These days, people with Parkinson’s disease tend to ask their doctors more questions about cannabis than any other subject; yet, few physicians have adequate answers for them.
The March 6-7 meeting will bring together about 40 top scientists, clinicians, physicians and marijuana industry executives, said James Beck, MD, the foundation’s chief scientific officer.
“There’s never been anything quite like this before,” Beck told Parkinson’s News Today by phone from his New York office. “Not a lot is known when it comes to Parkinson’s and medical marijuana. Our goal is to outline what we know and what we don’t know, what might be useful for Parkinson’s and what might not be useful.”
He added: “Medical marijuana may have its utilities for treating some symptoms, but it isn’t a silver bullet.”
The survey, conducted jointly by the Parkinson’s Foundation and Chicago’s Northwestern University, found that 80% of Parkinson’s patients have used cannabis, and that 95% of neurologists have been asked to prescribe medical marijuana. But only 23% of doctors have ever received formal education on the subject.
In addition, 52% of the 56 experts who responded to the 73-item online survey took a neutral position on cannabis use with their patients, 9% discouraged its use, and 39% encouraged it.
“Having worked as a clinician for the past decade in Colorado — a state at the forefront of medical marijuana use — it is clear that people with Parkinson’s and their families are