Parkinson’s Disease (PD) 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, which is why the dopamine precursor levodopa (L-DOPA) is used as a treatment for PD. 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.
As of 2015, PD affected 6.2 million and resulted in the deaths of 117,400 people globally. Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali are perhaps some of the most well-known Parkinson’s sufferers. In the US, there are around 1 million sufferers, and approximately 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s are diagnosed each year. Onset of Parkinson’s usually begins at around 60 years old, and men are more likely to be affected.
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.
Check out the positives and negatives below and if you’d like to speak to Doctor Frank about your condition, get in touch!