is needed to better characterize the pharmacological, physiological and therapeutic effects of this class of drugs in movement disorders. Editor’s note: There are some encouraging preclinical findings of the use of marijuana with Parkinson’s; however, researchers have not yet found any “conclusive” cannabis gains for people with Parkinson’s. As a matter of fact, and we think this caution is important knowledge for potential users, researchers issue caution for people with Parkinson’s who use marijuana because of its effect on thinking. Parkinson’s can impair comprehension, especially daily and life planning abilities including limiting unsafe and insecure behaviors. People with a medical condition that impairs executive function should be cautious about using any pharmaceutical or alternative treatments that can compound this effect. Understanding the CBDs and the THCs of marijuana and any combination thereof is extremely important. With PSA Organica joining the Parkinson’s Resource Organization Wellness Village, we look forward to publishing more, invaluable information about the use of medical cannabis and Parkinson’s. Visit their page in the Wellness Village under the category of Medical Marijuana for video, information and contact information.  

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Updated: August 16, 2017