Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a motor system disorder that causes those afflicted to gradually lose control of their movements. As of 2023, roughly half a million Americans—most of them male—have a diagnosis, though it’s believed the actual number may well be twice that.

Parkinson’s disease affects the central nervous system, but it doesn’t impact everyone the same way. Some patients will experience tremors and changes in facial expressions. As the disease progresses, a patient could experience debilitating muscle stiffness, loss of balance, and other symptoms that affect his or her ability to move.

Parkinson’s results from a loss of brain cells that produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine. This causes a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild tremors and slowed movements to shaking, muscle rigidity, and typically a host of secondary symptoms that include anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia. The risk of PD increases with age, and because it’s a degenerative disorder, the symptoms tend to worsen over time. This can often lead to difficulties talking, walking, and completing simple tasks.

While this may be an unpleasant prognosis, there’s hope. Thankfully, a growing body of evidence suggests there’s a beneficial relationship between medical marijuana and Parkinson’s.

Potential Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease

While the evidence is not yet conclusive, it appears that cannabis can help those suffering from PD. How? As you may already know, our bodies interact with cannabis medicine through specialized cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Because many of these receptor cells are concentrated in parts of the brain that control movement, some researchers believe that cannabis might be able to help relieve the primary Parkinson’s symptoms associated with movement and motor control.

A growing body of research suggests that cannabis can be helpful in relieving pain and symptoms associated with motor control in Parkinson’s patients, and may support a reduction in the use of opioids. Medical cannabis may also help patients with other symptoms related to mood and sleep, and early evidence suggests it is safe when taken long term.

Exploring the Potential Neuroprotective Effects of Medical Marijuana

At the moment, researchers can’t say with certainty whether cannabis will benefit specific Parkinson’s patients or why it appears to help some people but not others. But one answer may lay in the known anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis. Parkinson’s is associated with inflammatory responses in the brain and are strong indications that it’s triggered by such events

Over and above Parkinson’s, cannabis may have a role to play in helping manage the symptoms of other disorders. As we’ve explored previously, there are strong indications that the cannabinoids in marijuana—in particular CBD—exhibit broadly neuroprotective effects.

Could CBD and Parkinson’s have such a beneficial interaction? At the moment, a world-first clinical trial aims to answer that question

Cannabis for Parkinson’s: Patients Now Have Options

As with all matters relating to medical marijuana and Parkinson’s, we’ll share news and information about this intriguing avenue for treatment as they become available. In the meantime, if you have any further questions about cannabis, Parkinson’s, or other marijuana-related topics, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always here to help.

Our medical team at Vireo Health has extensive experience supporting thousands of patients utilizing medical cannabis as a treatment. We utilize the latest scientific research, internal protocols, and our extensive experience to help you find your best medical cannabis treatment regimen. We offer a wide variety of best-in-class medical marijuana products, which can be used to treat qualifying patients with Parkinson’s. We also conveniently offer delivery, online scheduling for patients as well as virtual consultations.


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