Study shows synthetic THC is effective for non-movement Parkinson's Disease symptoms

Nabilone is a man-made, or synthetic molecule similar to naturally-occurring Delta 9-THC found in cannabis plants. It was approved for use in the U.S. by the FDA in 2006.

This small open-label study examined the effects of nabilone (also called Cesamet) on non-movement symptoms, or NMS (primarily sleep and pain) in long-term Parkinson's patients (9.3 years since diagnosis). It was published in the journal NPJ Parkinson's Disease in March 2024.

19 patients (about half female) with median age of 68 used Nabilone continuously for 6 months.  All of them had responded to Nabilone treatment in a previous double-blind study with minimal side effects. This time, these responding patients knew what product they were taking (an "open-label" study).

The average dose of Nabilone was 0.87 mg per day with a range from 0.25 to 1.5 mg per day. Nabilone typically comes in capsule form; 1 mg is a common strength for each capsule.


Efficacy evaluation showed a significant and lasting improvement in NMS burden

Nabilone improved overall sleep, night-time sleep problems, and overall pain

the efficacy results suggest that most PD patients benefitting from cannabinoids continue to be treatment responders even after six months.

there was no continuous overall cognitive decline associated with long-term nabilone use


In summary, Nabilone use was correlated with lasting NMS improvement without cognitive decline. It also helped improve sleep quality and reduce pain. Additionally, the authors stated that these improvements continued even after 6 months of treatment.

Authors' conclusion:

This study demonstrates continuous long-term safety and efficacy in PD patients responding early to nabilone without intolerable side effects.


The full text article is here at PubMed Central.



Peball M, Heim B, Carbone F, Schorr O, Werkmann M, Ellmerer P, Marini K, Krismer F, Knaus HG, Poewe W, Djamshidian A, Seppi K. Long-term safety and efficacy of open-label nabilone on sleep and pain in Parkinson´s Disease. NPJ Parkinsons Dis. 2024 Mar 15;10(1):61. doi: 10.1038/s41531-024-00665-7. PMID: 38491070; PMCID: PMC10943069.