GeneFo has created a free state-by-state guide for Parkinson’s patients with detailed and relevant information on medical cannabis, including the application process.
Updated to March 2018, the guide may help patients get additional therapy and improve their lives. It includes legal information, patient’s rights, an application checklist, links and forms to download, and important tips for each state.
Although cannabis remains federally illegal in the U.S., many states have legalized cannabis for valid medical purposes. As of March 2018, 16 states consider Parkinson’s disease a qualified condition, and 13 states qualified symptoms that may occur in Parkinson’s, such as pain, nausea, and muscle spasms.
“However, the process of getting a card approval is not smooth in most states, and requires gathering information and documents, clinical certifications, and administrative forms,” Neer Ziskind, CEO of GeneFo, said in a press release.
Genefo, an online platform with free Parkinson’s resources and clinical trial matching, created the comprehensive guide to help patients and caregivers navigate the process.
For most states, to qualify for medical cannabis, patients must:
- have proof of residence in that state.
- possess legitimate medical records from a primary care doctor describing their diagnosis.
- have a certification from a doctor from that state saying the patient has a qualified condition, such as Parkinson’s, or qualified symptoms, such as chronic pain, nausea, tremors, that would likely improve with medical cannabis.
- register with the state’s Department of Health and often in the state’s “Medical Marijuana Program” to obtain a medical marijuana card. Registration fees range from $38.50 to $100, depending on the state.
Some states require that caregivers also be registered.
Current therapies for Parkinson’s disease can help manage symptoms, but are often associated with adverse events. The use of alternative therapies, such as cannabis — also called marijuana — are increasing among Parkinson’s patients to help improve their symptoms.
Numerous studies have been conducted on cannabis and its active components as a potential treatment for several neurodegenerative conditions. While not entirely conclusive, research on cannabis shows promise for people with Parkinson’s disease.
A study published in Clinical Neuropharmacology showed that cannabis reduced tremors and pain, and improved sleep quality in Parkinson’s patients within 30 minutes of consumption. Other studies have also found evidence of cannabis’ benefits in this patient population, including recent results published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine reporting that medical cannabis is a safe and effective way for older people to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s, cancer, and other diseases, particularly pain.
However, the lack of robust clinical data prevents doctors from recommending it because its effects on patients are not fully understood. Before being widely accepted as a therapy, larger, more adequate clinical trials are necessary to confirm its benefits in Parkinson’s patients. And major efforts are starting to move in that direction.
Full access and detailed information for GenFo’s guide to medical cannabis is available here.
“We trust that this free resource will help more PD patients secure an additional therapeutic avenue and improve their daily living,” Ziskind said.