With the exponential growth of research on medical cannabis over the years, it has gainedpopularity as a form of treatment for various diseases. Cannabis is also being used as a form of potential treatment for certain serious, progressive conditions which demand long-term treatments. One such condition is the Parkinson’s disease. Read further to understand what PD is and whether medical marijuana can help treat its symptoms.
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease or PD, refers to a brain disorder that causes shaking, stiffness, as well as difficulty with walking and balance. It is a progressive disease and worsens over time. As it progresses, people find it difficult to engage in common activities such as walking and talking. Additionally, patients also experience certain behavioral changes, mental changes, depression, along with sleeping problems, memory problems, and fatigue. The disease occurs when neurons, within the part of the brain that controls movement, die.
How cannabis functions for PD patients
Researches are being conducted on whether marijuana can help treat neurological conditions such as PD. The endocannabinoid system of the human body is located in our brains, and is made up of cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are linked to the brain cells or neurons, which help regulate our thought process as well as bodily functions. Some PD patients have reported that cannabis helped reduce their tremors. This has led to researches on the subject. Some researchers believe that cannabis could be neuroprotective, and could thus save neurons from the damage that PD causes.
There have been certain researches where cannabinoids present in cannabis have been studied as a treatment for certain symptoms of PD. These symptoms include bradykinesia, referring to the slowness caused by PD, and dyskinesia: the excess movement that is caused by levodopa. There have been some promising preclinical findings; however, there is not enough evidence of the benefits of cannabis for PD patients.
It is well known that cannabis contains more than a hundred compounds which bind with the two types of cannabinoid receptors in our body, namely, CB1 and CB2 receptors. These cannabinoids, after binding with the aforementioned receptors, have a number of effects on our body. Patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease have a low number of CB1 receptors as compared to those who do not suffer from this condition. Therefore, the use of marijuana among PD patients, can help boost CB1 receptors and help with tremors, thus alleviating dyskinesia. Studies are being conducted on whether the CB2 receptor could provide neuroprotective benefits; however, not much is known about it currently.
The two most well-known compounds found in marijuana are THC and CBD. THC is a partial agonist to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, while CBD is antagonistic to the receptors since it counters the effects on THC. Medical marijuana that has both in same or varied proportions can help PD patients since studies suggest that cannabinoid antagonists may be anti-parkinsonism effects, and agonists may help with motor control.
Can cannabis help treat other PD symptoms?
Depression is a highly common symptom in patients with PD. Since endocannabinoids help regulate mood and behavior, their loss can cause depression among patients. A number of studies have demonstrated that marijuana users exhibit better mood; however, overuse can lead to depression. Therefore, if consumed in an appropriate quantity, cannabis can help overcome depression among PD patients. Additionally, marijuana helps improve sleep. A clinical trial of 2000 patients with different pain disorders showed that cannabis helped improve their sleep quality greatly. The pain among PD patients can be countered by the pain-relieving properties of CBD as well.
Word From HempStreet
The aforementioned information helps us understand how PD can potentially be treated using cannabis. If you have Parkinson’s and think that medical marijuana could help you treat your symptoms, it is advised that you contact your medical health professional for a prescription. Self-medication using cannabis is strongly advised against.