Parkinson’s forum gives medical marijuana users a viable platform

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The forum sheds light on the number of individuals turning to cannabis for relief from Parkinson’s

A survey was recently conducted online among physicians who are involved in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The results were impressive, showing that around 80% of the patients admitted to using cannabis to treat the symptoms and 95% had asked for a neurologist’s recommendation to purchase medical marijuana.

The overwhelming response of the survey, which was created by the Parkinson’s Foundation and Northwestern University in Illinois, led to the creation of a conference that was held in Denver, CO last month. 45 experts from across the globe descended on the city to discuss medical marijuana and its use in treating those with Parkinson’s. It was the first time since the Parkinson’s Foundation was formed 62 years ago that it publicly discussed medical marijuana as a possible treatment for the disease.

According to the senior director of research programs at the Parkinson’s Foundation, Dr. Beth Vernaleo, “The results of the survey were alarming. Not only are the majority of patients using medical cannabis, but few physicians have received the training necessary in order to help guide their patients in its use.”

She added, “While the [Parkinson’s] Foundation cannot recommend the use of medical cannabis for Parkinson’s at this time due to lack of conclusive evidence of efficacy, our hope is to educate the patient and medical communities so they can make informed decisions regarding its use.”

According to several physicians who attended the conference, however, there is enough anecdotal evidence to support the use of cannabis in treating many symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, including weight loss, anxiety, nausea, pain and sleep dysfunction.