Research, Treatment

Research Shows Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Treatment for Parkinson’s Symptoms

May 28, 2021 03:30 pm ET
Research Shows Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Treatment for Parkinson’s Symptoms

The sad reality is that getting old ain’t for the weak. Aging leaves us more susceptible to conditions that can significantly reduce the quality of life. One example is Parkinson’s disease. It has been recorded that more than 10 million people around the world are currently living with Parkinson’s disease and that the risk of presenting with the condition increases significantly as you age. The Parkinson’s Foundation states that only 4% of those with Parkinson’s disease are under the age of 50, while the remaining are older. Living with Parkinson’s can be really tough and effective medication often comes at a cost of other side effects. Fortunately, research shows that cannabis can help treat some of Parkinson’s symptoms. Cannabis is non-conventional but still an effective alternative that can help improve the quality of life while living with such a condition.  

Living With Parkinson’s Disease

Living with a condition such as Parkinson’s disease is challenging as progressive changes to motor functioning take place. Although many of the signs and symptoms of this disease are physical, it can also lead to depression, impaired sleep, pain, and even cognitive dysfunction. Living with this condition not only reduces the quality of life for the individual with it but it also places a lot of strain on the person who is responsible for their care, whether a family member or a trained caregiver. A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease can be overwhelming, especially since most of the condition is uncontrolled. An active role in treatment is the best manner to alleviate some of the pressure and overwhelming nature of this condition. 

Research Shows How Cannabis Can Help Parkinson’s Symptoms

  • Improved motor and non-motor symptoms: A study published in 2016 demonstrated that cannabis was effective in alleviating motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease including bradykinesia, rigidity, tremors, sleep problems, and pain.
  • Bradykinesia: One of the hallmark signs of Parkinson’s is bradykinesia which is a slowing of movement or even muscle freezing. This study found that cannabis was most effective in alleviating the symptom of bradykinesia.
  • Hand-eye coordination: This study conducted on animal models with Parkinson’s disease found that cannabis was effective in improving both activity and hand-eye coordination. The same study also found that there was improved REM (rapid eye movement) behavior in sleep problems.
  • Calming effect: Patients with Parkinson’s disease reported a “calming effect” concerning their tremors and dyskinesia in this study.
  • Reduced disability: A study found that cannabis leads to a lower level of disability in cannabis users in comparison to those who did not smoke cannabis. The same study also found that cannabis had a positive effect on memory, mood, and fatigue in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Depression: Depression is a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease, with a prevalence of up to 50%. Often this depression goes undiagnosed or untreated according to this study. However, the same study found that cannabis assisted the body’s endocannabinoid system with regulating their mood and behavior, which ultimately led to a significant reduction of depression.

There is more research available on cannabis for Parkinson’s disease but they are all reporting the same things which are that cannabis is effective in alleviating and improving the motor (movement), and non-motor (such as sleep and depression) symptoms associated with cannabis. 

Using Medical Cannabis for Parkinson’s Disease

Another benefit of choosing cannabis for alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is that cannabis can be consumed/administered in a variety of manners. Since the condition mostly impacts the elderly, let’s have a look at some of the best methods for consuming cannabis as a senior. 

  • Ingestion through edibles, capsules, and oils. 
  • Ingestion through vaporizing capsules. 
  • Application through cannabis patches.
  • Application through ointment and oils.

When considering cannabis for treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, it is important to remember that the product should not be too high in potency in order to avoid risks of inducing anxiety or increasing anxiety but the products should be full-or broad-spectrum in order to get the most out of the cannabis

Senior citizens stand to gain the most from the medical and therapeutic benefits that cannabis has to offer. Cannabis can alleviate many aging concerns such as inflammation, pain and disrupted sleep. Unfortunately, senior citizens are most at risk of presenting with Parkinson’s disease but luckily, cannabis is here to help. 

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