A nonprofit organization has released new data regarding Parkinson’s disease (PD) and medicinal cannabis use.
The Foundation distributed the survey to 7,607 PD patients in January 2020, analyzing a total of 1,064 complete responses from 49 states.
The average age of the respondents was 71, with seven years being the average time spent living with PD.
Last year, the Parkinson’s Foundation released a medical cannabis consensus to provide guidance for PD patients who use cannabis.
The Foundation also looked to use the consensus to discover knowledge gaps and address them through research.
“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,” says Parkinson’s Foundation CEO and Senior VP James Beck Ph.D. “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 January 2020 survey asked PD patients how they use cannabis to mitigate symptoms, motivation for use, and side effects.
There were also questions in the survey for non-using PD patients regarding why they refrain from medicinal cannabis use.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 25 percent of respondents indicated that they had used cannabis within the past six months.
Less than 13 percent of cannabis-consuming PD patients reported negative side effects from medicinal cannabis use.
More than half of respondents said they had learned about cannabis use from the internet, friends, or other people with PD.
The Foundation says that the survey results reveal a knowledge gap among people with PD, which may affect decisions about cannabis use.
Survey results show that 55 percent of respondents received no information on cannabis types, dosage, or frequency of use.
Sixty-four percent said they did not receive a recommendation from a licensed doctor or provider.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 89 percent of respondents said that cannabis was not a replacement for their prescription PD medication.
The Foundation says that until now, there has been insufficient data regarding PD patients’ experiences with cannabis and their attitudes about it—disparities which the Foundation aims to address with the survey.