Cannabis use brings subjective improvement

of motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease



Bushka Bryndova, 1.09.2005

According the survey on cannabis use in patients suffering of Parkinson’s disease carried on in the Czech Republic, long-term use of cannabis mitigates symptoms of this illness.

The survey data were published in the journal Movement Disorders of 2004, Vol. 19, No. 9, pp. 1102-1106. Team of researchers at Charles University in Prague led by Dr. Evzen Ruzicka surveyed 339 patients with Parkinson’s disease registered at Prague Movement Disorders Centre. One quarter of respondents said that they had taken cannabis medically, and approximately half of these reported that it alleviated symptoms of the disease.

Respondents most often replied that cannabis improved their bradykinsia (extreme slowness of movement and reflexes), as well as muscle rigidity and tremor. In addition, patients who reported having used cannabis for at least three months „reported significantly more often a mild or substantial alleviation of their PD symptoms in general“ than those who had only used cannabis short-term. Only 4 patients (4.7%) reported that cannabis actually worsened their symptoms.

„The late onset of cannabis action is noteworthy,“ authors wrote. „Because most patients reported that improvement occurred approximately two months after the first use of cannabis, it is very unlikely that it could be attributed to a placebo reaction.“ The survey was made by anonymous questionnaires.

„Even though a possible placebo reaction and other cofounders … have to be taken into account, it seems that various cannabinoids or other compounds targeting the endogenous cannabinoid system might be useful in the treatment of PD symptoms … and this field definitely deserves further research,“ authors concluded.

None of the patients reported having had previously used cannabis recreationally. None had been advised to use cannabis by a doctor, and all patients continued using the antiparkinsonian therapy recommended by their neurologist.

Considering the fact that average age of surveyed patients was 65,7 years and they never had any experience with recreational use of cannabis, it might be bewildering that they got the idea of using this therapy. In fact, Czech media including the most popular commercial TV published over the last years a quite important number of information on mitigating effects of cannabis in Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. An elderly Parkinsoninan patient, Mr. Ponikelsky (a patient of Dr. Ruzicka), courageously stood up in front of the TV cameras and publicly admitted to grow and use cannabis for his disease, although even medicinal use of cannabis is forbidden and might be punished by years of prison. His example inspired many other patients suffering of this disease and explains the relatively elevated number of cannabis users in the aforementioned survey. Brave Mr. Ponikelsky became a well-known figure on the Czech media scene and his recipe for cannabis powder that he used for his therapy was published in several popular magazines.

Cannabis powder for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD):

Put manually crushed leaves and buds of a female plant of cannabis to an electric oven heated at 100°C and leave them there during 10 minutes. Crush the dried mixture of leaves and buds in an electric crusher in order to obtain a powder of fine consistence. The powder is now prepared for use. It should be stored in a glass recipient with a tight cover at the temperature of 15°C during max. 3 months.

The powder can be added to food or directly swallowed with some liquid. It should be used once a day, the best in the evening in the quantity that will hold on the point of a butter-knife. If there are any stupefying effects produced, it is necessary to diminish the dose. The cannabis cure can be continually followed for 90 days at the maximum. After this period it is necessary to stop the therapy for at least two weeks and survey the reaction of organism. If there is no improvement noticed during these 90+14 days, cannabis treatment is not appropriate for the patient.