Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative condition that affects parts of the brain. It affects around one in 500 people in the UK. There is no known cure for Parkinson’s – but there are treatments out there to help reduce the symptoms and help those living with the condition enjoy a good quality of life for as long as possible.
Research is still underway as to whether medical cannabis is one of those potential treatment options. Read on for the latest information about the relationship between medical cannabis and Parkinson’s.
Firstly, let’s look at the major symptoms of Parkinson’s. The three key effects of the disease are:
These are the three most common and most debilitating symptoms of the condition. In addition to that, people with Parkinson’s may also experience:
Parkinson’s is a degenerative condition that attacks the brain, so it can present itself through different symptoms in different people. Someone with Parkinson’s might exhibit all of those symptoms, or only one; it all depends on the individual.
Most people affected by the condition will start to develop symptoms from the age of 50 and onwards. Around one in 20 people with the condition may start to experience symptoms earlier, likely from the age of 40 onwards. As the condition progresses, the symptoms will worsen over time.
Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, ultimately causing a decrease in dopamine levels. Dopamine is an important chemical our body produces that regulates our movement. The low levels of dopamine result in the tremors and slow movements that are often associated with the condition.
It’s still unclear exactly what causes the loss of nerve cells, which makes finding a cure that bit much more difficult. Most medical experts believe that it’s a combination of environmental and genetic factors.
As ongoing research into Parkinson’s disease, studies have been done to look at the effect of medical cannabis on Parkinson’s disease. Medical cannabis has a range of benefits that could potentially be beneficial to those with Parkinson’s, including pain relief, reduced tremors, a better quality of sleep, improved mood, and more ease in movement.
Medical cannabis also has anti-inflammatory properties, which could help with some side effects of Parkinson’s medication. However, research is still ongoing and there is no definitive proof that medical cannabis can help with Parkinson’s. Nonetheless, 26% of people with Parkinson’s surveyed by Parkinson’s UK are currently using cannabis products to help manage pain and discomfort as a result of their condition.
Treatment for Parkison’s is focused largely on managing symptoms, as there is no known cure. Supportive treatments such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy have been known to help patients reduce the impact of tremors or stiff movements. Prescription medication can also be useful to manage pain and joint stiffness. In some cases, brain surgery has been used in later cases of the disease.
The most important aspect of managing Parkinson’s is to keep an eye on the condition. Its degenerative nature means that it can progress rapidly, so making sure you track the symptoms and note down responses to different forms of treatment is vital.
If you’re curious about how medical cannabis might be able to help you or a loved one manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s you can book a consultation with one of our expert specialist doctors. Your private clinic session can form the basis of a personalised treatment plan that is tailored to your own needs.
At The Medical Cannabis Clinics we can help you build and adjust medication options where traditional options have failed. Your comfort and health are our priority.
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