Medical research by Austrian scientists points to cannabis as a powerful ally against Parkinson’s disease, as the components present in the plant’s molecular structure could help mitigate non-motor symptoms that are currently mostly ignored. The study serves as the first building block for further research, demonstrating that cannabis could help significantly improve the patient’s quality of life.
A group of Austrian scientists have successfully completed research which could prove that medical cannabis can mitigate non-motor Parkinson’s symptoms, such as perceptual disorders and other autonomic nervous system dysfunctions. This could change the way doctors treat this disease and become a powerful ally against it.
“This is the first time a randomized controlled study was done to examine the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis in the treatment of non-motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease,” the Innsbruck University Neurology Clinic reported in a statement on Thursday.
The result of the research has been published in the specialized journal Annals of Neurology and serves as potential proof that medical cannabis is a viable way to treat many diseases, and has the potential to change the medical landscape around the world.
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Cannabis could be the key to treat non-motor Parkinson’s symptoms
According to neurologist Klaus Seppi, one of the study authors, normally Parkinson’s is associated with tremors or muscle stiffness, but the truth is that “many patients suffer non-motor symptoms: they have depression, anxiety, problems sleeping. They are very common” he explained, making an emphasis that these can be treated with cannabis, according to the data gathered in the latest research.
“We have ample evidence that motor symptoms are treatable, but for non-motor symptoms there are hardly any treatments,” warns the Austrian researcher. He also reminds us that these can appear years before mobility problems develop, affecting the quality of life of the patients.
Cannabis research focused on ‘Nabilone’ as the main target
The medical study was carried out using a synthetic cannabinoid named ‘Nabilone’ , which has pharmacological properties similar to the common psychoactive component of cannabis.
“We decided to use ‘Nabilone’ because the company that produces it also supplies the placebo, but we could also have used other compounds with similar characteristics”, clarifies the scientist, who also mention that it was his own Parkinson’s patients who inspired the study, as they asked him to prescribe them medical cannabis.
“95% of neurologists from the Center of Excellence of the National Parkinson Research Foundation who participated in a survey on cannabis use had patients who asked for cannabis prescription”, this can be read in the statement from the University Clinic of Innsbruck Neurology
The researchers are hopeful that their work can serve as the basis for future cannabis studies, and that the study will help endorse this medicinal plant as a viable treatment for non-motor Parkinson’s symptoms.
“The problem is that it is very difficult to motivate pharmaceutical companies to carry out a trial”, since ‘Nabilone’ is very easy to produce and there is “a lot of supply” , warns Klaus Seppi, who maintains contacts to prepare a further trial , since the one that has been published is “completely academic, and to carry out a phase III study with only the University’s means would be impossible.”
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First published in Marca, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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