Recently, there has been heightened interest in studying the medical properties of cannabis. However, there is still much research necessary to understand exactly how it benefits patients with Parkinson’s disease. Despite this, more study is underway, there is more than enough evidence proving it capable of relieving the worst symptoms of this disease, even potentially reversing some of its damage.
Marijuana, a species of the Cannabis Sativa plant, contains well over 100 different cannabinoids. These compounds all have their own unique health benefits and capacities for healing. The most famous is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is psychoactive and affects brain function. Evidence proves it helping the pain, muscle spasms, nausea, and even alters the mental process, including mood, perception, behavior, and consciousness. This may explain its popularity and the vast queues at a Santa Monica dispensary.
CBD, the second most famous cannabinoid, is non-psychoactive. It does not make you “high.” However, it offers an abundance of medical benefits all its own. Scientists proved it treats many conditions, including multiple sclerosis, depression, chronic pain, and yes, Parkinson’s. According to the European Journal of Internal Medicine, it effectively treats pain, nausea, and sleeping issues in cancer patients.
Parkinson’s patients suffer these same symptoms and more. Because of the abundance of cannabinoids and multiple approaches to their administration, it is becoming increasingly obvious with discoveries of their benefits that they will help most symptoms. You can consume marijuana in different ways, each with its own mechanism of action. You can smoke it, eat it, spray it, swallow it, and even apply it.
How Cannabinoids Work
Your body’s own endocannabinoid system produces its own natural cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. They control most physical and mental processes, such as appetite, sleep, and mood. They bind to or influence endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body and brain. Called CB1 and CB2 receptors, these neurotransmitters are responsible for human health and wellbeing.
These receptors act much like switches. When an endocannabinoid activates a receptor, it triggers a biological reaction within that cell. THC primarily binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, which respond by the “high” you feel. CB1 receptors work mainly within the immune system and its associated processes, as well as on specific brain cells responsible for pain perception.
Cannabinoids are very similar to endocannabinoids and work in almost the exact same way. They activate or suppress these receptors with the same efficiency and effectiveness. Cannabinoids support the whole endocannabinoid system, rebalancing all body functions and processes and getting them to function properly once again. In this way, cannabinoids are treating almost all diseases and symptoms.
Endocannabinoid receptors congregate in the basal ganglia, an area deep within the brain that produces dopamine and has a huge role in human movement. In the case of Parkinson’s, malfunction within this area causes the immobility symptoms associated with the disease. Scientists believe that cannabinoids, which bind directly to responsible receptors, have a hugely therapeutic effect on these symptoms.
Effects of Marijuana on Parkinson’s
Although people have been using marijuana forever to treat pain, help them sleep, and more, research is only now investigating its efficacy and safety. Thus far, results are incredibly promising, with studies proving cannabis antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and much more. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, of special interest in Parkinson’s is neuroprotection, since it could prevent the loss of dopamine-producing neurons.
Many clinical studies and anecdotes show cannabis effectively treating symptoms in a myriad of conditions, including Parkinson’s disease. Despite the immense promise in aiding movement issues in animal models, such as slowness, tremor, and levodopa-induced dyskinesia, results are frequently confusing and mixed. Its evidence is clear in non-motor issues, such as anxiety, memory, and sleep.
Sadly, regulatory restrictions have been hampering most clinical studies into using cannabis specifically for Parkinson’s treatment. Some studies themselves have shortcomings, such as small participant sizes, variability in THC and CBD levels, and different consumption methods. This makes comparative study extremely difficult, resulting in the widespread dismissal of some studies due to these issues.
This is why scientists are now focusing on renewed energy on a more rigorous study on larger participant samples. This is necessary to reach any conclusion about just how cannabinoids treat Parkinson’s so effective. Such research will set the standard for appropriate dosages, safe administration, which symptoms to treat, how to treat them, and more.
Potential Risks of Marijuana in Parkinson’s
There are few side effects associated with cannabinoid therapy, and then they are just temporary, such as the “high” so common with its use. However, there are some risks involved when using it to treat Parkinson’s disease. THC affects the executive function and thinking, impaired already in sufferers, but CBD does not. Additionally, cannabinoids may influence the efficacy of dopaminergic and other treatments.
Visit a Santa Monica Dispensary
Once you discuss cannabinoid treatment with your physician, and he or she works out the correct dosages for you that do not alter the efficacy of your current medications, then you can visit any Santa Monica dispensary. Help is available to guide you through the many different marijuana strains on offer, as well as the various products, how they work, and their physical and mental effects.