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Is Medical Marijuana Good for Parkinson’s Disease?

Researchers expect that nine million people will have Parkinson’s disease by 2030. As the second-most common neurodegenerative disorder in the U.S., many aging adults are seeking alternative natural remedies to alleviate the debilitating symptoms. So, is marijuana good for Parkinson’s disease (PD)?

At LeafMed, a medical cannabis dispensary in Mississippi, we’re your go-to guide to medical cannabis. Below, we discuss everything you need to know about using medical cannabis to alleviate symptoms of PD. 

How Medical Marijuana Interacts With Parkinson’s Disease

To learn how medical marijuana interacts with Parkinson’s disease, we first must understand how the disease attacks the body and how marijuana’s active mechanisms interact with similar neural functions. Read on to continue learning. 

Understanding Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder caused by a reduction in dopaminergic neurons in the brain’s substantia nigra. Essentially, the disease causes parts of your brain to deteriorate over time. Parkinson’s disease affects the central nervous system and brain, resulting in progressively worsening nerve and movement-related symptoms. 

The primary Parkinson’s disease symptoms include:

  • Uncontrollable movements
  • Shaking and stiffness
  • Difficulty balancing 
  • Tremors
  • Slowed movements
  • Inability to walk or talk over time 
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Psychosis
  • Cognitive impairment 

Doctors currently have no cure for Parkinson’s disease. Instead, remedies involve slowing its progression or alleviating symptoms to help improve the patient’s quality of life. The primary option for most patients with mild Parkinson’s disease is a medication that can activate dopamine receptors using a replacement agent. However, this medication causes irreversible dyskinesia (uncontrolled muscle movements) later on, leaving many patients looking for alternative ways to manage symptoms.

Medical Marijuana’s Active Mechanisms

Medical marijuana contains cannabinoids that bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body’s central nervous system and immune system. Through this binding, medical cannabis can influence the endocannabinoid system’s functions, including immune responses, nervous system reactions, critical organ health, and more. 

Globus pallidus and substantia nigra (the area of the brain that Parkinson’s disease impacts) are critical brain environments that control body movements and contain the densest amount of CB1 receptors and endocannabinoids, making it highly receptive to cannabinoid activation and influences. 

Medical cannabis can interact with Parkinson’s disease by suppressing and activating various neurological responses. Cannabinoids are critical in controlling movements in the parts of the brain that Parkinson’s affects, so medical marijuana can synthesize an increase in these necessary components. 

Medical marijuana’s ability to activate CB1 receptors can also protect the brain from dopaminergic lesions and dyskinesia. 

Can Marijuana Improve Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

So, is marijuana good for Parkinson’s disease? Let’s look at the clinical research.

In a study on 85 patients with Parkinson’s disease, 46% reported an improvement in their symptoms after using cannabis along with their typical medications. Most patients reported an improvement in bradykinesia (slowness of movement), while 14% reported fewer uncontrolled muscle movements. Many studies state that additional research should further test marijuana’s effectiveness in improving other symptoms. 

Can I Use Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease in Mississippi?

Mississippi allows marijuana usage for medical patients with qualifying conditions. According to the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program, Parkinson’s disease is a qualifying condition.

If you’re interested in beginning medical cannabis for Parkinson’s disease, you should consult your healthcare professional first to discuss how it will fit within your current medication regimen. Medical cannabis typically doesn’t cause severe adverse reactions, but you still need to discuss potential drug interactions and side effects with your provider.

Continue Learning About Medical Marijuana With LeafMed

So, is marijuana good for Parkinson’s disease? According to some clinical research, yes, though the results aren’t fully confirmed yet. If you’d like to continue learning about the natural remedy, view our guide on debunking medical marijuana myths.

At LeafMed, we aim to keep you informed on all things relating to medical cannabis. Whether you have a question or are ready to shop for products, we’re here to help. Visit one of our dispensaries in Mississippi or call our LeafMed team if you have any questions (228) 382-5323.