WEED: Can it Help Slow Down Parkinson's Disease?
Marijuana could have the potential to slow down Parkinson’s progression of worsening.
The disease is considered to be the second most common neurological illness in the United States. Individuals usually experience slowness in moving, instability of posture, shakiness, and impaired balance.
A study from a review implies that symptoms of Parkinson’s condition could be better with the use of marijuana. The researchers found evidence of the plant containing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that could slow down the progression.
The review was conducted from the Touro College of Pharmacy in New York, NY by Professor Zvi Loewy and is published in the journal called Parkinson’s Disease.
An article published by Touro College Pharmacy stated, “he [the professor] and his fellow scientists undertook a comprehensive literature review and found clinical evidence that marijuana reduced motor symptoms including tremors and rigidity. They also found studies in people showing that marijuana can reduce pain and insomnia. Animal studies suggest that marijuana may reduce depression.”
The researchers involved noticed that medical marijuana was approved in select states in the U.S to treat symptoms of cancer, seizures, chronic pain, and more.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in the movement, cognitive functions, and psychological functions. People suffering from Parkinson’s disease get worse over time and occurs when the brain stops producing ample amounts of dopamine.
According to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, the two main chemicals that are typically isolated from the cannabis plant are Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). THC induces the mind-altering effects that recreational marijuana is known for, whereas CBD does not. Medical marijuana mostly consists of purified combinations of THC and CBD in different ratios. The combination can be dispensed as a liquid, pill or nasal spray. Both THC and CBD interact with the ECS (endocannabinoid system).
People with Parkinson’s have less of the CB-1 receptor than people who do not have the disease. Because THC’s indirect boost to the CB1 receptor through an agonist improves the tremors and could alleviate dyskinesia.
The key neurological dysfunction that causes Parkinson’s to worsen is the loss of dopamine in the brain. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, “a dopamine agonist is a drug that is not dopamine but attaches to the dopamine receptor. An antagonist is different as it attaches to the receptor but blocks the action of the natural chemical. Medical marijuana can contain both cannabinoid agonists and antagonists. Recreational marijuana use is derived from its effects on agonists.” In fewer words, marijuana could provide a short-term burst of dopamine. The different traceable amounts of each make it difficult for researchers to conduct conclusive trials.
Unfortunately, there is not enough information to provide a conclusive statement. The continuation of studies and trials suggests that marijuana could have a bright future with Parkinson’s and other diseases or ailments.
It is suggested to ask your doctor if medical marijuana could benefit you and to take note of mixing prescription drugs when consuming cannabis.