Can Marijuana Help with Parkinson’s Disease?

One of the most debilitating disorders, Parkinson’s causes a lot of motor as well as other problems affecting the patient’s daily life. While there are medicines that can deal with the symptoms, effects are not satisfactory and a lot of people look for more natural options to treat their condition. Recent research has suggested that medical marijuana can prove to be an effective alternative to PD treatments. Let us try to understand how it can help and whether it is really effective for people with Parkinson’s disease.

How Marijuana Affects Brain

Marijuana is a plant species that affect the human brain and body in numerous ways when consumed. The herb was traditionally used for its psychoactive effects on the mind and for spirituality. It was popularly used for recreation and relaxation due to its ability to alter the state of mind. Further investigation showed that the compounds present in the plant bind with chemicals in the brain to alter the way it perceives different sensations. The plant contains more than 100 components that work in different ways in the brain by influencing the receptors to give relief from a variety of conditions.

The Effect on Endocannabinoid System

Every mammal including humans has an endocannabinoid system in the body that contains receptors located in different parts of the body and chemicals that bind to the endocannabinoids. Because of this binding, this system maintains a balance in the body and regulates functions like immune system response, mood, pain perception, appetite and cognition. Science has discovered that components of the cannabis plant can work like chemicals binding with the endocannabinoid receptors in the body to keep the body functioning optimally.

THC and CBD

Cannabidiol and THC are two of the most popular cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. When ingested, the two compounds influence the cannabinoid receptors in the body to reduce the symptoms of various health conditions and improve overall health and well-being. The body contains a large number of receptors responsible for specific effects. Some of the most known effects of the cannabinoids include nausea, pain, muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis, loss of appetite, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and more. What makes the two components different is their psychoactive effects. CBD does not cause any mind-altering effects which THC is known for. Both these cannabinoids interact with different receptors in the brain. Medical cannabis may contain THC and cause a high when the person takes the medicine for therapeutic effects. Cannabidiol is capable of counteracting the psychoactive effects of THC.

Medicinal Benefits for Parkinson’s Disease

The naturally occurring components of the cannabis plant are not intended to treat the disease. This is why it should not be expected that it provides an ultimate solution to the symptoms. While more research is still needed to conclude the efficacy of the plant at treating this disorder, current research and studies indicate that THC and CBD are effective at dealing with certain symptoms of Parkinson’s disease like insomnia, pain, stiffness, tremor and weight loss. More clinical studies are required to tell what symptoms can be treated and what doses work for particular symptoms.

Clinical studies performed on patients suffering from psychosis suggested that THC and CBD could reduce the symptoms. Similar results were seen in people with REM behavior sleep disorder. A report also indicates that about half of the patients of Parkinson’s disease using cannabis noted improvement in their symptoms including tremor. While more research is still needed in this area, PD is one of the conditions for which a patient can access medical marijuana in states where it is legally available.

How to Access Medical Marijuana

In recent years, a number of states in America have legalized the use of medical cannabis though there is a difference in the way it is regulated in different states. Some places don’t require a doctor’s recommendation to possess this medicine and adults can easily access it. In some other states, the drug is only available with a practitioner’s prescription. A number of states permit dispensing low THC, high CBD products with a prescription. In the remaining areas, the use of this medicine remains illegal as regulated by the federal government. If you live in one of the states that allow using medical cannabis with a prescription, you can get it at dispensaries and not pharmacies. Only licensed doctors can recommend these products to people suffering from qualifying ailments.