The health and medical field is seeing an increased interest in the use of medical marijuana to reduce symptoms of various ailments such as Parkinson’s disease, now that the herb has been legalized in many regions across the globe.
Results from a survey of Parkinson’s disease patients from Germany show that more than 8% of patients with the disease admitted to using marijuana products and more than half of those users, who made up roughly 54%, revealed that the products had been clinically beneficial.
Marijuana products that contain THC, which is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, are allowed to be prescribed in Germany when marijuana can help alleviate disabling symptoms and when prior therapies have not been tolerated by the patient or have been unsuccessful.
On the other hand, products containing pure cannabidiol (“CBD”), which is extracted from the hemp plant directly, are available on the internet as well as in pharmacies, and can be acquired without a prescription.
The researchers’ objective was to evaluate patients’s perceptions of medical marijuana while also assessing the experiences of patients who had already used marijuana products. They carried out a cross-sectional countrywide questionnaire-based survey among German Parkinson’s association members.
The association, Deutsche Parkinson Vereinigung, is the largest group of Parkinson’s disease patients, made up of about 21,000 members from German-speaking nations. The questionnaires were distributed in April 2019, both in the investigator’s clinic and with the group’s membership journal.
The researchers analyzed more than 1,300 questionnaires, with their results showing that the interest in medical marijuana in the Parkinson’s disease community was high. However, knowledge on different types of marijuana products was scanty. From the study population, only 9% of the respondents could differentiate between CBD and THC, 28% were informed on the different routes of administration, i.e., oral administration vs. inhaling, and 51% knew of medical marijuana’s legality.
The researchers found that tolerability was good, with 40% of the marijuana product users reporting that they helped alleviate muscle cramps and pain. Additionally, more than 20% of the users revealed a decrease in restless legs, anxiety, depression, tremors, freezing and a decline of stiffness.
Besides this, patients also reported that as compared to oral products which contained CBD, inhaled marijuana products that contained THC were more effective in remedying stiffness. However, those products were not well tolerated.
Dr. Carsten Buhmann, who was involved in the study, explained that the study’s findings confirmed that patients with Parkinson’s disease had a growing interest in treatment with medical marijuana but had limited knowledge on how to take it and how to differentiate between CBD and THC.
Buhmann then remarked that physicians should consider these angles when giving advice to their patients on treatment with medical marijuana. The findings, he said, may assist physicians in deciding on the type of cannabinoid a patient may benefit from, whether a patient could benefit from the treatment, the symptoms it may address as well as the suitable course of administration.
It should be remembered that cannabis medicines come in different forms, and extracts are fast becoming the go-to favorite among those forms. In Canada, Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) (OTC: PRXTF) is the undisputed leader in the extracts segment, which is estimated to have an annual value of $2.7 billion.
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