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Published Apr 24, 23
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All legislation underlines that the unregulated use of cannabis products remains illegal and that the legislation does not equate to the decriminalisation of marijuana for recreational use or for the personal use of marijuana for self-treatment purposes. Much has been put in place by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to provide the basis for prescribing medicinal cannabis.

Patients will need a prescription from the treating doctor to obtain medicinal cannabis. This will come under the Special Access Scheme (SAS). If the prescribed medicine is more than 2% THC (the part of cannabis that creates a “high”) then it is considered very restricted and the doctor needs to apply for an additional Schedule 8 permit.

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Driving while impaired by any drug, prescribed or not, is an offence. Prescribed CBD is not an illicit drug under the Road Safety Act in Victoria. However, CBD would be considered a drug by the Road Safety Act if it deprives the person consuming it of any of his/her mental or physical capacities.

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When being prescribed a medicinal cannabis product it is important to use it in accordance with the prescribing doctor’s directions and to seek advice as to driving a motor vehicle while using that specific product. The renewed interest in the potential for Cannabis or its extracts to provide some symptom benefit in Parkinson’s disease is encouraging.

Fight Parkinson’s concludes that there is a lack of evidence about the benefits and safety of medicinal cannabis products in treating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Fight Parkinson’s is supportive of appropriate ethically approved scientific research into the therapeutic benefits of medicinal cannabis. In the face of limited evidence we recommend that individuals who wish to access medicinal cannabis fully inform themselves of any benefits, risks and costs, discuss these with a medical practitioner and also explore any other treatment options.

Kluger B, Triolo P, Jones W, Jankovic J. , Movement Disorders Vol 30 No 3, 2015 Carroll CB, Bain PG, Teare BM, Lui X, Joint C, Wroath BA, Parkin SG, Fox P, Wright D, Hobart J, Zajicek JP, . Neurology October 2004 Stampanoni Bassi M,Sancesario A, Moreace R, Centonze D, Iezzi E Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Vol 2.

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Cannabis is the most widely used recreational drug worldwide, with many variants that have been used both medicinally in the treatment or management of various diseases, including chronic pain, as well as being used recreationally to achieve a high. Recently, Canada became the first major western country after Uruguay to legalize marijuana/cannabis for recreational and medicinal use and cultivation.

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Lifestyle Discover / Shutterstock Medical cannabis is often sold as cannabidiol (CBD) oil. It is a major cannabinoid from hemp plants. However, CBD oil does not usually contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the main psychoactive substance of cannabis. Dried cannabis can also be sold in some countries/states as medical marijuana, and often produces the full effects of cannabis.

The brain has a rich expression of cannabinoid receptors in various sites, such as the G-protein coupled receptor GPR6 within the basal ganglia (a key part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s). Studies investigating the oral intake of CBD oil (and smoking cannabis) in the treatment of Parkinsonian symptoms have observed generally positive results.

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In another study, 56% of a small cohort of patients showed improvement in mood and sleep issues. In a larger study of 339 Czech patients with Parkinson’s who were routinely using cannabis leaves orally (CBD + THC), there was significant improvement in resting tremors, bradykinesia and rigidity with little or no side effects overall.

Studies focusing on the use of CBD oil alone show mixed results. One study showed that oral CBD oil reduced psychotic symptoms in Parkinson’s patients, but with little effect on dyskinesia. However, it produced generic improvement in physical state as well as in insomnia-related issues. Larger studies are necessary to confirm these findings, however, as these studies had a relatively small sample size (

More research is desperately needed to convince governments to legalize medicinal cannabis for treatment purposes, following Canada’s example) Nnumerous observational studies have reported improvement in symptoms with the use of CBD oil by patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and MS patients. However, some studies have questioned the efficacy of CBD oil alone, or if THC, linalool and limonene extracts should also be incorporated in the specific treatment of these conditions, such as for neuroprotection.