The Evidence Base for Cannabis in Parkinson Disease

Presenter: Michelle Sexton, ND

Original Date: September 23, 2018

The basal ganglia contains an abundance of cannabinoid (CB) receptors. Therefore, it is not surprising that cannabinoids have significant effects on the control of movement, both in health and disease. Cannabinoids interact with three major neurotransmitters of the basal ganglia: dopamine, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) and glutamate. Cannabis was rarely recommended for treatment of PD in the 20th century primarily because of societal and legal restrictions. However, there are many anecdotal reports on the usefulness of cannabis preparations for treatment of symptoms of PD and for alleviation of the involuntary movements (dyskinesias) that often plague patients who take levodopa for treatment of PD.

This talk reviews the “evidence base” for cannabis in Parkinson Disease. Most of the evidence for effects is weak with the strongest indications that cannabis and its preparations may be beneficial for improving sleep, quality of life and tremor in patients with PD. Mechanisms associated with some of these effects are reviewed.

1.5 general CEUs approved by OBNM

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