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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:874849. doi: 10.1155/2015/874849. Epub 2015 Mar 2.

Self-reported efficacy of cannabis and other complementary medicine modalities by Parkinson's disease patients in colorado.

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Deptartment of Neurology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.
Department of Economics, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80217, USA.
Colorado School of Public Health, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 80639, USA.



Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is frequently used by Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. We sought to provide information on CAM use and efficacy in PD patients in the Denver metro area with particular attention to cannabis use given its recent change in legal status.


Self-administered surveys on CAM use and efficacy were completed by PD patients identified in clinics and support groups across the Denver metro area between 2012 and 2013.


207 patients (age 69 ± 11; 60% male) completed the survey. Responses to individual CAM therapy items showed that 85% of respondents used at least one form of CAM. The most frequently reported CAMs were vitamins (66%), prayer (59%), massage (45%), and relaxation (32%). Self-reported improvement related to the use of CAM was highest for massage, art therapy, music therapy, and cannabis. While only 4.3% of our survey responders reported use of cannabis, it ranked among the most effective CAM therapies.


Overall, our cross-sectional study was notable for a high rate of CAM utilization amongst PD patients and high rates of self-reported efficacy across most CAM modalities. Cannabis was rarely used in our population but users reported high efficacy, mainly for nonmotor symptoms.

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