Randomized controlled trials on the use of cannabis-based medicines in movement disorders: a systematic review

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2022 Oct;129(10):1247-1256. doi: 10.1007/s00702-022-02529-x. Epub 2022 Jul 20.


Anecdotal references, preclinical, and non-randomized studies support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for movement disorders (MD). To create an evidenced-based point of view for patients and physicians, we performed a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCT) on the use of cannabinoids in MD. The seven RCTs found on PD used different cannabis formulations. No improvement of motor symptoms was shown in any of the two RCTs with this as primary outcome (PO), but in the nabilone group, an improvement in quality of life was documented. Of the three RCTs having levodopa-induced dyskinesia as PO, only one using nabilone showed a reduction. Anxiety and anxiety-induced tremor could be reduced in the cannabidiol group as well as anxiety and sleeping problems in the nabilone group in another RCT. In two RCTs with Tourette syndrome, an improvement in tics was revealed. From three RCTs on Huntington's disease only one found symptoms relief using nabilone. No reduction of dystonia could be shown in the two included RCTs. The limited number of available but small and inhomogeneous RCTs precludes reliable conclusions. Therefore, more and smartly designed RCTs are urgently needed.

Keywords: Cannabis-based medicine; Movement disorders; Randomized controlled trials.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Cannabinoids*
  • Cannabis*
  • Hallucinogens*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Tourette Syndrome* / drug therapy


  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Cannabinoids
  • Hallucinogens