Cannabis treatment is a powerful tool, one that may also help with mobility disorders, like Parkinson’s. Its performance so far is staggering. Considering how debilitating Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is, medical marijuana could dramatically improve the lives of countless Americans.
PD has a variety of treatments to combat its debilitating symptoms, but predictably, marijuana isn’t on that list. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), this degenerative “movement disorder” affects almost one million people in the United States.
Ironically, millions of dollars continue to be spent trying to find effective countermeasures. Yet judging by recent discoveries, the solution was right under our noses since the dawn of agriculture. Once again, medical cannabis appears to have the answer – with remarkable results.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
The PDF explains that Parkinson’s Disease involves the “malfunction and death” of neurons in the brain. Neurons play a variety of roles, with movement control being just one of them. Naturally, the death of these cells affects their associated functions. Symptoms worsen as time goes on, ultimately causing severe debilitation of movement control.
Parkinson’s symptoms include tremors in the extremities, jaw and face; slow movement (bradykinesia), body stiffness and issues with balance or coordination. Aside from drastically reducing quality of life, these afflictions have something else in common. They are all things that cannabis could reduce or alleviate.
A Case for Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease
Despite significant push-back from the medical community, evidence mounts in favor of medical marijuana. Adding to the growing body of anecdotal evidence, this video all but seals the argument.
The video features “Larry,” a retired police officer who suffers from “Severe Parkinson’s” using cannabis – in this case, oil – for the first time. Naturally, he’s a bit nervous, but the people off camera talk him through it.
Within minutes, he goes from barely being able to speak or control his movements, to relaxed and still. He speaks clearly and even gives singing a brief try. The transformation is nothing short of shocking. Sadly, Larry laments that medical cannabis isn’t available in his home state.
Benefits of Cannabis Treatment
Although still lacking much peer-reviewed research, marijuana seems promising as a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. For instance, a study in the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains: “Preclinical research in animal models of several movement disorders have shown variable evidence for symptomatic benefits but more consistently suggest potential neuroprotective effects in several animal models of Parkinson’s (PD) and Huntington’s disease (HD).”
In other words, not only could marijuana effectively mitigate symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, but it protects existing, healthy cells.
While the medical community continues to debate the benefits and drawbacks, the National Parkinson Foundation acknowledges the benefits of marijuana. They advocate how cannabis can help with “pain management, sleep dysfunction, weight loss and nausea” in Parkinson’s patients.
<h2>Parkinson’s Disease and Cannabis Risks</h2>
Individuals who intend to try medical marijuana for Parkinson’s have a great deal to gain; however, it’s important to be informed about potential side effects.
Obviously, the most prominent effect is the physical and mental impairment, or “high.” The National Parkinson’s Foundation also lists other symptoms, specifically “…dizziness, blurring of vision, mood and behavioral changes, loss of balance and hallucinations.”
They also warn that extended use could increase the chances of lung cancer; however, since cannabis comes in oral drops or pills, simply avoid things such as joints, pipes or bongs.
The Future of Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease
Ultimately, only time will tell whether marijuana will be universally accepted as a treatment. As we see in “Larry’s” case, this potential discovery can’t be ignored. Hopefully, individuals with Parkinson’s Disease will be able to safely reap its benefits.