Updated on December 16, 2022. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Shatha Atiya.
People have utilized cannabis for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. More recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis, particularly for treating chronic pain and symptom management for conditions like cancer and diabetes. Today, patients with Parkinson’s disease are also turning to medical marijuana to alleviate some of the symptoms of their condition.
Parkinson’s Disease: Symptoms and Causes
Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological disorder affecting movement, muscle control, and balance. The exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, but experts believe it is related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, and currently available treatments can only help manage the symptoms.
Some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include
- Tremors (shaking movements, mainly in hands)
- Loss of smell
- Difficulty in moving or walking
- Muscle stiffness
- Loss of automatic movements
- Changes in writing
- Changes in speech
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) vs Parkinson’s Disease vs Restless Leg Syndrome vs Weed Shaking/ Weed Shakes
The conversation on cannabis and Parkinson’s disease brings up other similar medical conditions. For instance, multiple sclerosis (MS), restless leg syndrome (RLS), and weed shakes or weed shaking.
There are a few differences between multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, restless leg syndrome, and weed shakes.
First, multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, while Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological disorder. Secondly, MS symptoms can include muscle weakness and paralysis, while Parkinson’s features tremors and difficulty with movement. Thirdly, MS can also cause problems with vision, balance, and coordination, while Parkinson’s mainly affects motor skills. Finally, MS is typically diagnosed in young adults, while Parkinson’s is more common in older people.
Both Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome (RLS) can cause individuals to experience uncomfortable sensations in their legs. In Parkinson’s disease, these sensations are accompanied by other symptoms, such as rigidity, tremors, and difficulty walking. RLS, on the other hand, is primarily characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs. There is no cure for either condition, but treatments are available that can help to relieve symptoms. Some people with RLS find that marijuana can help to reduce their symptoms.
Weed shaking, on the other hand, is often confused with tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease, but there are a few key differences. Weed shaking is usually much less violent and occurs when the person smoking weed is high. It is also typically temporary and goes away after the person sobers up. Parkinson’s tremors, on the other hand, are often more severe and can be constant. Weed shaking may also affect both sides of the body evenly, while Parkinson’s tremors usually start on one side and then spread to the other side.
Understanding Medical Marijuana
Marijuana, also known as cannabis, pot, or weed, contains chemicals that can help to relieve pain, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, it also works to improve appetite and help with weight gain. Many patients are turning to cannabis to treat a variety of conditions, for example:
- Tourette syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Multiple sclerosis
Currently, 37 states in the US allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Still, different territories have particular requirements for individuals to meet the eligibility requirements for medicinal cannabis. The following states currently approve medical marijuana for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease:
- New Mexico
- New York
- West Virginia
Is your state missing from the list above? Do not worry. Due to the chronic nature of Parkinson’s, you still stand a chance to get your medical marijuana card in other states we serve.
Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Disease: What’s the Link?
There is anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana can help to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The active compounds in cannabis, known as cannabinoids, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system regulates some bodily functions, including mood, appetite, and sleep. Some research suggests that the endocannabinoid system may also be involved in the development of Parkinson’s disease. However, more research is needed to confirm this link.
While medical marijuana may offer some benefits for people with Parkinson’s disease, it is vital to remember that it is not a cure. And more studies are needed to determine the long-term effects of medical marijuana use.
Pros and Cons of Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s disease
The medical use of marijuana is a controversial topic, and marijuana’s effectiveness in treating Parkinson’s disease is no exception. Some people believe that marijuana can help relieve symptoms of the disease, while others are concerned about the potential side effects.
The pros of using medical cannabis for Parkinson’s disease based on anecdotal evidence and scientific studies include:
- Pain relief
- Easing muscle stiffness
- Reducing tremors and improving muscle control
- Appetite stimulation
- Nausea relief
Additionally, marijuana may also help to improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety.
Despite the pros, there is also some concern that marijuana may aggravate the symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s. For instance:
- Marijuana may negatively affect memory consolidation by worsening cognitive function.
- Cannabis can interact with other medications used to treat the disease.
- The potential for abuse and addiction.
Ultimately, whether or not to use marijuana as a treatment for Parkinson’s is a personal decision that should be made in consultation with a professional medical marijuana doctor.
CBD or THC for Parkinson’s
While there is still much unknown about Parkinson’s disease, scientists have begun to study the potential benefits of CBD and THC for patients.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound that causes the “high” associated with marijuana use.
CBD Oil for Parkinson’s
CBD oil is a natural remedy effective in treating several chronic conditions, including pain, anxiety, and inflammation. In recent years, CBD oil has gained popularity as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
CBD oil is linked to Parkinson’s disease treatment because it helps reduce inflammation and improve nerve function. A small study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that CBD oil excelled in reducing tremor severity in patients with Parkinson’s disease. More research is needed to confirm these findings, but CBD oil may offer hope for those with this debilitating condition.
Best CBD oil for Parkinson’s patients
There are many ways one can consume cannabis for Parkinson’s disease. Several cannabis products, including CBD oil, are readily available in the market. Some of the popular forms of marijuana products are:
- Edibles (gummies, candies, and cookies)
- Softgel capsules
Many patients use CBD products to get relief from PD symptoms. If you are looking for a place to get the best CBD oil for Parkinson’s patients, OnlineCBDStore has a lot in store for you.
For medical-grade cannabis products, you must get a medical marijuana card for access.
Is CBD oil good for Parkinson’s?
It is important to note that more research is necessary to determine whether CBD oil is truly effective for treating Parkinson’s disease. Until then, patients should consult their with cannabis doctor before trying any form of cannabis treatment.
THC and Parkinson’s
THC works to help alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by improving motor skills, sleep, and appetite.
Research suggests that THC helps increase levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is deficient in people with Parkinson’s. As a result, THC can help to improve the quality of life for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Moreover, THC may also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which are believed to contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease.
While more research is needed, THC could potentially be a helpful treatment for some patients with Parkinson’s disease.
While it is not definitive that cannabis helps with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, some sufferers of the condition report significant improvements after using marijuana. Cannabis contains compounds that can act on the same receptors in the brain as many of the drugs used to treat Parkinson’s, and it may be able to provide some relief from symptoms like tremors and muscle stiffness.
In addition, cannabis is generally well-tolerated and has few side effects, making it a potentially attractive option for patients struggling to manage their Parkinson’s symptoms. However, it is vital to speak with an MMJ doctor before trying any new treatment, as cannabis can interact with other medications.