Marijuana and Parkinsons

Treating Parkinson's Disease With Marijuana

Can Parkinson’s disease patients benefit from a medical marijuana regimen and alleviate the discomfort and pain of its debilitating symptoms? “In addition to symptom management,” states one report, “cannabis may also slow down the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability…”  In this article, we will discuss the utilization of treating Parkinson’s Disease with Marijuana.

To date, 30-plus states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana for the treatment of multiple medical issues, including Parkinson’s disease. The anecdotal evidence and studies thus far are encouraging and strongly indicate the powerful healing properties of cannabis. Not surprisingly, many Parkinson’s patients using medical marijuana have reported significant relief from their symptoms.

Thousands of individuals suffering from the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s are successfully using medical cannabis, extracts, and marijuana-infused medications. These same patients are reporting improved quality of life due to the taming of symptoms and the slowing of the progression of their condition. 

The news is heartening, however, more research is needed to assess the full range of health benefits of medical marijuana.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is the second most prevalent neurological disorder. This horrendous condition is caused by an inexplicable phenomenon known as “neuron death” in the midbrain. 

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:

  • Tremors

  • Rigidity

  • Severe postural instability

Old age seems to be the trigger for the onset of Parkinson’s disease, however, genetic anomalies may be the cause in some cases.

There are some effective standard treatments for Parkinson’s disease, however, they offer no curative powers or do anything to slow the inevitable progression of the condition. These traditional remedies only temporarily reduce existing symptoms.

The traditional medications used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, unfortunately, come with a host of unwanted, unpleasant side effects such as:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Slurred speech

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • On occasion, death

Many Parkinson’s patients who use marijuana for symptom-relief have reported only a handful of mild side effects, including:

  • Change in appetite

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

These side effects might be attributable to the type of cannabis product being used. It is wise to try different delivery methods if these side effects are present after usage.

Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat Parkinson’s Symptoms?

Chronic inflammation is a dominant symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Medical marijuana is known to modulate the inflammatory response. This in turn slows the progression and even potentially the onset of neurodegeneration.

Oxidative stress is a culpable factor in the destruction of nerve cells and brain neurons. Cannabis contains strong antioxidant properties and is known to be neural-protective. 

Moreover, Parkinson’s patients who used medical marijuana report a significant decrease in depression and fatigue. 

Research On Medical Marijuana In the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease

In spite of the vast anecdotal, lab, and clinical evidence surrounding the efficacy of medical marijuana for treatment of Parkinson’s and multiple neurological disorders, considerable controversy still exists.

However, some reputable medical journals have published the following reports:

  • Researchers from London’s Institute of Neurology reported: “In addition to symptom management, cannabis may also slow down the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability in multiple sclerosis and probably other neurodegenerative diseases.”
  • Dr. Andras Bilkey-Gorzo reported in a 2012 research review: “At first sight, it is striking that cannabinoid, substances known to impair cognitive functions, could be beneficial in neurodegenerative cognitive disorders. However, [we found] cannabinoid receptor activation could reduce oxidative stress and excitotoxicity, suppress neuroinflammatory processes, and thus alleviate the symptoms of neurodegenerative motor and cognitive diseases.”
  • In an early study, Dr. Sanchez-Ramos reported that cannabis is shown to potentially “slow the onset and progression of neurodegenerative conditions.” In this early study, it was shown that cannabinoids facilitate antioxidative and neuroprotective actions.
  • In March 2014 the British Journal of Pharmacology made this statement: “A common issue with neurological disorders is the chronic inflammation of neurons. Both THC and CBD have been shown to produce strong anti-inflammatory responses that may trigger the onset of neurological diseases. Furthermore, THC and CBD have antioxidant properties and are known to protect against the degeneration of neurons and nerve cells in the brain.”
  • And, finally, a randomized controlled trial from August 2015, was reviewed by the American Academy of Neurology and reported the possible efficacy of medical marijuana for the treatment of neurological diseases. The trials indicated the ability of cannabis to relieve the pain and spasticity associated with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.

Best Marijuana Strains for Treating Parkinson’s Disease

Medical marijuana strains for Parkinson’s disease can be tailored to individual needs, in terms of lifestyle and the types of symptoms the patient is experiencing. specific cannabis strains contain varying ratios of THC to CBD.

For example, if a patient doesn’t want the intoxication that comes with a high-THC strain, a high-CBD strain may be the answer.  

If an individual prefers pure CBD strains, dried flower and CBD oils can be purchased over the counter online almost anywhere in the U.S.

Another important consideration is the delivery method. Cannabis products come in a wide menu of options including dried flower for smoking or cooking, vape oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles, topicals, patches, and more. 

These medical marijuana strains have been shown to be effective in relieving the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:

  • GG4

  • Wedding Cake

  • Gelato 

  • Granddaddy Purple

  • Forbidden Fruit

  • Bruce Banner

  • Amnesia Haze

  • Blue Cookies

Patients should talk to a knowledgeable budtender about the more effective strains on their menu for their needs. 

In summary, many Parkinson’s disease patients are finding that medical marijuana and CBD products safely provide them with relief from their pain, spasticity, seizures, and other serious side effects. There exists a wide variety of strains, product formulas, and delivery methods. A unique medical marijuana treatment can be formulated for each individual’s needs. 

Treatment options should always be discussed with a qualified healthcare provider. 

Click here to learn more about how to get a medical marijuana card in your state.

Click here to find a certified medical marijuana doctor in your area.

How To Get Medical Marijuana Card For Parkinson's

In most states with medical marijuana programs, patients suffering from Parkinson’s will first need to contact a state-certified medical marijuana doctor. An appointment can be set up by phone to determine if the patient has a qualifying condition. This will be followed up by an in-person evaluation or online telemedicine consultation.

Parkinson’s patients in states where marijuana is legal for all adults are highly advised to discuss treating Parkinson’s Disease with Marijuana with their doctor.

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