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Pain, Parkinson’s and PTSD – five new cannabis research studies

New research adds to the evidence base for the use of cannabis in chronic pain, Tourette’s, Parkinson’s, PTSD and lung cancer.



New research adds to the growing evidence base for the therapeutic potential of cannabis.

Recent studies add to the growing evidence base to support the use of cannabis in Tourette’s syndrome, PTSD, Parkinson’s and as a tool for chronic pain.

With a record number of research papers published on cannabis and its therapeutic potential in 2022, it can be hard to keep up. While regulators call for more scientific evidence, studies are ongoing across the globe investigating its role in managing the symptoms of a wide range of conditions.

In recent months, new studies have added to the growing evidence base for the use of cannabis as a tool for chronic pain, Parkinson’s and Tourette’s syndrome. Meanwhile, researchers make the case for cannabis-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD and CBD is found to slow tumour growth in an animal lung cancer model.

Here we explore five recent studies on the medicinal potential of cannabis.


CBD impedes tumour growth in lung cancer model

In a recent placebo-controlled trial, researchers implanted NCI H1437 human lung cancer cells in mice and treated them with either inhaled CBD or a placebo.

Their findings showed that CBD ‘decreased tumour growth rate’ and ‘suppressed expression of CD44 markers [a cell surface adhesion receptor that is highly expressed in many cancers] and the angiogenic factors VEGF and P-selectin which are present in tumour growth. 

The authors conclude: “These results suggest, for the first time, that inhalant CBD can impede lung cancer growth by suppressing CD44 and angiogenesis.”

Read the full study here 


Clinical trial supports use of cannabis in Tourette’s and tic disorders 

A randomised placebo-controlled, phase IIIb study examined the safety and efficacy of the cannabis-based extract nabiximols (Sativex) in adults with Tourette’s syndrome.

In secondary analyses, researchers identified ‘substantial trends’ in the improvements of tics, depression, and quality of life. Improvements were most prevalent in males, patients with more severe tics, and those with a diagnosis of ADHD. 

“…These subgroups may benefit better from treatment with cannabis-based medication,” the authors say.

“Our data further support the role of cannabinoids in the treatment of patients with chronic tic disorders.”

Read more on this study here 

Real world data on cannabis in chronic pain

Researchers analysing data from over 700 patients enrolled in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry found that treatment with cannabis-based medicines was associated with improvements in chronic pain. 

A total of 348 patients were treated with cannabis-based oil, dried flower, or both. Patients treated with oils or combination therapy recorded improvements in quality of life, pain, and sleep and follow-ups at one, three and six months. Patients treated with combination therapy recorded improvements in anxiety at all three follow ups. Read more 

A separate study of over 400 patients’ experiences of using cannabinoids to treat chronic pain found that those currently using the treatment reported ‘large improvements’ in all pain types, including ‘particularly difficult to treat chronic overlapping pain conditions’, improvements in comorbid symptoms such as sleep, and low interference from side effects. Read more here

Symptom-relief and opioid reduction in Parkinson’s disease 

According to data published in the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology this month, patients with Parkinson’s disease exhibit improved symptoms and reductions in their use of prescription opioids following treatment with medical cannabis.

Researchers assessed the use of cannabis products in 69 patients.  In total 87% of patients reported improvements in symptoms. Those with the highest incidence of improvement included cramping/dystonia, pain, spasticity, lack of appetite, dyskinesia [involuntary movements], and tremor. 

After starting cannabis treatment 56% of opioid users were able to decrease or discontinue opioid use.

The authors conclude: “The MC may improve motor and non-motor symptoms in patients with PD and may allow for reduction of concomitant opioid medication use. Large, placebo-controlled, randomised studies of MC use in patients with PD are required.”

Read more here

A case study for cannabis-assisted psychotherapy in PTSD

A case study published in February highlights the potential of cannabis-assisted psychotherapy (CAP) as a novel treatment for a dissociative subtype of post-traumatic stress disorder, known as D-PTSD.

A 28-year-old female underwent 10 sessions of CAP twice a month for over five months, alongside integrative cognitive behavioural therapy. 

Following treatment, the patient showed a 98.5% reduction in pathological dissociation, no longer meeting the criteria for the diagnosis and anecdotally sustained improvements for over two years. 

The authors say: “There is urgency to identify treatments for D-PTSD. The present case, while inherently limited, underscores the potential of CAP as a therapeutic option, leading to robust and sustained improvement.”

Read more on the case study here

Home » Science » Pain, Parkinson’s and PTSD – five new cannabis research studies

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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