Medicinal Cannabis Helps Provide Relief for Parkinson’s Disease Patients

April marks Parkinson’s awareness month. How does this relate to medicinal cannabis? 

Recent studies have shown the positive effects of cannabinoidsand various blends of terpenes that inproper ratios can have positive effects on Parkinson’s patients by providing significant relief from the disease’s most debilitating symptoms.  

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the dopamine producing neurons in the brain, progressively, causing dopamine levels to drop and seizing overall production of dopamine. Common symptoms include tremors as well as shaking of limbs and hands, rigid muscles, sleep issues, muscle spasms, balance loss, cognitive function problems, and dementia or memory loss. A patient suffering from these symptoms must cope with impairment of motor control.

The endocannabinoid system is essentially a large cell receptor system in the body, and the use of cannabinoids engages this system. As we know, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for the regulation of almost everything including mobility, the immune system, sleep, memory, and appetite. The cannabinoids have neuro-protectant, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial for managing Parkinson’s disease. When activated, the endocannabinoid system has a neuroprotective effect that attempts to mitigate neural damage that Parkinson’s disease brings on.

Let’s get specific.

There are exactregions of the brain the cannabinoids are connected to that aid in the relief of symptoms. The primary region of the brain affected by Parkinson’s, the basal ganglia, has a high concentration of CB1 receptors that can be activated by and binds with THC, most abundantly found in cannabis. If used on its own, THC can actually worsen motor symptoms, which is where the entourage effect comes into play.

Both THC and CBD are needed in a ratio in order for CBD to work effectively. The interactive relationship between the two cannabis compounds is often referred to as “the entourage effect,” which describes the effect chemicals can have on the human body only through combination.

While THC and CBD alone can help relieve specific symptoms of stress or nausea, when combined and blended with other cannabinoids, CBD can reduce the hallucinatory effects of THC and can strengthen each other’s effects. Therefore, when multiple components of cannabis interact together, it’s able to generate a much stronger influence on health and become more medically beneficial.

The benefits medicinal cannabis provide for Parkinson’s patients include:
  • Arthritis relief
  • Anti-inflammatory agents
  • Anti-psychotic effects
  • Relief from neuropathic pain symptoms – pain caused by damaged nerves
  • Sleep aid

CBD has also been shown to have neuroprotective and anti-psychotic impacts on Parkinson’s disease patients, enabling them to experience improvements in movement impairments and sleep disturbances. Overall, it appears the entourage effect of CBD and THC have a promising future in aiding those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.