Medical Cannabis for Parkinson's Disease

An illness that progressively causes a patient to lose control of their motor skills.


Parkinson’s disease is an illness that progressively causes a patient to lose control of their motor skills. A common misconception has been that motor skills are the only area of wellbeing it affects, but Parkinson’s can also lead to other health issues that are sometimes be fatal. Parkinson’s Disease is the 14th leading cause of death in the US due to its complications. While a cure for it remains unknown, those diagnosed with Parkinson’s must still learn how to cope with its symptoms.

This is a good place to start in beginning the exploration of cannabis in treatment for Parkinson’s disease. To truly understand whether the plant can contribute as a treatment involving the preservation of dopamine-producing neurons, we can first evaluate how well it controls tremors as well as non-motor symptoms.

Research has shown us that cannabinoid receptors are found in high density in our basil ganglia, a part of our brain that helps control movement and is affected by Parkinson’s Disease. While more research is needed to fully understand how activating these receptors with cannabinoids may slow the progression of Parkinson’s, practitioners have seen that in some patients, either the number of tremors or the duration of tremors decreases with cannabis use.

This in turn, improves ease of life for patients living with the disease. Some report better sleep after consuming cannabis, and others have noted its ability to alleviate depression. Yet some studies found patients as having no noticeable differences in their Parkinson’s symptoms when they used cannabis. Take note that these studies usually involve controlled doses with low percentages of cannabinoids. These studies don’t evaluate everyone’s personal need in dosing.

As we continue to strive for answers concerning Parkinson’s Disease and cannabis, we must rely upon anecdotal evidence and allow every individual to make their own health decisions with the help of an experienced, licensed professional. Until cannabis is legalized on a federal level, it will remain difficult to perform the needed studies to truly understand the potential of the plant to help treat Parkinson’s Disease.