The Movement Disorder Society

MDS 17th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, Volume 28,
June 2013 Abstract Supplement

Movement Disorders 2013
Sydney, Australia June 16-20, 2013.

Medical marijuana (cannabis) treatment for motor and non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease. An open-label observational study

Lotan ,  I., Treves ,  T., Roditi ,  Y., Djaldetti ,  R.

Petah Tiqva, Israel


To assess the clinical effect of Cannabis on the motor and non-motor symptoms of PD.


Recent years have witnessed a substantial increase in the use of Cannabis as a therapeutic agent for various medical conditions. In some studies cannabinoid agonists have failed to improve the motor deficits in MPTP-primates whereas in others motor activity was improved. The results in human studies are also conflicting.


17 PD patients (mean age 64.2 years, mean disease duration 7.3 years) currently using Cannabis (with permission of the Israeli Ministry of Health) as add on therapy were recruited. The effect of Cannabis on the motor symptoms of the disease was evaluated using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) at baseline and 30 minutes after smoking Cannabis. The effect on non-motor symptoms of PD and its side effects were evaluated using the visual analogue scale (VAS), the present pain intensity scale (PPI), the Short-Form Mcgill Pain Questionnaire and the Medical Cannabis Survey National Drug and Alcohol Research Center Questionnaire.


There was an overall significant improvement in the mean total motor UPDRS score (33.5 ±14.6 before vs. 22.9 ±11.2 after cannabis smoking; P < 0.001). Analysis of different motor symptoms revealed significant improvement for tremor, rigidity and bradykinesia (P =0.001, P=0.002, P<0.001 respectively). Cannabis smoking had no effect on posture. In addition, there was a significant improvement in pain scores following treatment. VAS and the Present Pain Intensity (PPI) pain scales significantly improved from 4.83 ±3.71 and 2.39 ±1.75 before treatment to 0.89 ±1.27 and 0.50±0.7 after cannabis smoking; respectively. Patients reported bad taste and drowsiness as main side effects.


Cannabis holds promise as another treatment option for PD. It can apparently alleviate not only the motor symptoms but also the non-motor symptoms, especially PD-related pain and sleep, thereby improving patient quality of life.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Lotan, I., Treves, T., Roditi, Y., Djaldetti, R.; Medical marijuana (cannabis) treatment for motor and non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease. An open-label observational study [abstract]. Movement Disorders 2013;28 Suppl 1 :448