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Cannabis Treatment For Parkinson’s

Parkinsons Disease: What Forms Are There

Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Part 3 of 3

In addition to Parkinsons disease, there are other forms of neurological disease:

  • Familial Parkinsons syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation. The first signs usually appear at a young age.
  • If the nerve cells die off progressively as part of a neurodegenerative disease , this can trigger the atypical Parkinsons syndrome.
  • For secondary Parkinsons syndrome, various drugs can be the trigger. Other triggers can include brain tumours, metabolic disorders or recurrent brain injuries .
  • In Lewy body dementia , protein deposits form in the nerve cells. In older people, Lewy body dementia is the second most common neurodegenerative form of dementia after Alzheimers disease.

Parkinsons Disease Cannabis Therapy

Can Cannabis Prevent Dyskinesia in Long-Term Treatment of Parkinsons Disease ?

In 1970, Oliver Sacks wrote five letters to various medical journals in the U.S. expressing his concern about the prescription drug levodopa, which had been developed just a year earlier. As a practicing neurologist, he had used levodopa to treat Parkinsons and encephalitis lethargica in his patientsboth neurological disorders that arise from a deficiency of dopamineand found it to have serious adverse effects. As he described in his 1985 book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, treating people with sleepy-sickness with L-Dopa resulted in an over-correction of motor function: First they were awakened from stupor to health: then they were driven towards the other poleof tics and frenzy.

This phenomenon would come to be known as levodopa-induced dyskinesiaan increase in involuntary muscle movements or spasms that results from too much dopamine flooding your brain. Its one of the most common side effects of conventional treatment of Parkinsons Disease and one of the most devastating: some PD patients describe their dyskinesia as worse than the disease itself, causing many to decrease or put off treatment altogether to stave off the inevitable side effects.

What Does The Future Hold

Cannabis may be a future Parkinsons treatment but for now, we need conclusive evidence of the benefits and to better understand appropriate formulations and dosages, the side-effects and interactions with other medications, and any long-term risks. A lot more research is required both in the lab and in clinical trials, including into specific molecules isolated from the plant, in order to achieve these goals.

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No Easy Task To Launch Cbd And Parkinsons Study

With marijuana legalized, Leehey began hearing from a number of her patients that cannabis, especially products high in CBD, helped them cope with the debilitating symptoms of Parkinsons disease. CBD made for an attractive study target. Unlike its cannabis cousin THC, CBD doesnt get its users high an essential consideration for those persons with Parkinsons that struggle with thinking, gait and balance problems. In addition, pre-clinical animal studies showed promise for CBD in reducing Parkinsons symptoms.

Leehey found that getting a study of CBD with human subjects wasnt easy. The barriers included simply obtaining CBD for a small pilot study and meeting a host of regulatory requirements for administering it. She finally found a flavored oral CBD solution to use in the pilot, which 10 patients completed.

In addition, the pilot study showed the CBD caused side effects, especially diarrhea, dizziness and daytime sleepiness. In some patients taking the CBD solution, there was also concern about liver dysfunction.

The pilot study had helped Leehey settle on a proper dose of CBD for the next study step, a randomized trial in which neither she nor her patients would know whether they were getting the drug or a placebo.

But Leehey and her team also needed to monitor patients for side effects while protecting their identities. Bainbridge and a study biostatistician provided lists of patients receiving medication or placebo, with their identities removed.

Causes Of Parkinsons Disease

The Parkinsons Foundation Hosted Its First

Most most common causes of Parkinsons Disease stem from nerve degeneration, hereditary factors, and other external triggers. See below for more information:

  • Nerve Degeneration: When the nerve cells or neurons in substantia nigra, a section of the brain, die or gets impaired, Parkinsons disease occurs. It is these neurons that produce dopamine, a chemical that transmits signals which in turn helps in the body movements. That is the reason, patients with Parkinsons lose balance and mobility as the disease advances
  • Genes: Genetic mutations too can be a cause
  • External Triggers: Exposure to foreign toxins may put a person at risk

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The Increased Interest In Cbd Products As Supplemental Treatment

There is also a very confusing array of CBD products that are available for purchase. These vary in:

  • What the manufacturers state is in the product. That is, some formulations of CBD will state on their label that they also contain a small amount of THC or that they contain other cannabis-derived compounds, but not THC. Others state that they are pure CBD.
  • The formulation. CBD is available in oils, creams, pills, inhalants and more.

It is not just the Parkinsons disease community that has taken an interest in CBD. There are countless health claims that CBD is helpful for a whole host of conditions. Clinical trial evidence to support the use of CBD however, is minimal. The only FDA-approved indication for CBD is to reduce seizure frequency in certain rare and severe forms of childhood epilepsy. A purified form of CBD, sold under the brand name Epidiolex® was tested in a well-designed clinical trial in order to gain this approval. .

For all the other health claims, there is not enough clinical trial data to allow the FDA to state whether or not CBD is effective. And there definitely is not enough data to support the use of one type or formulation of CBD over another.

This has not dimmed the enthusiasm of millions of CBD users for a wide range of medical conditions.

Insurance Coverage Of Cbd

Unfortunately, private health insurance companies will not cover the cost of CBD products with the exception of Epidiolex, which is FDA-approved for epilepsy. That said, some Parkinsons patients and their caretakers may find that high-CBD strains of medical marijuana arent overly expensive and are safer compared to medications prescribed for Parkinsons disease.

Medicares Policy

People frequently want to know if Medicare covers the cost of CBD products. As stated above, CBD does not have adequate FDA approval. Therefore, Medicare does not cover the cost of such products, nor does Medicare allow it to be used towards a Part B or prescription drug plan deductible. This is true for all conditions, not just for Parkinsons disease.

As with Medicare, Medicaid will not cover the cost of CBD products.

Veterans Benefits

The VA will not directly cover the cost of products containing CBD. However, there are VA pensions, such as the basic pension and Aid & Attendance Pension from which veterans or surviving spouses receive a monthly monetary benefit. Recipients of these pensions are able to use the money as they see fit, which means theoretically that one could use it towards purchasing CBD products. Learn more about these pensions here.

Many CBD retailers provide discounts to veterans who might need help covering the costs of their products. It is possible for active duty and military veterans to receive savings of more than 50% from companies that deliver CBD nationwide.

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Does Marijuana Help Parkinsons

With Parkinsons being the second most common neurological disorder among people in the U.S., its no surprise that a lot of research is being done into how to help patients. There has been research recently that specifically looks at marijuana and Parkinsons.

There are a few specific ways marijuana and Parkinsons may have a beneficial relationship with one another.

Other benefits of marijuana and Parkinsons together can include pain management and help with symptoms like sleep problems and nausea. Marijuana may help people with Parkinsons enjoy easier movement because it has muscle relaxing properties as well.

At the same time, with marijuana and Parkinsons there are risks. One of the biggest risks is that marijuana can potentially reduce dopamine levels in the brain, so researchers are looking at how they could accommodate this in the concept of marijuana and Parkinsons.

Possible downfalls to consider with marijuana and Parkinsons can include the mood and behavioral changes that can result from the use of marijuana, as well as loss of balance and the risk of lung cancer that comes with chronic marijuana use.

Best Marijuana Strains For Treating Parkinsons Disease

Cannabis Research in Parkinson’s

Medical marijuana strains for Parkinsons disease can be tailored to individual needs, in terms of lifestyle and the types of symptoms the patient is experiencing. specific cannabis strains contain varying ratios of THC to CBD.

For example, if a patient doesnt want the intoxication that comes with a high-THC strain, a high-CBD strain may be the answer.

If an individual prefers pure CBD strains, dried flower and CBD oils can be purchased over the counter online almost anywhere in the U.S.

Another important consideration is the delivery method. Cannabis products come in a wide menu of options including dried flower for smoking or cooking, vape oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles, topicals, patches, and more.

These medical marijuana strains have been shown to be effective in relieving the symptoms of Parkinsons disease:

  • GG4

  • Amnesia Haze

  • Blue Cookies

Patients should talk to a knowledgeable budtender about the more effective strains on their menu for their needs.

In summary, many Parkinsons disease patients are finding that medical marijuana and CBD products safely provide them with relief from their pain, spasticity, seizures, and other serious side effects. There exists a wide variety of strains, product formulas, and delivery methods. A unique medical marijuana treatment can be formulated for each individuals needs.

Treatment options should always be discussed with a qualified healthcare provider.

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Introduction: Cbd As An Alternative To Pharmaceuticals

A healthy, natural alternative to traditional medications is becoming more and more accessible for persons suffering the effects of Parkinsons disease. Studies show that cannabidiol, also referred to as CBD or CBD-rich cannabis, may relieve tremors and other debilitating symptoms of Parkinsons. CBD is a natural compound found in cannabis sativa plants , with none of the adverse side effects of prescription medications and without the high effect from THC in marijuana. And while traditional medications may become less effective over time, or stop working completely, CBD users are hailing long-lasting benefits, with many giving up their pharmaceuticals for good.

CBD is also gaining momentum as a treatment for Alzheimers disease, epilepsy, anxiety, and chronic pain. Studies are ongoing, but returns indicate CBD is an exciting alternative to traditional medications.

Did You Know?

Potential Benefits Of Cbd

Exciting news about the therapeutic effects of CBD for persons with PD abounds. CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make it a neuroprotective agent, meaning it can help with specifically neurological disorders like Parkinsons disease. When nerve cells in the brain and body are protected, symptoms including movement and thinking problems are less pronounced and get worse at a much slower rate.

Further, CBD can help alleviate anxiety symptoms tied to tremors. A published study from Brazilian researchers showed that CBD reduced anxiety and tremors that occurred during a public speaking test for people over 60 with PD. Subjects who took 300 milligrams of CBD before giving a speech had less symptoms than a control group who were given a placebo.

This builds on exciting previous findings. Because PD affects the brains ability to produce dopamine, researchers from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, made an important discovery a few years ago when they found that CBD potentially increases dopamine levels, which would counteract the steady decrease of dopaminergic nerve cells experienced by those afflicted with PD.

Is CBD with 0% THC Better?

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Forms Of Cbd Administration

There are a variety of options when it comes to administering CBD. Ingestible CBD, which is a very common means of consumption, and includes oils and tinctures . Sublingual consumption, whereby a few drops of oil or tincture is placed under the tongue for a few minutes, is often suggested because the oil is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and is generally effective within a few minutes. One can also digest the oil or tincture directly or add to food, such as a smoothie. Oil capsules can be taken like pills. CBD edibles, like gummies, can take an hour before they start working. The effects can then be felt for 4 hours or even longer. Oils and tinctures can also be applied topically, meaning they can be applied to the skin. Like with digesting CBD, it can take an hour or so for the effects to be felt and will last for a few hours. This method of use is good for persons suffering from localized pain. One can also opt for CBD vape products , CBD inhalers, or smoke high-CBD hemp strains. This method of inhalation allows users to feel the effects of CBD almost immediately and generally lasts a couple of hours.

Did You Know?

There is no preferred method of CBD administration for persons with Parkinsons Disease. Patients should choose a method with which they are most comfortable and one which is not hampered by tremors. If success with CBD is found, users should choose an administration method which can accommodate frequent and ongoing usage.

The Potential Risks Of Taking Cannabis

Medical Cannabis and Parkinson

Until unambiguous trial results are available, cannabis should be used with great caution in Parkinsons because of its associated risks, including addiction. Cannabis affects thinking and executive function, which are already frequently impaired in those with the condition. It should not be taken as a substitute for dopaminergic and other approved Parkinsons treatments. You should always seek medical advice before taking cannabis in any form.

In many countries, taking cannabis is illegal and may result in imprisonment if you are caught with the drug. It can also impair judgement which presents a real danger when driving or carrying out other hazardous activities.

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Should I Use Medical Marijuana If I Have Parkinsons

As more states have signed up to legalize medical cannabis, patients have increasingly been exploring it as a way to treat their Parkinsons symptoms. Some who may have found standard drugs to be insufficient turn to marijuana to help sleep, lower anxiety, or reduce tremors, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Robert Duarte, MD, director of Northwell Health’s Pain Center in Great Neck, New York, treats several patients with Parkinsons who have tried medical cannabis to alleviate pain-related problems.

I have also seen it work on insomnia and anxiety, he says. If youre sleeping better and have less anxiety, there is definitely a relationship between that and improving your tremor.

But marijuana doesnt work for everyone, and doctors have to rely on educated guesswork to recommend cannabis-based products.

The problem is there are no standards for dosing or manufacturing different forms of medical cannabis, says James Beck, PhD, chief scientific officer with the Parkinsons Foundation. Some people equate access to efficacy. Just because you can gain access to medical marijuana through legalization changes in different states doesnt mean that its effective for a disease.

Rebecca Gilbert, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer for the American Parkinson Disease Association in New York City, knows many Parkinsons patients who have experimented with medical cannabis and had mixed results.

Benefits And Risks Of Using Medical Marijuana

The decision to use medical marijuana comes down to an individual choice based on weighing the pros and cons.

The Parkinsons Foundation reports that some research has found cannabis to be neuroprotective, offering potential guard against damaging neurons. The cannabinoids may protect brain cells through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, notes the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

In addition to possible sleep, anxiety, and tremor benefits, patients may find that it relaxes muscles and makes movement easier. One of the symptoms of Parkinsons is rigidity from a tightening of the muscles. It may also help with loss of appetite.

Because dosing can be difficult, potency of the cannabis can pose risks. Parkinsons patients can have trouble with cognition, and strong marijuana can cause problems with learning, memory, and thinking. If a person gets too high, he or she can feel overanxious and paranoid, and have difficulty functioning at all. If the product is too strong, the user may experience hallucinations or delusions, according to Dr. Beck.

Dr. Duarte advises that you dont want to give a THC component to anyone who is at risk of psychosis.

Sustained marijuana use may raise blood pressure, according to a study published in August 2017 in the Journal of Hypertension, and Beck cautions that the product may also cause blood pressure to drop dangerously low.

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Medicinal Marijuana And Parkinsons

The Parkinsons Foundation, in cooperation with Northwestern University researchers, examined marijuana prospects at 40 Centers of Excellence. The first study provides information on expert PD physicians practices, beliefs, and attitudes concerning cannabis use.

The results were impressive: most experts said they knew what marijuana did but disagreed on the details. While there is no broad concession to the benefits for individuals with PD, the survey confirmed that cannabis is a well-known subject within Parkinsons Foundation centers, as 95 percent of neurologists reported patients had asked them to prescribe it. Cannabis study results also included:

  • Just 23 percent of physicians had any formal instruction on cannabis . Thus 93 percent of physicians need marijuana instruction in a medical institution.
  • Physicians summarized that 80 percent of their PD patients had used cannabis.
  • Just 10 percent of physicians have guided the treatment of marijuana to PD patients.
  • In terms of memory, 75 percent of doctors suggested that cannabis would dramatically alter short-term memory, and 55 percent felt that marijuana could effectively change long-term memory.
  • Just 11 percent of physicians have suggested the use of marijuana in the last year.

Since marijuana gets approval through legislation rather than regulation, there are no labels, dosage recommendations, or timing instructions that physicians can reference.

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