Information about Parkinson’s Disease:
Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects almost one million people in America. It is an incurable disorder that can eventually lead to death.
If left untreated, Parkinson’s Disease is rapidly progressive. Once someone has Parkinson’s Disease, they will require medication to prevent their condition from becoming worse. Unfortunately, conventional Parkinson’s medications have side effects that significantly diminish the patient’s quality of life.
Marijuana may be a safer alternative for those living with Parkinson’s Disease. This article explains how marijuana and CBD oil can treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
In the following video, you can find a summary of this article and you will see the first hand effects of CBD oil on a patient who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.
What is Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s is a chronic movement disorder, that’s also progressive, meaning it gets worse and worse over time. This movement disorder involves the death and malfunction of neurons, the brain’s vital nerve cells.
As the neurons die, some of them produce dopamine, the chemical that sends messages related to coordination and movement to the brain. As the disease progresses, dopamine production decreases, which leaves the sufferer without unable to control movement.
What Cause Parkinson’s Disease
Scientists have been studying Parkinson’s for decades, and still, have no definitive answer as to its exact causes. Many believe it’s caused by a combination of factors, environmental and genetic, which tend to vary from patient to patient.
Genetic factors play a major role in some people with Parkinson’s. For others, it may be related to environmental toxins, illnesses or another tragic event. Aging has also been identified by researchers as a vital risk factor. For people over the age of 60, the risk is two to four percent, in comparison to the general population, which is two percent.
Dopaminergic neurons are the genetic trigger or chemical responsible for starting the process of cell death. This has become the topic of many intensive studies related to PD. Scientists believe that learning how the sequence of events actually leads to dopamine cell loss could help come up with effective treatments to reverse or stop Parkinson’s disease.
Most cases of Parkinson’s are not inherited directly. Only about 15 to 25 percent have an immediate relative (parent or sibling) with PD. These people have a four to nine percent higher chance, in comparison to the general population, of developing the disease.
Scientists have been able to narrow down several gene mutations that may directly cause PD. But, this was found to be rare. Some involved genes that directly affect dopamine cell functions. For those who developed Parkinson’s at early ages, those individuals were found to have gene mutations for PINK1, LRRK2, DJ-1, glucocerebrosidase and parking, among others.
According to research, Parkinson’s disease may also be a result of injury or exposure to environmental toxins. Several possible linking factors have been identified by epidemiological research, such as manganese, rural living, well water and pesticides.
Other studies have shown that prolonged occupational exposure to certain chemicals elevates the risk of developing Parkinson’s. Some of these chemicals include:
- beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (pesticide)
- permethrin (pesticide)
- beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (pesticide)
- 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic (herbicide)
- Paraquat (herbicide)
- Maneb (fungicide)
MPTP, a synthetic neurotoxin agent, can also cause permanent and immediate parkinsonism. This discovery happened when people injected themselves with synthetic heroin that was contaminated with MPTP.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
For a doctor to diagnose a patient with PD, one or more of the four most common motor symptoms of Parkinson’s must exist. There are also secondary motor symptoms and nonmotor symptoms that are just as important when doctors evaluate and treat the disease.
Primary Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s
These are the primary motor symptoms (four most common) of PD:
– Slowness of movement. Reduction in spontaneous movement, decrease in facial expressivity, abnormal stillness
- Postural Instability
– Instability while standing upright. One of the most vital signs of Parkinson’s.
- Resting Tremor
– Shaking limbs, even when the person is sitting “still.” Often only affects fingers or hand.
– Inflexibility, and stiffness of the trunk, neck, and limbs. Unable stretch and relax normally.
Current Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease
The most common way to treat the symptoms of PD is with the use of prescription drugs. There is currently no cure or way to reverse the disease. Parkinson’s drugs are used primarily for treating its symptoms. There are also two common surgical procedures that can help bring relief to those suffering from the progressive movement disorder.
Prescriptions Parkinson’s Drugs
These are some of the common PD drugs used to help to manage the symptoms caused by Parkinson’s:
- Carbidopa/Levodopa therapy
- COMT Inhibitors
- Dopamine Agonists
Problems with Parkinson’s Medications
As with any prescription drug, Parkinson’s meds come with some side effects that may be more debilitating than the symptoms of the disease. Here are just some of the side effects of the most common PD medications:
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Stuffy nose
- Strange dreams
- Tingling or numbness
- Muscle pain
- Skin rash
CBD and Parkinson’s Disease
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant (cannabis, hemp, weed plant). According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), patients can get relief from Parkinson’s symptoms by inhaling marijuana.
Parkinson’s patients who inhale whole-plant cannabis found symptomatic relief from symptoms, according to a Clinical Neuropharmacology scientific article. Department of Neurology investigators at Tel Aviv University evaluated the symptoms of the diseases in “22 patients at baseline and 30-minutes after inhaling cannabis.”
Scientists found that those who inhaled marijuana, experienced:
- Significant improvement in rigidity, tremors, and bradykinesia (slowness of movement)
- Significant improvement in pain and sleep scores
Medical Research on Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Disease
Studies show that inhaling marijuana helps the symptoms of PD improve, according to clinical data published in the European Journal of Pain. The impact of exposure to cannabis on pain parameter and motor symptoms in Parkinson’s patients was assessed by researchers at the Rabin Medical Center in Israel and Tel Aviv University.
The investigators reported that inhaling cannabis was associated with symptom improvement within 30 minutes of inhalation. They concluded that inhaling medical marijuana improves both pain symptoms and motor scores in patients with PD.
A previous study conducted in Israel also evaluated PD and cannabis. These researchers reported identifying significant improvement in rigidity and tremors associated with PD. They also noted improvement in pain scores, sleep issues and slowness of movement (bradykinesia).
More than 20,000 patients in Israel currently receive medical marijuana under a federally regulated program. More than 90 percent of the patients who participated in the study reported significant improvements in both pain and motor functions.
Further evidence suggests that medical cannabis may have the potential to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease. This is done by providing neuroprotective effects. The CBD found in marijuana have this ability to suppress the oxidative, glial activation and excitotoxicity injury responsible for causing dopamine-releasing neurons degeneration.
In addition, CBD helps improve mitochondrial cell function and cellular debris clearance activation. This has been proven to encourage neuron health.
Medical Research on CBD and Parkinson’s Disease
Scientists have discovered evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active cannabinoid in marijuana, helps with treating Parkinson’s disease. Research shows that THC helps by helping to prevent damage caused by free radicals. It also activates a receptor that’s been known to promote new mitochondria formations, major issue with PD patients.
Another primary cannabinoid found in marijuana is Cannabidiol (CBD). This cannabinoid has proven its ability to promote the health of neural cells mitochondria. This led scientists to believe that CBD is a reliable, effective therapeutic option for neurodegenerative disorders because of its neuroprotective properties. This includes the Parkinson’s Disease.
Studies have also found that cannabinoids engage with cannabinoid receptors within the endocannabinoid system. Interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors help to modify and control the release of dopamine. Dopamine is the brain’s neurotransmitter responsible for “reward-motivated” behavior. Increasing dopamine improves overall mood and attitude.
Cannabis can also help Parkinson’s patients manage the systems associated with the disease. In one study, patients were observed after smoking marijuana. There were significant improvements in tremors, bradykinesia, pain, sleep, rigidity and motor impairments and disability.
Multiple studies have confirmed the ability of cannabis to help reduce both bradykinesia and tremors in Parkinson’s sufferers. A recent clinical trial found that medical marijuana significantly reduced motor issues and pain in Parkinson’s disease patients within just 30 minutes.
CBD vs. THC
The two main active compounds found in the cannabis plant are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). Research has proven that THC brings relief to certain side effects caused by Parkinson’s medications, such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Skin Rashes
However, THC does cause cannabis users to experience a euphoric high. Some people do not want to, or can’t deal with the high that comes from THC.
CBD, the other main active cannabinoid, counteracts the high caused by tetrahydrocannabinol. Cannabidiol helps promote the production of dopamine, which helps patients feel better without the high effects. This compound has also been proven to relieve depression and stress, which many Parkinson’s sufferers deal with daily.
How to Take Medical Marijuana for Relief from Parkinson’s Symptoms
The most popular way to take medical marijuana is to inhale it by smoking it in a vaporizer, pipe or rolled marijuana cigarette. But, these aren’t always good options for Parkinson’s patients due to motor function issues. Shaking, tremors, inflexibility, stiffness and slow movement make smoking weed a bit difficult.
Better options for taking medical marijuana for Parkinson’s symptoms include:
- Marijuana Edibles
– Baked goods, candies, dairy products and other goods (known as edibles) can have the same effects as smoking medical marijuana
- Cannabis Infused Honey
– DIY or buy it online and use it to heal and relieve skin rashes and itching caused by Parkinson’s medications
- Cannabis Creams and Cannabis Lip Balms
– Contains high levels of CBD which promotes healing and dopamine production
- CBD Oils
– Also an edible, which can be taken as drops or sprinkled on foods and in liquids for easy consumption
CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
CBD oil is known by many names, hemp oil, cannabis oil and marijuana oil. Overall, it’s shown success in various studies when it comes to giving Parkinson’s patients a more natural way of promoting neurological recovery without the side effects that come from prescription drugs.
For those who choose to take Parkinson’s medications, CBD oil helps relieve the side effects that come with these meds. The THC and CBD compounds in hemp oil react with the brain’s cannabinoid receptors to trigger dopamine production. This reduces the effects of PD.
Cannabis oil gives Parkinson’s sufferers a simple way to use medical marijuana. Just place a couple drops in your mouth, sprinkle it in your drink or food, or add it to your recipes when you cook and bake.
Growing Your Own Parkinson’s Medication
Growing your own medical marijuana makes buying your Parkinson’s medication more affordable. You only have to invest in some seeds, prepare your growing area and start growing cannabis. Plus, you add the convenience of having your PD meds at your disposal.
It takes a specific blend of THC and CBD to help relieve Parkinson’s symptoms and the side effects of Parkinson’s drugs. When you grow your own medical cannabis, you can grow multiple strains, and determine the one that’s best for you from day to day. Some high CBD strains include Blueberry, Trainwreck and Chocolope.
Growing medical marijuana is a natural way to find relief from the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
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The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]