PARKINSON’S DISEASE AND THE POTENTIAL OF CANNABIS THERAPYCategory: Newsworthy Notes
Medical marijuana may provide relief for patients with Parkinson’s disease, an ailment which has no known cure. Several pharmaceutical drugs have been manufactured to manage the symptoms, but as with most medications, the side effects can be very severe. However, marijuana is a safe alternative to pharmaceuticals, and it has been shown to be a powerful way to control Parkinson’s disease.
Marijuana as a Treatment Option – Marijuana has been employed for many years across the globe as a medicinal herb for a wide array of diseases. During the last few decades there has been increased interest on the use of the herb in treating various diseases, including Parkinson’s disease. Our bodies already produce cannabinoids which are also present in marijuana. Cannabinoids influence various body processes such as pain and inflammation. Therefore, if someone consumes marijuana, it can assist those natural chemicals to function more efficiently. Specifically, cannabinoids can relieve symptoms, such as dystonia and dyskinesia, which are prevalent in some patients suffering from the Parkinson’s disease. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the main cannabinoids present in marijuana. When consumed, they have a synergistic effect, which is to lower inflammation, manage spasms, and put off neurological damage. Marijuana is the best candidate for treating Parkinson’s disease, mainly because it does not lead to such serious side effects as the standard medications. Marijuana, particularly the CBD constituent, has neuro-protective (protecting destruction of neurons) characteristics, which may reduce the advancement of Parkinson’s disease. Several studies have been carried out in the past to illustrate the benefits of marijuana as the best alternative treatment option for Parkinson’s disease. According to a study conducted in 2002 by Dr. Evzin Ruzicka, a neurologist at Charles University in Prague in the Czech Republic, almost 50 percent of patients who were receiving medical marijuana treatment said that the herb assisted them to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. In another notable study, which was conducted in March 2014, researchers at Tel Aviv University’s Rabin Medical Center in Israel demonstrated how 22 patients with Parkinson’s disease (13 men, 9 women), had their symptoms alleviated as a result of consuming medical marijuana.
The researchers discovered that consuming marijuana resulted in significant improvements in the patients’ disease symptoms. Importantly, patients were seen to experience reduced tremors, rigidity, and dyskinesia. In addition, the researchers also observed that patients were able to get better sleep and showed improvement in terms of pain scores. Interestingly, the study did not report any significant adverse effects resulting from the use of the herb in treating Parkinson’s disease. Even though the studies on the use of marijuana as a potential treatment method for Parkinson’s disease are not conclusive, it is possible to use the herb to relieve symptoms or possibly enhance existing medication to make the treatment more efficient. The herb can assist in managing the adverse side effects of Parkinson’s disease, as it is able to prevent neurological impairment and improve the quality of life of those suffering from the ailment.
Conclusion Marijuana has been shown to reduce the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, this calls for increased research by the medical community to pursue efficient ways of utilizing this herb to alleviate the suffering of Parkinson’s patients. If more research is carried out in the area it could result in better symptom management for patients. In addition, the introduction of efficient ways of administering cannabinoid medicine could contribute to efforts to combat the advancement, and potentially initiation, of Parkinson’s disease.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Wikipedia description of Endocannabinoids are eicosanoids acting as agonists for cannabinoid receptors and they occur naturally in the body. Cannabinoid receptor-related processes are for example involved in cognition, memory, anxiety, control of appetite, emesis, motor behavior, sensory, autonomic and neuroendocrine responses, immune responses and inflammatory effects. There are two well-characterized endocannabinoids located in the brain and periphery. The first identified was anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide) and the second was 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol). Additional endocannabinoids include virodhamine (O-arachidonoyl ethanolamine), noladin ether (2-arachidonoyl glyceryl ether) and NADA (N-arachidonoyl dopamine).