What Is Parkinsons Disease And How Does It Affect Those With It
An estimated 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year, and nearly one million Americans will have Parkinsons by 2020 .
Parkinsons disease is a neurological disorder that affects your motor system. Its believed to be caused by a severe drop in dopamine levels in your brain.
Since the nerve cells responsible for producing dopamine gets destroyed in PD, your brain loses its ability to produce this essential neurotransmitter.
Dopamine is a chemical messenger which helps your nerve cells talk to each other. Low levels mean messages from your brain dont quite reach your muscles as they should.
Over the long term, this is thought to lead to cognitive decline and symptoms such as:
- Tremors and shaking
- Muscle rigidity and stiffness of limbs
- Bradykinesia, or slowness of movement
- Impaired balance and coordination loss
Theres no known cure for PD, and since the disease is progressive, it can also get worse over time.
Medications have been shown to slightly improve a few of these symptoms, though not without their unpleasant side effects.Since several studies show your bodys natural endocannabinoid system is involved in certain neurodegenerative processes, cannabinoids found in medical marijuana may be worth exploring for PD symptoms.
Our Position On The Use Of Medical Marijuana And Medicinal Cannabis In Parkinsons
There are many endorsements of cannabinoids for Parkinsons symptoms in the social media. However, the science tells a different story.
Statement of Position
Further research into the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis in the treatment of symptoms in Parkinsons disease is necessary before Fight Parkinsons will advocate its use for people with Parkinsons disease.
Medicinal Use of Cannabis
The two main active ingredients used for medical care are tetrahydrocannabinoids or THC and cannabidiol or CBD. Both are referred to as cannabinoids. THC is the part that produces the high favoured by recreational users of cannabis and may have benefits in reducing nausea. CBD produces no highand may be used to treat pain inflammatory conditions and seizures. Generally, the use of either form of medicinal cannabis is for symptom relief and is not a cure.
The Evidence Base for Medicinal Cannabis
Many people with a range of serious conditions such as cancer have reported symptom benefits from cannabis or medical marijuana. A review of current scientific research suggested there was reasonable evidence that cannabinoids can help symptoms of chronic pain and spasticity including that experienced in Multiple Sclerosis. In other conditions, such as in nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, weight gain in HIV infection, sleep disorders, and Tourette syndrome use of cannabinoids remains unproven.
Changing Legal Framework
Prescribing of Medicinal Cannabis
What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons is a disease impacting the nerve cells within the brain, leading to muscle rigidity, tremors, and over time, decline in speech, gait, and motor skills. Unfortunately, there is still no known cure. While a cure may not be available, scientists and researchers have found several methods of treating the symptoms of Parkinsons Disease, including Medical Marijuana in Florida. Many patients have found tremendous success through the use of medical cannabis in limiting muscle spasms and pain. Furthermore, many patients find greater relief when combining THC and CBD, rather than using just CBD.
Don’t Miss: What Is Parkinson’s Disease And Its Symptoms
Expert Advice About Medical Marijuana For Parkinsons
According to a report from Parkinson.org, 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 the relief of localized pain on your body.
Medical marijuana in Florida has been legalized for debilitating medical conditions and Parkinsons disease is included.
Florida Medical Marijuana For Parkinsons
Florida medical marijuana can be a great alternative or addition to the medication routine for someone who has Parkinsons disease. Unfortunately, many of the traditional medications prescribed for a Parkinsons patient may come with negative side-effects that are not present in cannabis. Medical marijuana provides a combination of anti-anxiety, antioxidant, and pain relief. The active ingredients in marijuana are cannabinoids. Depending on the strain and variety of cannabis, there can be 60 different kinds of cannabinoids present. The most known compound is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. These cannabinoids are not just limited to marijuana. The brain itself can produce these compounds and contains them in the endocannabinoid system. This system has receptors that connect to cannabinoids. When this connection occurs, it can affect the levels of brain chemicals such as dopamine.
In some cases, cannabinoids can act as dopamine agonists. This means they imitate the chemicals, then connect to the same receptors and can create the same results as natural dopamine. The basal ganglia, the area of the brain that controls your movements, contains a vast number of cannabinoid receptors. People who have Parkinsons often have fewer cannabinoid receptors than people without the disease.
Also Check: Why Is Parkinson’s Difficult To Treat
Where Is Marijuana Use Legal
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
Medical Marijuana For Parkinsons Motor Symptoms
During a study on patients with PD later published in Movement Disorders Journal :
- 39 patients described mild or substantial alleviation of their PD symptoms in general after using marijuana
- 26 showed improvement of resting tremors
- 38 had improvement in bradykinesia
- 32 alleviated muscle rigidity
- 12 improved L-dopa-induced dyskinesias
Further, using cannabis for Parkinsons for at least three months generated significantly more alleviation of Parkinsons disease symptoms in general among participants.
Another trial of 22 patients attending a motor disorder clinic was evaluated at baseline and again 30 minutes after smoking cannabis.
Researchers learned the participants :
- Boosted their total score on the motor Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale significantly from 33.1 at baseline to 23.2 after cannabis consumption a 10-point improvement.
- Significantly improved specific motor symptom scores after treatment in tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia.
- Significantly improved their sleep and pain scores.
- And most important, no significant adverse effects of the drug were observed.
Medical marijuana for Parkinsons may not only improve the physical symptoms of the disease but also the ones harder to discuss and heal too.
Recommended Reading: Does Rls Lead To Parkinson’s
Medical Marijuana As A Treatment For Parkinsons Symptoms
Parkinsons disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that causes tremors, slow movement, stiffness, and loss of balance. Because marijuana directly affects the central and peripheral nervous systems, scientists have studied the effect of marijuana as a treatment for Parkinsons symptoms.
A 2020 review of 14 different studies acknowledged evidence that medical marijuana provides a reduction in anxiety, tremors, and involuntary or erratic movements. However, the researchers concluded that there is insufficient evidence to recommend medical marijuana use as part of Parkinson’s treatment.
A 2017 study with patients who used medical marijuana over three months to manage Parkinson’s symptoms found that the treatment improved their symptoms and did not cause major adverse effects.
Other research has shown that medical marijuana may be able to help with some Parkinsons disease symptoms, including:
Which Cbd Oil Is The Best For Parkinsons
The best CBD oil for Parkinsons is whichever one helps you feel the best. Typically, we like to recommend full-spectrum CBD products to patients, as the minuscule amount of THC helps to active the entourage effect a helpful phenomenon in the cannabis world. The entourage effect states that when cannabiss components all act together, they produce better, more substantial results. Thus, full-spectrum extracts that encompass full-plant values appear to be most effective. We believe those with disorders like Parkinsons deserve to experience the best treatment possible.
However, if you dont want to consume any THC, thats okay, too! Broad-spectrum extracts also produce the entourage effect, just without the presence of THC. So, while it wont be as strong, it can still be highly effective.
When youre looking for the best CBD oil for your Parkinsons disease, you want to make sure you find a brand you can trust. Always search for their third-party lab-test results to double-check legitimacy reading reviews can also help you find the perfect company. For more information about CBD oil strength and potency,
Recommended Reading: How Many Kinds Of Parkinson Disease Are There
The Potential Risks Of Taking Cannabis
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.
Does Medical Marijuana Help With Parkinsons Disease
In a recent study of 84 Parkinsons Disease patients who were treating their illness with medical marijuana, over 46% experienced relief and improvement in their symptoms. A similar study was conducted using just CBD on six patients suffering from Parkinsonian Psychosis as a result of their Parkinsons Disease. All six patients reported significant improvement in their psychotic symptoms. Research has shown that Parkinsons Disease, while it cannot be completely cured, can be treated and made more tolerable through the use of medical marijuana.
Don’t Miss: Does Parkinson’s Disease Cause Hallucinations
Medical Marijuana Can Improve Quality Of Life
When an anonymous questionnaire was sent out to people with PD attending the Prague Movement Disorder Centre, 25% of 339 respondents admitted to taking cannabis and 45.9% of them found some form of benefit from doing so .
And in another study, researchers observed a statistically significant difference between baseline and final assessment in the overall PD questionnaire score between a placebo and those taking CBD, which suggests there might be a possible effect of CBD on improving quality of life .
Plus, the risk of serious psychoactive incidents, like hallucinations or manic episodes, is less than 1% with medical marijuana.
Though more research will be needed to understand exactly how best to safely prescribe medical cannabis based on each patient and their specific PD symptoms, the early results seem promising.
Cannabis For Parkinsons Pain Management
Many PD patients report either musculoskeletal pain and/or central nerve pain.
In one study, researchers watched 2,736 patients over the age of 65? begin medical cannabis treatment. Over 65% of the participants were using medical marijuana for pain management.
After six months of medical cannabis treatments :
- 93.7% of participants reported improvement in their condition
- On a 0-10 scale, the median level of reported pain went from an eight to a four.
- More than 18% of patients either reduced or stopped taking their opioids for pain in lieu of the medical marijuana treatments.
Though studies like this demonstrate therapeutic uses of medical cannabis are safe and effective and can reduce opioid dependency there still needs to be more research done to improve the quality of life of people with PD.
Recommended Reading: Will Parkinson’s Kill You
Top 10 Best Cannabis Strains For Parkinsons Disease
Force Plant is famous for recreational use. Even though it has a higher CBD than the average strain, it is not potent enough to treat shiver. But it still holds more than adequate potency to assist you in dealing with stress. As such, it is also advantageous in battling depression.
This weed also has anti-inflammatory qualities and is ready to alleviate mellow pains, including migraines. As the impact of the Power Plant quiets, you can feel tired or hungry. However, Power Plant is not recommended for daytime use.
Some Indica strains with high CBD are good for getting help in pain and improving the overall quality of life. And, Blackberry Kush Indica-dominant weed is no different than that. Its parent strains include Blackberry Hybrid and Afghani Indica. This Blackberry has a refreshing citrus taste combined with diesel. It will alleviate depression and stress and will help you with managing your chronic pain.
If getting into activities helps you deal with Parkinsons more effectively, this one is an excellent variety to try once. Besides, its good to know that it can help you reduce fatigue and spasticity that can also keep your brain under control.
Recommended Reading: How To Support Someone With Parkinsons Disease
Results Of The Database
From a total of 228 identified articles, 114 were excluded as duplicates, 27 were excluded after title and abstract screening because they were not related to the subject . 88 articles remained for full-text review. No further relevant citations were found from weekly electronic database updates up to November 1, 2019. Finally, 14 of the 87 studies were included in this systematic review .
We could not perform a meta-analysis due to the high variability of
Read Also: How Do Doctors Test For Parkinson’s Disease
More Research Is Needed
The safety, tolerability, and side effects of medical marijuana require further study. Meaningful benefits have not been substantiated across study populations. As researchers gain a more complete understanding of how the endocannabinoid system works, results may yield more information on the efficacy of using marijuana to ease the symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
Leveraging Cannabinoids For Parkinsons Disease
While medical cannabis has already shown that it can ease some symptoms of PD, including movement disorders, inflammation, and sleep disorders, research has been performed to show that cannabis can ease the condition itself. A 2019 study published in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience showed that medical cannabis could have medicinal efficacy in PD.
Endocannabinoid receptors exist throughout the nervous system and are documented to influence receptors affecting a wide variety of areas, reports the study. Neuroprotective aspects might be induced by cannabis exposure that might yield benefit against the nigrostriatal degeneration of patients with Parkinsons disease.
The Parkinsons Foundation notes that medical cannabis is high on the list for effective treatment methods, reporting several studies to confirm the favorable plant properties. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial , the authors demonstrate that the cannabinoid receptor agonist nabilone significantly reduces levodopa-induced dyskinesia in PD, according to the foundation.
Lastly, the American Parkinsons Disease Foundation breaks down cannabis effects on both the brain and endocannabinoid systems. More research needs to be done, but based on what is known about the biology of cannabis, one could hypothesize that THC and/or CBD may be helpful for aspects of PD such as tremor, stiffness, insomnia, dystonia, pain, dyskinesias or weight loss, according to the foundation.
You May Like: Does Stress Affect Parkinson’s Disease
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
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 medical marijuana and Parkinsons might be so successful.
Heres what we know so far:
Read Also: Emg Test For Parkinson’s
How Is Medical Marijuana Used To Treat Parkinsons Disease
Medical marijuana offers a potential treatment option for Parkinsons disease by replacing the lost dopaminergic neurons. CBD and THC, the active ingredients in cannabis, have also been shown to be effective in reducing the tremors and rigidity associated with Parkinsons disease.
Both scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabis offers relief from many of the symptoms commonly encountered by Parkinsons patients. For some, finding the right dosage is a matter of trial and error, as well as social tolerance for marijuana use.