More people than ever are interested in the therapeutic properties of marijuana, also known as cannabis. It is currently being tested as a treatment method for several neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's Disease, and the results are promising.
The Role of Cannabinoid Receptors
Cannabinoids are made in our bodies naturally and are crucial for maintaining homeostasis. In other words, these chemical compounds regulate such processes as appetite, mood and sleep by binding to cannabinoid receptors which can be found throughout the brain and body. The two primary types of cannabinoid receptor are CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors are found in the brain and react to THC. Similarly, CB2 receptors are most common in the cells of the immune system and brain cells responsible for the alleviation of pain.
High concentrations of cannabinoid receptors are found in the basal ganglia part of the brain. This is where neurons that produce dopamine are found. Maintaining healthy levels of dopamine is crucial in Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients. Without it, they can suffer from depression. While not commonly known, pain is a symptom of depression and PD patients suffer from too much pain already.
The basal ganglia, found in the middle of your brain and linked with several critical areas of your brain, is also known to be involved in the movement symptoms of Parkinson's, such as:
- Slowness of movement
- Fainting or dizziness
- Facial masking
- Balance issues and tendency to fall
- Stooped posture
- Difficulty moving or walking
Cannabis and Parkinson's Disease
Cannabis is a safe, effective treatment method for Parkinson's Disease. Unlike prescription pain medications, there is no risk of developing an addiction to cannabis and there are no nasty side effects.
Cannabis also has anti-inflammatory properties and can control symptoms ranging from nausea to muscle spasms.
Published data shows that 82% of people suffering from Parkinson's Disease experience debilitating pain. In patients under 60, this pain is usually in the shoulder and foot. In patients 60 and older, this pain is usually in the neck and back.
The same study shows that 77% of people with Parkinson's Disease take medication to manage their pain. Often, these patients are prescribed opioids. While opioids are effective at pain management, they also carry the risk of severe side effects, addiction and life-threatening overdoses. Cannabis, on the other hand, is physically impossible to overdose on, has been used for thousands of years to treat pain and does not carry the risk of severe side effects in individuals without heart conditions.
Cannabis has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research has shown that both of these characteristics are helpful in the prevention of neuron damage. This applies to Parkinson's in that scientists believe inflammation damages the brain neurons responsible for producing dopamine. This contributes to some of PD's symptoms. With the help of cannabis, you can reduce the rate of neuron damage in your brain and the progression of Parkinson's.
Cannabis also provides other benefits to PD patients. For example, depending on the type of cannabis consumed, the nausea and sleep disorders associated with Parkinson's can be reduced. Moreover, because cannabis has muscle relaxant properties, patients can benefit from easier movement.
Is Cannabis Right For You?
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from Parkinson's Disease, contact us today at Marijuana Doctor Now in Sarasota, FL. We would love for you to schedule an initial consultation so we can answer all your questions regarding cannabis for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease.
In the state of Florida, PD is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. The first step to obtain a medical marijuana card is coming in for a consultation. We invite you to come in for a consultation, to discuss your treatment plan and recommend any adjunct therapies to help you begin feeling your very best.