Cannabis may have medicinal uses in a variety of diseases. The neural mechanisms underlying dystonia involve abnormalities within the basal ganglia—in particular, overactivity of the lateral globus pallidus (GPl). Cannabinoid receptors are located presynaptically on GABA terminals within the GPi, where their activation reduces GABA reuptake. Cannabinoid receptor stimulation may thus reduce overactivity of the GPl and thereby reduce dystonia. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, crossover study using the synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist nabilone in patients with generalised and segmental primary dystonia showed no significant reduction in dystonia following treatment with nabilone. © 2001 Movement Disorder Society.