Improving Care in Dystonia via Medical Cannabis: Saar Anis, MD


The neurologist and movement disorders specialist at Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Center in Israel discussed future use of medical cannabis and concerns for psychiatric adverse effects.

“We know, especially using high-THC products, [and] especially at the beginning [of use], we should anticipate and look for cognitive and psychiatric side effects, and even psychosis…This is something that we as physicians have to know, have to study, and that's why I think this is the second direction of future research.”

Data from a small, retrospective study on the use of medical cannabis (MC) in treating patients with dystonia were presented at The International Parkinson and Movement Disorders (MDS) Society Virtual Congress 2021. NeurologyLive sat down with lead author Saar Anis, MD, as he discussed the future direction of patient care for this population and how he anticipates future research will integrate the use of MC. 

Anis, who is a neurologist and movement disorders specialist at the Movement Disorders Institute, neurology department, Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Center in Israel, called attention to the need to identify whether tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabidiol compounds are more optimal for improving symptoms of dystonia and hyperkinetic disorder in general. Another key area for investigation, Anis said, would be in evaluating dystonia etiology and whether MC is more effective, depending on the cause of the condition, whether genetics or Parkinson disease. 

Further discussed were psychiatric effects associated with MC use, which Anis noted as a concern physicians should be aware of, particularly at the initiation of usage, adjusting dosing as needed to resolve adverse effects.

For more coverage of MDS 2021, click here

Anis S, Faust-Socher D, Sverdlov D, Hezi N, Giladi N, Gurevich T. A real-life study of Medical Cannabis effect on adults with dystonia. Presented at MDS Congress 2021; September 17-22; Virtual. Poster 93. 
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