Parkinson’s Disease is a particularly nasty progressive condition – one that damages the brain over a period of many years. Symptoms include involuntary shaking of body parts (tremors), slow movement, stiff and inflexible muscles, balance issues, sleeping problems, memory problems and a loss of smell (anosmis).
Parkinson’s Disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called substantia nigra, which leads to a reduction of dopamine production in the brain. Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. The precise cause of Parkinson’s Disease is unknown, but it is thought that genetic and environmental factors are at play. Head trauma through impact sports may also have an effect.
Parkinson’s Disease is managed by medication (levodopa, carbidopa), physiotherapy and in extreme cases, brain surgery. Parkinson’s Disease rarely causes death alone, but puts great stress on the body and making it more vulnerable to life-threatening conditions. The medications also have lots of side-effects, which cannabis can manage.
- Cannabis may slow the progress of bradykinesia (slowness due to PD) and dyskinesia (abnormal bodily movements)
- Improve sleep
- CBD may provide protection against hydroxydopamine toxicity – it’s a neuroprotective
- Can help alleviate tremors and spasticity
- CBD may be an antipsychotic
- Cannabis may be of use for when other medications are ineffective or unavailable
- THC may cause confusion and make some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s worse
- Evidence for efficacy is anecdotal at the moment