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Is Marijuana A Natural Treatment For Parkinson’s

Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Part 3 of 3

Recent Studies Show That Cannabis Is Indeed The Best Natural Treatment For Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders.

It was named by Jean-Martin Charcot, a French neurologist, back in 1872 after the disease was first identified by James Parkinson in 1817. Over a century later, there is still no known cure for this disease which robs people of their dignity and quality of life. However, there have been numerous modern treatments that have been developed including dopamine therapy, surgery, and even deep brain stimulation for healing the affected area in the brain.

The problem with pharmaceutical medications which have been designed for Parkinsons disease is that they also leave patients with numerous unwanted side effects. These drugs are primarily intended to increase dopamine levels since the symptoms of Parkinsons occur when dopamine levels drop too low. While all Parkinsons patients experience different symptoms, the common medications used are all the same these include Levodopa, dopamine agonists, anticholinergics, glutamate antagonist, COMT inhibitors, and MAO-B inhibitors.

The side effects from Parkinsons medications include nausea, low blood pressure, involuntary movements, hallucinations, confusion, and behavioral issues such as the uncontrollable need to have sex or gamble.

Thankfully, more patients are finding hope using cannabis-based medications.

What The Studies Say

How Does Medical Marijuana Affect The Body

Marijuana affects the body through neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers of the nervous system.

Various factors can stimulate neurotransmitter activity, initiating a set of physiological responses. In cannabis, it is mainly THC or CBD binding to endocannabinoid receptors that produce new physiological reactions in the body.

The endocannabinoid system is one of the most important neurotransmitter systems in the body. It utilizes cannabinoid receptors located throughout the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system . Cannabis works to turn on endocannabinoid neurotransmitters through activity at these receptors.

Effects Of Cannabis In Parkinsons Disease: A Systematic Review And Meta

Article type: Systematic Review

Authors: Urbi, Berzenna b | Corbett, Joelc | Hughes, Iana | Owusu, Maame Ammaa | Thorning, Saraha | Broadley, Simon A.b c | Sabet, Armanb c | Heshmat, Samanb d *

Affiliations: Office for Research Governance and Development, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, QLD, Australia | School of Medicine, Griffith University, QLD, Australia | Department of Neurology, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, QLD, Australia | UQCCR, Centre for Clinical Research, University of Queensland, QLD Australia

Correspondence: Correspondence to: Dr. Saman Heshmat, Department of Neurology, Gold Coast University Hospital, 1 Hospital Blvd., Southport, QLD 4215, Australia. E-mail: .

Keywords: Cannabis, Parkinsons disease, efficacy of cannabis, tremor, UPDRS

DOI: 10.3233/JPD-212923

Journal: Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 495-508, 2022

Also Check: Is Parkinson’s Always Fatal

Summing Upmarijuana And Parkinsons

The question does marijuana help Parkinsons isnt an uncommon one. Its increasingly asked, and there is a growing amount of research that shows marijuana and Parkinsons may have a beneficial relationship to one another.

Some of the reasons marijuana and Parkinsons could go well together is because marijuana can provide pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and it may be a neuroprotectant.At the same time, with marijuana and Parkinsons, researchers are still working to determine exactly what the benefits may be and whether or not the adverse risks are worth those positives.

Helping Manage Pain Agitation Anxiety Or Sleep

Marijuana and Parkinsons: What Do We Really Know?

The Michael J Fox Foundation also conducted a recent survey through their online platform called Fox Insight. The MJFF was established to spread awareness on Parkinson’s disease, conducts research through patient engagement with the hopes of finding an objective test, and supports development of new treatments.

Researchers at the University of Colorado namely Samantha Holden, MD, MS, and her colleagues polled participants about the type of cannabis they consume, and how much CBD and THC they also inquired how often they consume it and how long they were medicating with it.

Almost 1,900 patients with Parkinson’s disease shared their feedback. The results, which were released in the Movement Disorders Clinical Practice journal, revealed that over 70% of patients use marijuana, most commonly through oral consumption, once a day. While some of them weren’t sure about the kind of cannabis they were taking, almost half were taking high CBD products while 15% took almost equal amounts of CBD and THC.

Many patients said that the cannabis helped them with pain, agitation, anxiety, or sleep.

Recommended Reading: How To Detect Early Signs Of Parkinson’s

Is Cbd Prescribed For Parkinsons Disease

Whether CBD is prescribed to Parkinsons patients is determined by the medical professionals assessment and patients needs. Results are still mixed on whether CBD alone has consistent positive effects for Parkinsons disease, yet so far researcher believe it may help reduce anxiety, tremor and brain inflammation that promotes worsening of the disease.

Other ways medicinal cannabis treatments help Parkinsons patients

Medical cannabis treatments like CBD or products combining THC and CBD have been shown to relieve insomnia, anxiety and depressive symptoms in human and animal trials. Anxiety can appear with Parkinsons disease as a result of the disease itself, or due to the physical and mental hardship of experiencing a chronic and incurable condition.

Nausea and appetite are two other major concerns for Parkinsons patients where medical cannabis may provide benefit. By reducing nausea and promoting appetite the negative impact of the disease on quality of life and other fundamental body functions can be reduced.

Lastly, prescribed medical cannabis treatments are becoming increasingly used to treat chronic pain and musculoskeletal issues like muscle rigidity and arthritis.

What Are The Side Effects

Respondents who had used cannabis-derived products in the past said they didn’t experience side effects, and that the products didn’t interact with their Parkinson’s medication. This was backed up by professionals.

However, people who hadn’t used them said they were worried about potential side effects and interactions with Parkinson’s medication.

It works better for me than conventional drugs. Person with Parkinson’s currently using a cannabis-derived product

Recommended Reading: Is Shortness Of Breath A Symptom Of Parkinson’s Disease

Is Medical Marijuana An Option For Me

What’s next for a person with PD who wants to know if medical marijuana is an option? “Marijuana should never be thought of as a replacement for dopaminergic and other approved therapies for PD,” said Dr. Michael S. Okun, the Parkinson’s Foundation National Medical Advisor.

Research is still needed to determine how medical marijuana should be administered and how its long-term use can affect symptoms of PD. To keep patients safe, states that legalize medical marijuana will eventually need to develop training programs for doctors and medical teams that prescribe medical marijuana. Consult your doctor to see if medical marijuana is an option for you.

The Parkinsons Foundation is designed to help guide the PD community in making informed decisions about using cannabis for Parkinsons. The statement is based on the input from 46 experts who attended the Foundations first-ever medical marijuana convening. Read it now.

Page reviewed by Dr. Bhavana Patel, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.

How Many People With Parkinson’s Use Cannabis

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

References

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.

Recommended Reading: What To Expect As Parkinson’s Progresses

What Is Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is cannabis that’s prescribed by a physician to treat or provide relief for a medical condition.

There are around 400 chemicals in the cannabis plant, and more than 60 of them are referred to as cannabinoids. The high marijuana users get is primarily due to the most psychoactive cannabinoid in the plant called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

Cannabinol, or CBD, is the other cannabinoid, which is used in medical marijuana. CBD does not cause a high when taken alone and, in fact, moderates the psychoactive effects. Research is being done to determine how medical marijuana can help treat or relieve symptoms of various diseases, including Parkinson’s disease.

What Evidence Is Available For The Use Of Cbd For Pd

Medical Cannabis and Parkinson

The FDA is aware that patients are frustrated that our understanding of how best to use CBD remains minimal because of the lack of clinical trials. In 2015, the FDA changed some of their regulations to make it easier to study CBD in clinical trials.

There have been a few studies of CBD for various symptoms of PD which have generally involved a small number of patients. Many have been open-label trials, in which the doctor and patient are both aware that the patient is receiving treatment and there is no control group that received a placebo.

  • In one, an open label study of CBD was conducted on six patients with psychosis. Psychotic symptoms decreased.
  • In a second trial, an open-label study of CBD was conducted on four patients with REM behavior sleep disorder. Symptoms decreased.
  • A third trial was conducted on 21 patients with PD and was double blinded, meaning neither patient nor doctor knew who received treatment and who received a placebo. Motor scores did not improve, but quality of life scores did.

Additionally, three more recent trials of CBD for PD were conducted.

Also Check: What Drugs Can Induce Parkinsonism

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 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.

Reference

Read Also: How To Check For Parkinson’s

Colorado Company To Research Cannabis As A Treatment For Parkinsons Disease

Colorado-based Day Three Labs announced this week that the worlds first government-sponsored cannabis technology incubator will fund the companys research into using cannabis as a treatment for Parkinsons disease.

Day Three Labs is a cannabinoid consumer products ingredient manufacturer specializing in the development and commercialization of novel cannabis products with its headquarters in Denver and a research facility in Israel, where regulations make studying cannabis far easier than in the United States. The firm is the only company to have passed the first phase of the CanNegev program, a cannabis technology incubator that receives funding from the Israeli government.

Colorado-based Day Three Labs announced this week that it has received funding from Israeli cannabis … technology incubator CanNegev to study cannabis as a treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

getty

Research shows that cannabis has the ability to ease Parkinsons symptoms in patients, but to date, no one has been able to decipher the exact combination of cannabinoids and terpenes for a consistent, reliable, and repeatable remedy, Dr. Shimon Lecht, chief innovation officer at Day Three Labs, said in a statement from the company on Monday.

How Thc And Cbd Work

Cannabis Research in Parkinson’s

Cannabinoids from cannabis activate the ECS by binding to endocannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body. The two most affected by cannabis are:

  • CB1 receptors: Found in the brain in high levels, they are responsible for marijuanas psychoactive properties, or the high effect.
  • CB2 receptors: Found throughout the body, they affect pain levels and inflammation.

THC strongly activates CB1 receptors, triggering a feeling of euphoria. This activation also increases blood flow to the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is the area that controls the ability to focus, as well as our motor skills, attention, memory, and decision-making abilities.

THC also interacts with CB2 receptors, providing added analgesic , muscle relaxing, and antiemetic effects .

CBD activates both CB1 and CB2 receptors, although less strongly than THC. Although its CB1 and CB2 receptor activation does not produce a high, it has been shown to interact with additional receptors in the body and have calming and anti-inflammatory effects. For this reason, CBD has been used to treat pain, anxiety, and seizures.

Recommended Reading: Does Parkinson’s Disease Qualify For Hospice

Research On Cannabis For Parkinsons Disease Looks Promising

Back in 2004, 339 Parkinsons patients who attended the Prague Movement Disorder Center took an anonymous questionnaire about the subjective improvement in their motor symptoms after taking cannabis.

Of those who had used cannabis, 45.9% said they noticed some improvement in symptoms. About 30% of patients who used marijuana said they noticed fewer tremors and 44.7% noticed an improvement in the slowness of movement.

In one small study conducted at the Tel Aviv University in Israel, 47 PD patients were observed. During a period of few months, participants used medical marijuana and 82% reported improvement in their symptoms like stiffness and tremor.

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They also noticed an improvement in non-motor symptoms such as pain, mood, and sleep.

Furthermore, in a similar study, patients noticed an improvement in symptoms just 30 minutes after taking cannabis.

Pd Patients Have A High Interest In Treatment With Medicinal Cannabis But Lack Knowledge About How To Take It And Especially The Differences Between Thc And Cbd

Parkinsons disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders. It was named by Jean-Martin Charcot, a French neurologist, back in 1872 after the disease was first identified by James Parkinson in 1817. Over a century later, there is still no known cure for this disease which robs people of their dignity and quality of life. However, there have been numerous modern treatments that have been developed including dopamine therapy, surgery, and even deep brain stimulation for healing the affected area in the brain.

The problem with pharmaceutical medications which have been designed for Parkinsons disease is that they also leave patients with numerous unwanted side effects. These drugs are primarily intended to increase dopamine levels since the symptoms of Parkinsons occur when dopamine levels drop too low. While all Parkinsons patients experience different symptoms, the common medications used are all the same these include Levodopa, dopamine agonists, anticholinergics, glutamate antagonist, COMT inhibitors, and MAO-B inhibitors.

The side effects from Parkinsons medications include nausea, low blood pressure, involuntary movements, hallucinations, confusion, and behavioral issues such as the uncontrollable need to have sex or gamble.

Thankfully, more patients are finding hope using cannabis-based medications.

Don’t Miss: How Fast Does Parkinson’s Progress

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.

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