Yo, what’s good? It’s your boy Dan, here to talk about something heavy – Parkinson’s Disease. Now, over 10 million people worldwide are suffering from this disorder of the nervous system, but there’s no known cure. It can really mess you up, causing all kinds of painful and unpleasant symptoms. But the main thing that Parkinson’s does is mess with your muscle control, which is a serious issue that can happen in different parts of your body. Unfortunately, since there ain’t no cure for Parkinson’s yet, patients have to rely on medication to manage their symptoms. Sometimes these medications have some real nasty side effects – like pain or feeling sick – so some folks need even more drugs just to deal with those issues. But there’s been a lot of buzz about how cannabis could be a potential treatment for Parkinson’s. It can relieve a lot of the symptoms and maybe even stop the disease from getting worse.
So, listen up – there are some chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that are found in marijuana. These compounds could really impact the part of your brain that’s responsible for Parkinson’s Disease. Your body actually makes its own cannabinoids too – they’re called the “endocannabinoid system” and they bind to receptors all over your body and brain to control all kinds of things like appetite, mood, pain, and sleep. When it comes to movement disorders like Parkinson’s, the basal ganglia – this part of your brain – has a ton of cannabinoid receptors. So when you smoke weed or whatever, those cannabinoids can get processed naturally by your endocannabinoid system.
Here’s the deal: if certain cells in your basal ganglia (and other deep parts of your brain) start to die off, dopamine levels can drop too and then boom – you might end up with Parkinson’s Disease on your hands. Dopamine is known as the body’s “reward” hormone, but it also controls movement. When you don’t have enough dopamine in your system, every little move can become really hard or even painful. Walking, writing, chewing, digesting – even simple stuff like that can turn into a real struggle. There are different types of muscular issues associated with Parkinson’s, but they all boil down to problems with movement control:
– Bradykinesia: This is when your movements slow down involuntarily. Walking or standing up can become really difficult and sometimes it feels like you’re dragging your feet when you walk. Even basic fine-motor functions like preparing food can become super hard and cause you pain.
– Dyskinesia: If you take a medication called levodopa for Parkinson’s Disease (that elevates dopamine levels), you might experience dyskinesia as like a side effect. It causes jerky and unnatural movements that are involuntary and really painful. Plus it can make it hard to sleep at night too. Dyskinesia mostly happens in folks who are under 70 years old and who are taking levodopa.
– Dystonia: This is another involuntary movement disorder that often causes muscles to twist and contort into unnatural positions.
So now you’re probably wondering: Can weed help with Parkinson’s? The answer is yes! Marijuana has been proven to relieve many of the painful physical and psychological symptoms that people with Parkinson’s Disease experience. Plus scientists think compounds in marijuana could protect the brain from further damage too.
Medical marijuana has been approved by many US states as an option for treating Parkinson’s Disease and its symptoms – as long as you have a prescription from a doctor that says you need it. But research on the effects of cannabis on Parkinson’s is still limited right now – we need more studies done on this topic.
But get this: CBD (cannabidiol) is a type of cannabinoid in marijuana that doesn’t make you feel “high,” so it could be legal in all 50 states in America – even where weed is illegal! You can take CBD in many forms: edibles, sprays or patches – but most people like taking it in oil form.
Studies have shown CBD to be effective when it comes to reducing pain and muscle rigidity for about 70% of people with Parkinson’s Disease. It may also improve depression and anxiety issues experienced by over half of folks who have Parkinson’s too! Scientists think CBD could potentially protect against further neurological damage too.
Now let’s talk THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – this is the chemical compound that gives marijuana its “high.” THC can relieve pain, muscle spasms, nausea, help you sleep better and boost both mood and appetite too! Plus THC stimulates the dopamine receptors in your brain – remember how we talked earlier about how low dopamine levels are linked to many Parkinson’s symptoms? Exactly! More research needs to be done on exactly how THC helps with treating this disease though.
Finally there’s THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin). This lesser-known cannabinoid might help fight against Parkinson’s by alleviating tremors and other motor function issues related to the disease. THCV might also have neuroprotective properties which help prevent further brain damage from happening.
So there ya have it – marijuana could possibly help those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease get some relief from their symptoms!