There is a growing interest in medical cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of various conditions, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). The Journal of Parkinson’s Disease reports that over 8% of Parkinson’s patients in Germany have tried some variation of a cannabis product to help ease associated symptoms. In today’s blog, we’ll break down the benefits of cannabis in patients with PD.
Out of the patients in Germany, more than half of these patients (54%) noted that cannabis created a positive effect on their Parkinson’s symptoms. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol—the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) can be prescribed in Germany when previous therapies have failed or refused to work, or when cannabis can be considered to have a chance of alleviating disabling symptoms. Currently, cannabis (pure cannabidiol) is available over-the-counter at pharmacies and online. It is derived from the hemp plant, which is a distant relative of the marijuana plant.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
People who suffer from Parkinson’s disease experience progressive changes in the nervous system that can eventually affect the way they move, speak, and write. Symptoms include mild muscle stiffness, tremors, and tingling in the hands. Parkinson’s disease can also manifest itself through bradykinesia, a muscle stiffness that makes it difficult for sufferers to move as easily as they used to. Movement disorders are among the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and these symptoms have a neurological basis. Related diseases include cerebral palsy and Tourette syndrome.
In the United States, an estimated one million adults suffer from Parkinson’s disease; other symptoms include tremors and slowed movements. Parkinson’s disease is often misunderstood by older patients, who believe it is an inevitable part of aging. Parkinson’s disease is attributed to low levels of dopamine in the central area of the brain. When the dopamine cells die in sufferers, it becomes difficult to control movements and do certain things. Symptoms increase as well as dopamine levels as the disease progresses.
People with this disease do not die directly from it, but it has no cure and worsens over time. Michael J. Fox and Muhammed Ali are some of the celebrities who suffer from Parkinson’s. Due to the rebellious nature of the disease, there is an increased focus on finding a way to at least treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s. For this reason, marijuana and Parkinson’s are the subjects of much discussion and research.
Potential Benefits of Cannabis on PD
Cannabis shows promising therapeutic effects for people with Parkinson’s disease. Cannabis is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substance with neuroprotective properties. This means that it can help treat neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Neurological problems, such as difficulty moving and thinking, are alleviated when the nerve cells in the body and brain are protected.
Helps with anxiety
Cannabis can also help relieve anxiety symptoms caused by tremors. In a published study by Brazilian researchers, cannabis reduced anxiety and tremors in over 60 Parkinson’s patients. In a study of patients who took 300 milligrams of cannabis before a lecture (public lectures are a classic anxiety trigger), fewer symptoms occurred than in a placebo-controlled group.
These results build on exciting findings from previous studies. Researchers at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, made an important discovery a few years ago. They discovered that cannabis could boost dopamine production to counteract the steady loss of dopaminergic neurons that accompanies PD.
The endocannabinoid system, which is distributed throughout our bodies, regulates hunger, pain sensitivity, temperament, memory, and many other functions. Patients with Parkinson’s disease are affected by these natural receptors. According to the ongoing analyses, cannabis seems to provide relief from tremors, psychosis, and sleep problems.
Cannabis can not only alleviate depression and anxiety but can also reduce pain. According to a study conducted at the Colorado School of Medicine, the treatment can relieve tremors and sleep disorders. Cannabis is also being studied as a possible treatment for psychosis in Parkinson’s dementia. So far, patients have reported positive results using low doses of cannabis oil.
It is not uncommon for people living with Parkinson’s to ask the question, “Does cannabis help with PD?”. Research is increasingly showing that cannabis and Parkinson’s may have a positive relationship. The potential benefits of cannabis for Parkinson’s patients include its ability to relieve pain, its anti-inflammatory effects, and its neuroprotective properties. Researchers are still studying the effects of cannabis on Parkinson’s disease and whether or not the dangers are worth the benefits.