Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for the condition currently. Can medical marijuana be of use in curing Parkinson’s disease or alleviating associated symptoms?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) can be very challenging to cope with, causing a mixture of motor and non-motor symptoms that affect nearly every aspect of daily living. Although the medications that doctors prescribe can be helpful, there remain gaps in what the medications can treat. 

It is a progressive, permanent condition that affects the nervous system. Over time, stiffness and slowed cognition can develop. Eventually, this can lead to more severe symptoms, such as moving and speech difficulties. You may even experience tremors as well as posture changes.

Researchers are constantly looking for new therapies that can help people manage PD symptoms and overall quality of life. Marijuana is one possible alternative treatment.

With medical marijuana now legalized in 29 states and Washington, D.C., it is obvious that there is strong interest in its therapeutic properties. Researchers are testing cannabis as a treatment for many illnesses and diseases, with Parkinson’s disease (PD) high on the list.  But despite several clinical studies, it has not been demonstrated that cannabis can directly benefit people with PD.

For PD, marijuana is thought to provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Pain Relief
  • Reduced Tremors
  • Better Sleep
  • Enhanced Mood
  • Flexibility

These benefits are attributed to the muscle-relaxing and analgesic effects of marijuana.

Though marijuana can come with minor side effects, some people prefer these over some of the risk factors associated with common PD medications. Potential adverse effects include: 

  • Ankle Swelling
  • Blotching of the Skin
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Involuntary Movements
  • Memory Problems
  • Nausea
  • Liver Damage
  • Problems Urinating
  • Sleepiness