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How Cannabis is Helping Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

May 09, 2017 11:25PM ● By Londell Jackson
Parkinson's Disease affects nearly 12 million people around the world who are over the age of 60 and 48 million people who are over the age of 80. Parkinson's in characterized by four specific features: tremors, slowness of movement (bradykinesia), inability to stay balanced (postural instability), and inflexible muscles (rigidity). These symptoms result from a gradual loss of dopamine within the basal ganglia—a set of interconnected structures within the brain—which is responsible for the automation of learned motor skills. While there is currently no cure for this disease, treatments often target muscle dysfunction, increased range of movement and flexibility, and persistent pain. 

While the research surrounding the pain-relieving effects of cannabinoids is ongoing, there is a growing body of knowledge that supports the use of various cannabinoids in the treatment of pain disorders. Qualitative and quantitative studies have demonstrated cannabinoids reduce and eliminate inflammation and pain through their interaction with the endocannabinoid system of the brain. Additionally, research has found cannabinoids to be neuroprotective and help reduce degeneration of nerve cells.

Cannabinoids also help regulate dopamine regulation within the brain. These regulatory processes, which are facilitated by individual or entourage cannabinoids, have been shown to give relief of pain and may help reduce tremors in some individuals.

As more information is made available about the endocannabinoid system and how it interacts with our body’s processes, patients and practitioners will have greater options in how to treat various ailments. While the pain-reducing effects of cannabis are widely known, further research will highlight how cannabinoids can help reduce, or even reverse, neurodegeneration.