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Does Pot Help Parkinson’s

What Does The Future Hold

77-Year-Old Coloradan With Parkinson’s Does An About Face On Marijuana

Cannabis may be a future Parkinsons treatment but for now, we need conclusive evidence of the benefits and to better understand appropriate formulations and dosages, the side-effects and interactions with other medications, and any long-term risks. A lot more research is required both in the lab and in clinical trials, including into specific molecules isolated from the plant, in order to achieve these goals.

Expert Advice About Medical Marijuana For Parkinsons

According to a report from, you should follow these tips if youre trying cannabis for Parkinsons :

  • Never substitute medical marijuana for your PD medications and always work with your doctor as there may be potential drug interactions.
  • Understand that cannabis remains unregulated and the effects can vary by strain. Try to stay consistent when you find one you like and buy from the same source.
  • You may also want to experiment with patches or cannabis-infused creams for relief of localized pain on your body.

Medical marijuana in Florida has been legalized for debilitating medical conditions and Parkinsons disease is included.

Does Parkinsons Disease Protect From Smoking

What if cigarette smoking does not actually confer a positive biological effect on the brain to protect from PD, but rather some aspect of PD biology leads to less of a tendency to smoke? Dopamine is the main addiction chemical in the brain, so it stands to reason that in a PD brain, with a reduced amount of dopamine, there will be less of a tendency for addiction. Other hypotheses suggest that people with PD may have alterations in how their brains utilize nicotine, or how the nicotine interacts with the dopaminergic neurons, leading to less of a tendency to become addicted to it.

This possibility was explored in a paper that demonstrated that people with PD who did smoke found it easier to quit smoking as compared to controls, and people with PD utilized reduced amounts of nicotine substitutes in order to quit as compared to controls. This suggested that people with PD have a less intense addiction than controls, leading to the overall decreased smoking rates.

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Forget Fava Beans For Parkinsons

Fava beans contain an amino acid known as levodopa. Levodopa is an active ingredient in some Parkinsons medications. Seems like a good reason to eat a lot of fava beans, right?

Nope. Dr. Gostkowski explains that the amount in the beans is tiny compared to whats in your medication. You cant eat enough fava beans to have any effect on your symptoms, he says.

Bananas also have levodopa in them, Dr. Gostkowski says. But, like fava beans, its not possible to eat enough bananas to affect PD symptoms. Of course, if you like fava beans or bananas, enjoy! But dont go overboard or expect them to work like medication. Eat a variety of fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains for balance.

Where Is Marijuana Use Legal

Medical Marijuana and Parkinsons Disease: Is It Safe ...

As of November 2017, marijuana use is legal for medical use in 29 states, and 5 states have approved it specifically for PD. Use should be physician certified, and then patients must register to possess and use any form of marijuana.

Tetrahydrocannabinol is the primary psychotropic cannabinoid in marijuana. It can cause alterations in perception, mood, and behavior. Its effects last for a long time. This creates measurement challenges when establishing or evaluating therapeutic doses.2

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What Does The Research Say

So far, there have not been enough clinical trials and research on the effect of marijuana on PD patients. But, the ones that exist increase the hopes of having a possible alternative treatment for PD. Lets take a look at some of the data we have today:

  • The German Parkinson Association conducted a survey on PD patients. It included a questionnaire to assess the perception of patients about medical marijuana and their experience of using the same. A total of 1,348 questionnaires were filled nationwide. After careful analysis, it was concluded that about 8.4% of patients used cannabis for PD. And more than 40% of them experienced an improvement in akinesia, anxiety, and other symptoms.
  • Preclinical studies and research suggest that cannabinoids may provide symptomatic relief and have neuroprotective potential which proves to be helpful against neurological conditions.
  • Another survey conducted by email in January 2020 revealed a lot of helpful information on the use of medical marijuana for PD. When asked about the efficacy of cannabis in managing motor and non-motor symptoms of PD, almost half of the people reported some sort of improvement. The level of efficacy was higher among those using high THC cannabis compared to those using low THC variety.

The research is still at its prime. Federal restrictions are one of the primary reasons for such limited research.

Eat Plenty Of Protein But Not With Levodopa Medications

If youre taking a levodopa medication, your doctor may tell you to avoid protein when taking your meds. Both animal and plant protein can interfere with the absorption of levodopa medications.

But you should still eat plenty of protein. Just be strategic with the timing. Dont take levodopa medications with meals, Dr. Gostkowski says. Its best to take it on an empty stomach either 30 minutes before your meal or an hour after eating.

If you get nauseous from the medication, eat a small amount of starchy food with it, such as crackers. Make sure whatever you eat with your medicine doesnt have protein. Its a misunderstanding that people with Parkinsons should avoid protein, Dr. Gostkowski says. You definitely need protein in your diet. Just dont eat it when youre taking your levodopa medication.

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Cannabis Shown To Relieve Parkinson Disease Symptoms

A recent survey found that patients experienced relief of certain motor and nonmotor symptoms of Parkinson disease from using cannabis.

A recent survey on community perceptions of cannabis use in patients with Parkinson disease found that patients reported cannabis to be effective at reducing symptom severity.

Results also show a lack of knowledge on the different types and administration routes among patients. Researchers said that this is the largest study analyzing the view of patients on cannabis therapy in PD.

The study, published in Journal of Parkinsons Disease, took place in Germany, which in 2017 approved medical cannabis as a therapy for patients with severe symptoms of PD when other therapies were unsuccessful or not tolerable. MC is eligible for reimbursement in these cases.

Although many cannabis products and formulations are available to patients, there is a lack of controlled clinical studies addressing MC effectiveness on PD symptoms. Its also unclear which PD symptoms would be best treated with MC, whether certain cannabis formulations are more effective, or which routes of administration patients would prefer most. Further, the prevalence of MC use and patient opinion on its use for PD symptoms relief are unknowns.

Cannabis users made up 15% of participants, of which 13.9% were regular users, 32.2% were occasional users, and 42.6% had tried it once 11.4% did not answer. Users were on average 5.6 years younger than nonusers.


How Many People With Parkinson’s Use Cannabis

Does Cannabis Cure Parkinson? Many Testimonials of Cannabis used for Parkinson.
  • 59% hadn’t used cannabis-derived products before, but would consider using them to control their symptoms.
  • 26% had used cannabis-derived products .
  • 16% hadn’t used cannabis-derived products and aren’t interested in using them in the future.
  • Overwhelmingly, people with Parkinson’s would continue to use, or start using, cannabis-derived products if robust evidence became available that they’re safe and effective in treating Parkinson’s symptoms.

I’m on maximum levodopa, I’m too old for surgery and the pain can be severe and unmanageable now. Person with Parkinson’s who is currently using a cannabis-derived product

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Cannabis For Parkinsons Patients With Anxiety And Depression

Along with the struggles of PD also comes a high prevalence of anxiety and depression .

At least half of all Parkinsons patients may suffer from clinical depression at some point during the course of their disease, estimates from the Michael J. Fox Foundation point out, and sometimes depression manifests even before motor symptoms .

Depression in PD is thought to be connected to the neurotransmitter disturbances in that area of the brain, and most specifically with monoamine neurotransmitters.

But low dopamine levels, which are characteristic of PD, also contribute to depression in the form of apathy and a loss of motivation.

Yet in self-reported data collected by the app Strainprint, which helps users of medical marijuana track their symptoms after using different strains, medical cannabis users perceived :

  • 50% less depression
  • 58% less anxiety and stress

After reviewing the data, there was an association between high CBD /low THC strains and the largest changes in depression ratings.

This information may be used to help those with PD find relief without adding another prescription pill to their daily cocktail.

Another symptom of PD affecting a patients quality of life is their sleep cycle.

Medical Marijuana And Parkinsons: How Can It Help

  • 3:51 pm

Parkinsons disease counts as a qualifying medical condition in most states with medical marijuana. Learn what the science says about cannabis for Parkinsons now.

Whats the connection between medical marijuana and Parkinsons disease?

With several states now making medical marijuana legal for patients with qualifying diseases like PD, researchers are allowed to conduct more studies to determine the real benefits of this new form of therapy.After all, few can forget the jaw-dropping transformation of Larry, a retired police captain and PD sufferer, as he tries medical marijuana for the first time in the feature documentary Ride with Larry:

In less than five minutes, Larry goes from having severe tremors and being barely able to talk to an almost complete turnaround of both those symptoms and more.

So its no surprise others with PD want to know if medical marijuana is right for managing their symptoms too.

Since medical marijuana is currently only legal in 29 states, researchers are just now beginning to understand why cannabis for Parkinsons might be so successful.

Heres what we know so far:

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Parkinsons Foundation Centers Of Excellence And Medicinal Marijuana

The Parkinsons Foundation, in partnership with Northwestern University researchers, studied attitudes about cannabis at 40 Centers of Excellence. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to provide data on the practices, beliefs and attitudes of expert PD physicians concerning cannabis use.

The results were interesting: most experts said they knew what cannabis did, but disagreed on the details. While there is no general agreement on what the benefits might be for people with PD, the survey confirmed that cannabis is a popular subject within Parkinsons Foundation centers as 95 percent of neurologists reported patients have asked them to prescribe it.

Cannabis study results also included:

  • Only 23 percent of physicians had any formal education on the subject of cannabis , thus 93 percent of physicians want cannabis taught in medical school.
  • Physicians reported that 80 percent of their patients with PD have used cannabis.
  • Only 10 percent of physicians have recommended the use of cannabis to patients with PD.
  • In terms of memory: 75 percent of physicians felt that cannabis would have negative effects on short-term memory and 55 percent felt that cannabis could have negative effects on long-term memory
  • Only 11 percent of physicians have recommended use of cannabis in the last year

This graph shows how physicians expect cannabis would improve, worsen, or show no effect to PD-related symptoms given their expertise and observations of patients with PD.

Can Cbd Help With Parkinsons Disease Symptoms


Leehey is principal investigator of a randomized, double-blind study of cannabidiol , one of the most concentrated of the hundreds of compounds in the cannabis plant. The question: can CBD effectively reduce symptoms of motor disorders, such as tremor, in patients with Parkinsons disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, compared to a placebo?

Grant funding from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment helps to support the study, which launched in 2018 with the goal of having 60 patients complete it. COVID-19 halted patient recruitment the past year, but its back underway, with 53 patients enrolled as of early March, said Leeheys senior professional research assistant, Dr. Ying Liu. Forty have completed the study, Liu added.

The primary outcome measure for the study is the MDS-Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale , which evaluates a host of motor functions. But Leehey and her team also are looking at no fewer than 56 secondary outcome measures everything from liver function to sleep patterns to depression and cognition.

Managing and analyzing all that data is complex. But the challenges go further.

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Other Treatments For Parkinsons

The primary goals in treating PD are to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment may also prevent disease progression.

If taking marijuana isnt feasible, there are other options available. Numerous types and combinations of conventional medications may also be used. Examples include:

  • amantadine , which is used in early stages

Cannabis And Parkinson’s Disease

  • Demystifying Medicine

Parkinsons disease, also known as PD, is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. The disease is characterized by a loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra, which is an area of the brain responsible for movement. Cannabis, specifically CBD, has shown promise in treating some of the symptoms of PD. In this video we will define Parkinsons disease and cannabis, explain how cannabis can help with PD, and physician perspectives on prescribing cannabis.


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Can Marijuana Be The Answer For Pain

April 20, 2018 — Like many of her friends, Alexandra Callner, now 58, experimented with recreational when she was younger.

“I had tried it, and hated it, in my 20s,” Callner says. “When I was around pot smokers, I thought, ‘Ugh, losers.’ ”

But, that was before her knee arthritis became so bad, it robbed her sleep, night after night. She took two over-the-counter pain pills a day, but the pain would wake her up at night. And the drugs were hard on her stomach.

“It was making me kind of nauseous,” she says of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. Plus, she needed to stay active to manage her dog boarding service in Pasadena, CA.

Then came another solution. “A neighbor said, ‘Try this,’ ” Callner says. It was a joint.

Callner got a medical marijuana card, and then she tried it. âI slept through the night.”

That was a year ago, and it’s now her nightly ritual. “Every night, I get into bed, read about an hour, take one or two puffs, and then I am off to sleep,” she says. “The pain is much lighter.â

About 50 million Americans like Callner live with chronic or severe pain. Patients and doctors are seeking treatments besides the potent prescription painkillers like opioids and the nonprescription medicines that Callner found tough to tolerate.

So could marijuana be the next pain reliever of choice?

The Potential Risks Of Taking Cannabis

Ask the MD: Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Disease

Until unambiguous trial results are available, cannabis should be used with great caution in Parkinsons because of its associated risks, including addiction. Cannabis affects thinking and executive function, which are already frequently impaired in those with the condition. It should not be taken as a substitute for dopaminergic and other approved Parkinsons treatments. You should always seek medical advice before taking cannabis in any form.

In many countries, taking cannabis is illegal and may result in imprisonment if you are caught with the drug. It can also impair judgement which presents a real danger when driving or carrying out other hazardous activities.

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Does Medical Marijuana Have A Role In Parkinson’s Disease Care

At a conference hosted two years ago by the Parkinson’s Foundation, many neurologists had a pressing issue on their minds: pot.

“Doctors were saying that the number one question from their patients was, “Can I use medical cannabis for my Parkinson’s disease?'” recalled James Beck, the foundation’s senior vice president and chief scientific officer.

The answer isn’t a simple one, according to a summary of pot use recommendations that was prompted by that question and published recently by the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Researchers have studied the use of cannabis in patients with Parkinson’s disease for more than 20 years, but there are precious few randomized, controlled clinical trials, partly because the drug is still illegal under federal law, explained Susan Fox, director of neurology at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

But the growing legalization of has spurred interest. “When people hear that something is legalized, they think it’s safe to use,” Fox said. She added that her patients ask her if they should try using marijuana “a lot.”

That high level of interest prompted Parkinson’s Foundation experts to analyze all of the existing research related to marijuana and Parkinson’s disease.

The end result was a mixed bag.

Despite the risks and limited research, experts believe that marijuana might ease symptoms like muscle and joint pain, anxiety and insomnia.

The foundation’s statement covers not only the side effects, but also the lack of effects.

Clinical Trials And Research With Cbd And Thc

So far, studies have been minimal and no trial has definitively found that it works to improve the disease.

There are lot of combinations out there of THC and CBD, but not a single one has been fully tested for any symptom of Parkinsons, says Gilbert.

As medical marijuana has become more accepted, however, the research tide may be turning.

In fiscal year 2017, the National Institutes of Health supported 330 projects totaling almost $140 million on cannabinoid research. Within this investment, 70 projects examined therapeutic properties of cannabinoids, and 26 projects focused on CBD.

The Parkinsons Foundation lists a handful of investigations that have evaluated the effects of cannabinoids on the disorder. In a study published in March 2015 in the journal Movement Disorders, scientists analyzed the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for movement disorders but didnt find any conclusive proof that marijuana helped. That investigation summarized several other studies on the topic.

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