By Mark Ackerman

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – For more than seven decades, Gary Griffin never tried marijuana. The Castle Rock businessman and former Airman considered it “The Devil’s Weed.”

But at 74, everything changed for Griffin when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He started looking for anything that might calm the constant shaking of his hands and the sleepless nights associated with the disease. He read anecdotal accounts from other patients about the benefits of CBD oil, derived from a non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant.

Gary Griffin (credit: CBS)

Reluctantly, he tried it.

(credit: CBS)

“My first drop,” Griffin remembered thinking. “I may not survive. I may go wild kicking off the balcony.”

“My doctor said,’Don’t go confusing your Googling with my medical degree.'”

Soon Griffin enrolled in Colorado’s first study measuring the effects of CBD oil on patients with Parkinson’s disease. He and a dozen other Parkinson’s patients took pharmaceutical grade CBD oil they got from their neurologist Dr. Maureen Leehey at the University of Colorado Hospital.

“We legalized medical marijuana before we knew it was effective for medical disorders,” said Dr. Leehey who has researched Parkinson’s disease for more than 30 years. “I heard anecdotal accounts from my patients about marijuana use and was concerned it might be dangerous.”

Dr. Maureen Leehey (credit: CBS)

In the first phase of her study, Dr. Leehey’s patients tolerated a low dose of CBD oil well. Many of her patients reported positive effects.

“They had a reduction in our assessment of their motor symptoms and improvement in their night time sleep,” she said.

But, she cautioned an upcoming “placebo controlled” phase of the study will be necessary to produce meaningful scientific results. Everyone in the first phase knew they were receiving CBD oil which can influence results.

As for Griffin, he only saw a small improvement with the shaking in his hands.

“I hoped for a miracle but it didn’t happen,” he said.

But, he saw a dramatic improvement in his sleep.

“Once I started taking CBD oil, I never had a sleepless night because I couldn’t relax my muscle groups,” he said.

It was so much of an improvement, the man who called marijuana “The Devil’s Weed” has started growing it and processing his own CBD oil at home.

“I’m not a stoner, but I am a proponent,” he said.

In addition to Parkinson’s Disease, Colorado researchers are currently working to determine if marijuana helps with sleep, pain and epilepsy.

Mark Ackerman is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. Follow him on Twitter @ackermanmark

Comments (6)
  1. Shirly Klasen says:

    The love of my life for the last 17 years was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease nearly 4 years ago, at age 52. He had a stooped posture, tremors, muscle stiffness, horrible driving skills, and slow movement. He was placed on Sinemet 50/200 at night for 7 months and then Sifrol and rotigotine were introduced which replaced the Sinemet but he had to stop due to side effects. He started having hallucinations, lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medications I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor’s knowledge) In March this year his primary physician suggested we started him on Natural Herbal Gardens Parkinson’s Herbal formula which eased his anxiety a bit, i’m happy to report this PD herbal treatment worked very effectively. His Parkinson’s is totally under control, he had a total decline in symptoms, the tremors, shaking, stiffness, slow movement and speech problems stopped.

  2. Visit Green House Herbal Clinic official web site ww w. greenhouseherbalclinic. Weebly. com. I feel alive again! The tremors, Shaking, Joint Stiffness and other symptoms has subsided.  I am very pleased with this treatment. I feel very well now and exercise regularly, sometimes i totally forget i ever had Parkinson’s, My family are amazed at the change and rapid recovery from PD. since the procedure I enjoy walking the dog for my daily exercise. DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!!


    Diagnosed last June after almost a year of many, many specialists telling me they had no idea what was wrong. My symptoms were all non-motor, insomnia, leg pain that will not go away, and anxiety issues. Had a DAT scan and that was the test that verified PD.

    Started on Requip, had such bad fatigue that I had to quit that and then started on Sinemet, no changes too. My son purchased PD herbal remedy online from Best Health Herbal Centre. My son said (Best Health Herbal Centre) to him that the herbal remedy will reverse my PD under 6 weeks. So after using the PD herbal remedy for 6 weeks, my PD was totally reversed. No more major fatigue, insomnia is better, leg pain disappeared. I can walk 4 miles now without feeling pain.

    I am 64, was diagnosed at 63. I thought i will die with brain fog and fatigue, but Best Health Herbal Centre saved my life.

  4. we r all getting old , this is 4 real . do not b affraid 2 ask your dr 4 it and if they r not friendly , move on 2 another dr .
    , god bless us all and 2 each their own

  5. My husband will be 81 years old next month and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 13 months ago. his main symptom were and rigidity or stiffness of his right-hand side.he also had some difficulty writing. The original diagnosis was confirmed three months later by a second neurologist. He was on one tablet of pramipexole (Sifrol), 0.25 mg three times a day. Four months ago his neurologist added Biperiden, 2 mg. he takes half a tablet of Biperiden three times a day. Since the original diagnosis, his stiffness has slowly increased. He lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medication I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started him on PD natural herbal formula we ordered from GREEN HOUSE HERBAL CLINIC, I spoke to few people who used the treatment here in Canada and they all gave a positive response, his symptoms totally declined over a 6 weeks use of the Green House Parkinson’s disease natural herbal formula. He is now almost 81 and doing very well, the disease is totally reversed! (Visit their website www . Greenhouseherbalclinic . com) I am thankful to nature, herbs are truly gift from God. Share with friends!!

  6. Eric Beery says:


Leave a Reply to geo (@georgedle3) Cancel reply