Acta Neurol Scand. 2022 Feb 17. doi: 10.1111/ane.13602. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of use, attitudes toward, and experiences with cannabis and cannabis-related products among people with Parkinson’s disease (PwP) living in Norway.
METHODS: Between February and August 2021, PwP and their caregivers were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey study on cannabis use. N = 530 PwP completed the 24-item survey collecting data on the participants’ history of cannabis use, perceived benefits and adverse effects of cannabis use, and expectations toward health care professionals. N = 108 caregivers completed a brief survey detailing their experience with cannabis use.
RESULTS: A total of 59 (11.3%) of PwP reported previous or current use of cannabis, compared to 7 (6.6%) of caregivers. Cannabis use was associated with increased disease duration, but not age or gender. Improvement in motor function (69.5%), sleep (52.5%), and pain (37.3%) was the most frequently perceived benefits of cannabis use, with benefits more frequently reported by current than previous users. While half (50.8%) of cannabis users had sought advice from a health care professional regarding cannabis use, only 55 (19.9%) of non-users with an interest in cannabis use had discussed the topic with health care professionals. Principal barriers for discussing cannabis use with health care professionals are discussed.
CONCLUSIONS: One in 20 PwP reports cannabis use, and non-users report widespread interest in cannabis. The use of cannabis is often not reported and unknown for health care professionals, arguing for a vigilant approach to non-prescribed cannabis use in clinical follow-up of PwP.