Dealing with Parkinson’s disease can be challenging to cope with and it causes both motor and non-motor symptoms that can affect all aspects of the patient’s living. Even though the types of medication that doctors prescribe are helpful, they leave gaps in what they can treat. Understandably, individuals with Parkinson’s disease are always searching for alternatives to help with their symptoms and most of them consider therapies like medical marijuana.
Parkinson’s disease affects roughly one million individuals in the United States alone. It is a neurological disorder, which affects the movements of a patient and its symptoms can worsen as its severity progresses. The primary causes of the disease are unknown and currently incurable. The treatment options include surgery and prescription medication. The treatment only helps the patients manage the symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease causes the malfunctioning and death of brain nerve cells – neurons. The neurons, known as the substantia nigra, facilitate good functioning of the brain and are responsible for the production of dopamine, which sends messages to the part of the brain that controls coordination and movements. As the Parkinson’s disease progresses, the patients are unable to control their body movements.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
The signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease differ from patient to patient. The early signs of this disease can be mild or go unnoticed and start on one side of the body and remain worse on the side, including after the symptoms start affecting both sides. The symptoms include:
- Tremor or shaking, which starts in a limb – mostly on the fingers or hand
- Slowed movement, which makes the simple tasks time-consuming and difficult
- Rigid muscles in any body part
- Stooped posture and body balance problems
- Inability to perform unconscious movements such as blinking, swinging the arms and smiling
- Speech changes – the patients tend to speak quickly, softly, slur or hesitate before they start talking.
- They might have problems writing and writing can appear small
Cannabis and the Parkinson’s disease patient’s brain
Medicinal marijuana exerts numerous effects on the user’s brain after consumption. It is not very different from any other human extracted plants like foxglove plant, which is a medication for the heart disease or the Taxus species plant that provides paclitaxel – a medication for some forms of cancer. Scientific studies have shown that the effects of medical cannabis arise after some of its compounds bind with human brain receptors, known as the endocannabinoid system (ES). Cannabis contains over 60 active compounds.
CITIVA is planning to expand their research towards finding effective ways of alleviating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. They have been working to develop treatment options based on the study Snider and Consroe conducted in the year 1985. The study indicated that CBD is the only compound in cannabis that can benefit Parkinson’s disease patients. Other researchers have proved that CBD and THC, administered in vapor inhalation method, help alleviate shakes and tremors associated with the Parkinson’s disease.
In the United States, some states have legalized the use of medicinal cannabis as a treatment option for Parkinson’s disease. To start using it, patients require a doctor’s prescription.