Parkinson’s Disease

Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease patients report that medical marijuana improves their motor symptoms, reduces tremors, and enhances their sense of well-being. Medical marijuana also helps to relieve anxiety, alleviate pain, and regulate sleep disorders.

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Florida patients are eligible to receive a medical marijuana recommendation for Parkinson's disease

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease affects about one million Americans, making it the second most common neurological disease in the U.S.

The area of the brain that regulates movement, called the substantia nigra, has a concentration of cells that produce dopamine. Dopamine acts as a neurotransmitter, carrying signals to other parts of the brain to control movement. In Parkinson’s disease, these cells degenerate and produce less and less dopamine. When between 60% and 80% of these cells are damaged, the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s appear, and the patient is increasingly unable to regulate movements and emotions.

Experts do not know what causes Parkinson’s. Most people do not develop the disease until they are 60 or older. It is possible that exposure to environmental toxins might be responsible, and some cases are hereditary.

There is currently no cure. The disease progresses slowly; many people live with Parkinson’s for years.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Early indications of Parkinson’s disease include loss of sense of smell, sleep disorders, and constipation. The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease typically affect one side of the body first, and stay worst on that side.

Common symptoms include

  • Tremors
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
  • Muscle stiffness and rigidity
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Impaired posture and balance
  • Loss of automatic movements such as blinking or smiling
  • Slurred, soft, hesitant, or rapid speech
  • Difficulty writing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Constipation and bladder problems
  • Emotional swings and depression
  • Fatigue
  • Pain

How Medical Marijuana Helps with Parkinson’s Disease

The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are typically treated with physical therapy and with medications that attempt to replace dopamine. These medications have unpleasant side effects, including uncontrolled involuntary movements (dyskinesia). Medical marijuana offers a different approach to treatment. Recent research suggests that the endocannabinoid system is significantly involved in Parkinson’s disease. It appears that the cannabinoid compounds in marijuana bind to dopamine receptors to reduce the effects of lessening dopamine in the brain.

Parkinson’s patients who use medical marijuana report that they have better control over their movements, and their tremors are reduced. Medical marijuana also increases their sense of well-being and helps alleviate pain and stiffness. A laboratory study on Parkinson’s cells suggests that the neuroprotective characteristics of medical cannabis might save neurons from degeneration caused by Parkinson’s.

Get medical marijuana for Parkinson’s

Now Florida patients can use medical marijuana treatment to help with Parkinson’s disease


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