We’re always excited to provide new information on research into the medical use of cannabis. Now, there’s news on research into Parkinson’s disease and medical marijuana. Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative brain disorder. Patients face the worst prognosis: there is no known cure for this debilitating disease. But, there is hope. The latest news from the Parkinson’s Foundation shows cannabis as a new treatment option. The Parkinson's Foundation announced the results of its medical cannabis and Parkinson's disease (PD) survey. The survey, Weeding Through the Haze: A Survey on Cannabis Use Among People Living with Parkinson's Disease in the U.S., was completed by 1,064 people with PD.
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. About a quarter of the respondents used cannabis within the previous six months. Less than 13 percent reported negative side effects from cannabis use. Interestingly, more than half of the respondents learned about cannabis use from the internet or from friends or other people with PD.
Organic Remedies is Helping Patients Find Answers.
At Organic Remedies, we turn to our pharmacists when questions arise. PharmD Shannon Ye, from our Enola, Pa. dispensary was pleased to see the new Parkinson’s Foundation study, but said “Unfortunately, few of the patients I speak with inquire about how medical cannabis could help manage and alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.”
The findings point to a different direction among Parkinson’s patients; they want to know what’s available to help them, but medical cannabis doesn’t always come to mind. “I am not surprised at this finding,” said Ye. “I can recall that the majority of initial patients I've spoken to who live with Parkinson's disease are unaware of key aspects of medical cannabis. Many of these patients lack knowledge regarding the potential side effects and dosages of medical cannabis or may have learned from inaccurate or misleading sources.”
Parkinson’s Foundation Looking for Better Outcomes
"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," said James Beck, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson's Foundation. "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."
The survey results show that there is a knowledge gap among people living with PD, which may be impacting their decisions about cannabis use. More than half of the respondents were not provided any information on how to use cannabis such as dosage, type and frequency of use. More than 60% had not received a cannabis recommendation from a licensed doctor or provider and overall, 89 percent said cannabis was not a replacement for their PD prescription medication.
Organic Remedies’ Superior Patient Experience
Those numbers may surprise you if you are a patient of Organic Remedies. A full 60 percent did not get advice from a medical professional. We offer a superior relationship between the patient and pharmacist. Ye says, “For new and current patients living with Parkinson's disease who have a medical marijuana certification, I highly encourage them to schedule a consultation. As a pharmacist at Organic Remedies, my priority is in providing quality patient care and offering education and recommendations that may best accomplish my patients' treatment goals.”
Organic Remedies Research with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Organic Remedies’ vision is to be a leader in the advancement of medical cannabis therapy through innovative genetic programs, patient-focused care, and clinical research to realize the full potential of marijuana to improve overall wellness.
Our mission is to improve the overall wellness of our patients by producing and dispensing affordable quality medical marijuana products while continuing the advancement of medical marijuana therapies through genetics, collaborative research, and superior patient care. Right now, our research with PCOM is well underway.
While not focused on Parkinson’s disease, the quality of life surrounding medical marijuana use is central to Organic Remedies’ scientific approach. "As part of our research partnership with Organic Remedies, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) is investigating how quality of life may change in the year after patients initiate medical marijuana treatment," said Michelle Lent, PhD, associate professor of clinical psychology at PCOM. "Specifically, we are evaluating changes in their emotional, social, occupational, and physical functioning."
The Parkinson’s Foundation Conclusion
In the U.S., 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.