New Consensus Statement Helps Guide Physicians And Patients
byJudy George, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today September 22, 2020
Cannabis use can raise complex issues for Parkinson’s disease patients, including possible adverse effects, toxicity, and drug-drug interactions.
Few studies have shown the benefits or harms of medical cannabis in Parkinson’s disease, said Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.
Four small randomized trials of cannabinoids have been conducted in Parkinson’s patients with mixed results. “These trials were small, short, and had other shortcomings that make it safer to call them inconclusive rather than negative,” Kluger said.
“We do know of some side effects — such as hypotension, apathy, and confusion — but do not know if there are any long-term effects,” he added.
But knowledge about the basic science of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system is expanding, Kluger noted. “The literature strongly supports a role for the endocannabinoid system in normal movement and a potential role in many movement disorders.”
“There is some data in animal models and uncontrolled case series in people to support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in Parkinson’s disease, but we currently have no randomized clinical trials supporting their efficacy for motor or non-motor symptoms in people living with Parkinson’s,” he said.
Cannabis Use Common in Parkinson’s
A New Consensus Statement
- Start at low doses and increase gradually
Other Treatments For Parkinsons
The primary goals in treating PD are to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment may also prevent disease progression.
If taking marijuana isnt feasible, there are other options available. Numerous types and combinations of conventional medications may also be used. Examples include:
- amantadine , which is used in early stages
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.
Read Also: Voice Exercises For Parkinson’s Patients
Top 10 Best Cannabis Strains For Parkinsons Disease
Force Plant is famous for recreational use. Even though it has a higher CBD than the average strain, it is not potent enough to treat shiver. But it still holds more than adequate potency to assist you in dealing with stress. As such, it is also advantageous in battling depression.
This weed also has anti-inflammatory qualities and is ready to alleviate mellow pains, including migraines. As the impact of the Power Plant quiets, you can feel tired or hungry. However, Power Plant is not recommended for daytime use.
Some Indica strains with high CBD are good for getting help in pain and improving the overall quality of life. And, Blackberry Kush Indica-dominant weed is no different than that. Its parent strains include Blackberry Hybrid and Afghani Indica. This Blackberry has a refreshing citrus taste combined with diesel. It will alleviate depression and stress and will help you with managing your chronic pain.
If getting into activities helps you deal with Parkinsons more effectively, this one is an excellent variety to try once. Besides, its good to know that it can help you reduce fatigue and spasticity that can also keep your brain under control.
Medical Marijuana And Parkinsons Disease: Clinical Evidence
Among the many studies and academic papers relating to the benefits of medical marijuana for Parkinsons Disease, Sevcik J. and Masek K., of the Institute of Pharmacology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague had this to say:
Cannabinoids might alleviate some parkinsonian symptoms by their remarkable receptor-mediated modulatory action in the basal ganglia output nuclei. Moreover, it was recently observed that some cannabinoids are potent antioxidants that can protect neurons from death even without cannabinoid receptor activation. It seems that cannabinoids could delay or even stop progressive degeneration of brain dopaminergic systems, a process for which there is presently no prevention. In combination with currently used drugs, cannabinoids might represent, qualitatively, a new approach to the treatment of PD, making it more effective.
A recent study looked at the potential benefits of medical marijuana for those suffering from Huntingtons disease, a disease that produces symptoms similar to those found in a patient with Parkinsons Disease. In this animal study, a mutant strain of hamsters that exhibited the symptoms of dystonia, a sub-group of disorders that share similar characteristics to Huntingtons disease, were given a synthetic cannabinoid that activates the same cellular receptors as THC.
If you have Parkinsons and live in a state that allows medical marijuana use for the disease, search our site to find a licensed doctor in your area today.
You May Like: Big And Loud Parkinsons Exercises
Medical Cannabis And Parkinsons Disease The Studies
The ongoing scheduling of marijuana means there hasnt been enough research into the potential impact of cannabis on Parkinsons disease. However, several intriguing studies have been published which showcase the potential for cannabinoids to help with PD-related symptoms.
In the human body, the endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors and their related neurotransmitters. These receptors link to brain cells that regulate a variety of motor and cognitive functions. Cannabinoids are neuroprotective, meaning their activity may help preserve nerve cells against damage.
A 2019 study published in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience looked at the possible effects of cannabis on Parkinsons disease. Researchers concluded that cannabis has been shown to attenuate motor and nonmotor signs and symptoms of PD. They also suggest that some of the neurologic manifestations of PD might be alleviated with cannabis products such assertions are yet to be established in reference to patient-specific factors.
Could Cannabis Help Patients Suffering From Parkinsons Disease
A pilot study being conducted at the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine is investigating a controversial topic how cannabis, medicinal or recreational, is used, accessed and how it may benefit individuals with Parkinsons Disease.
Whilst recreational cannabis remains illegal in Australia, much of the research and thus the path to legalisation has been largely limited to the management of specific symptoms, such as pain.
Previous international research has shown some benefits of cannabis use in the improvement of both motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinsons Disease, a debilitating neurodegenerative disease that affects one in every 308 Australians.
Dr Andrea Bugarcic and Dr Janet Schloss from the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine are leading the study and urge all patients who might be eligible to participate in the survey which will run until the end of February 2021.
While research has been done on the topic of cannabis use in neurodegenerative diseases in other countries, this aspect of self-management by Parkinsons Disease patients in Australia has not yet been explored.
This survey is not just about knowing if cannabis is used by this population but also where they are sourcing it from and any ratio specifications to understand what is working in the context of positive patient outcomes, said Dr Bugarcic.
Recommended Reading: Good Exercises For Parkinson’s Disease
The Role Of Cannabinoid Receptors
Our bodies naturally make cannabinoids that control various processes, such as mood, sleep and appetite, by binding to cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body. We have two main types of cannabinoid receptor, which are like switches outside cells that trigger a biological reaction within a cell once the receptor is activated: CB1 receptors are located in the brain and respond to THC which results in the highs associated with cannabis use CB2 receptors are found mainly on cells relating to the immune system and on brain cells believed to be responsible for pain relief.
There are concentrations of cannabinoid receptors in the basal ganglia area of the brain, where dopamine-producing neurons are located and which is known to be involved in the movement symptoms of Parkinsons. Researchers have therefore speculated that a substance such as cannabis, which binds with cannabinoid receptors in an area of the brain so closely involved in Parkinsons, may positively affect the symptoms of the condition. Extensive research into this is underway.
Helping Parkinsons Patients Grow Or Procure Cannabis
Many Parkinsons patients are unable to grow their own cannabis. As the syndrome advances, it can be physically difficult to lift and place the equipment necessary to run a garden.
Becoming a cannabis caretaker for the elderly and for disabled patients who are unable to grow their own isnt just a good entrepreneurial model, but also a kind, ethical act.
Although Parkinsons disease differs to other movement and brain disorders such as multiple sclerosis-related tremors, epilepsy and Tourettes syndrome, the physiological mechanisms by which cannabis helps patients with this category of syndromes appears to be interlinked, and medical cannabis is increasingly looked at as a promising therapeutic option for these patients.
Cannabis Revealed by Dr. Bonni Goldstein offers a useful overview of how and why cannabis affects the body. It also explains how medical marijuana helps movement disorder patients and fights diseases that pharmaceutical drugs are unable to fully treat.
Patients with Parkinsons and other movement disorders are advised to consult with their physician before consuming cannabis. For more information on Parkinsons disease, visit the Parkinsons Foundation website.
Recommended Reading: Can Parkinson’s Tremors Come And Go
Parkinsons Foundation Centers Of Excellence And Medicinal Marijuana
The Parkinsons Foundation, in partnership with Northwestern University researchers, studied attitudes about cannabis at 40 Centers of Excellence. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to provide data on the practices, beliefs and attitudes of expert PD physicians concerning cannabis use.
The results were interesting: most experts said they knew what cannabis did, but disagreed on the details. While there is no general agreement on what the benefits might be for people with PD, the survey confirmed that cannabis is a popular subject within Parkinsons Foundation centers as 95 percent of neurologists reported patients have asked them to prescribe it.
Cannabis study results also included:
- Only 23 percent of physicians had any formal education on the subject of cannabis , thus 93 percent of physicians want cannabis taught in medical school.
- Physicians reported that 80 percent of their patients with PD have used cannabis.
- Only 10 percent of physicians have recommended the use of cannabis to patients with PD.
- In terms of memory: 75 percent of physicians felt that cannabis would have negative effects on short-term memory and 55 percent felt that cannabis could have negative effects on long-term memory
- Only 11 percent of physicians have recommended use of cannabis in the last year
This graph shows how physicians expect cannabis would improve, worsen, or show no effect to PD-related symptoms given their expertise and observations of patients with PD.
The Potential Risks Of Taking Cannabis
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.
Also Check: What Are The Early Symptoms Of Parkinson’s
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Common signs and symptoms associated with Parkinsons disease include:
Complications associated with Parkinsons disease vary from person to person. Examples might include thinking difficulties, depression, chewing or swallowing problems, sleeping issues, sexual dysfunction, constipation, or bladder problems.
If youve been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease and desire symptom relief, see the Texas THC Doctor team for an evaluation.
Medical Marijuana And The Information Gap
In 2004, a survey of Parkinsons disease patients treated at the Prague Movement Disorder Centre showed that 25% of 339 respondents had used cannabis. Nearly two decades later, a survey of more than 1,000 Parkinsons patients conducted in January of 2020 revealed a similar pattern of adoption, with 25% of respondents reporting previous or present use of marijuana.
Given the increasing trend toward legalization of medical marijuana, and the insights from ongoing research into the mechanisms by which cannabis affects Parkinsons symptoms, one might expect the number of Parkinsons patients who choose medical marijuana therapy to increase over time rather than remain the same. One of the chief obstacles to the adoption of medical marijuana therapies for Parkinsons disease appears to be a general lack of information on the subject.
In the 2020 study mentioned above, respondents reported that their primary means of learning about cannabis use was from internet sources, followed by advice from friends, dispensary workers, and other Parkinsons disease patients. Far fewer reported receiving information from their treating physician, and few reported receiving accurate information on dosage, cannabis type, or frequency of use.
This led the study authors to conclude:
They went on to add:
As new evidence indicating the efficacy of medical marijuana for Parkinsons disease comes to light, CannaMD will continue to provide insights and updates.
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Cannabinoids Effect On Movement Disorders
This study on clinical observations and trials of cannabinoid-based therapies suggests a possible benefit to tics and probably no advantage for tremors in dyskinesias or PD motor symptoms. Further pre-clinical and clinical research may characterize better the pharmacological, physiological, and therapeutic effects of this class of drugs in developmental disorders.
Home Remedyfor Parkinsons #5 Vitamin D & Vitamin E:
Inflammation and low immunity are two powerful factorsthat contribute to the development and worsening of Parkinsons disease. Bothvitamin D and vitamin E are strong anti-inflammatories and immune boosters. VitaminD & E also protect our brain cells and can even help damaged neurons regenerate. A deficiency of these key vitamins has also been linked to brain difficultiessuch as poor memory and recall attainability.
In regards to PD, a study of 157 Parkinsons patientsfound that the vast majority of them had severe to chronic vitamin Ddeficiencies. The findings, published in the Archives of Neurology in March of 2011, revealed a strong linkbetween inadequate levels of vitamin D and the onset of early Parkinson’sdisease.4
Back in 2002, another study was published in the Archives of Neurology which tracked themental decline of 3,000 men and women diagnosed with Parkinsons disease over a period of 7 years. The study found the participants whose supplemental vitamin E intakewas higher experienced a 36% reduction in theseverity of their symptoms compared to the rest of the group. Another study, whichappeared in the Lancet Neurology onlinemagazine in 2005, showed that vitamin E may actually prevent Parkinsonsdisease from developing in the first place! 8
Where to Get Your Vitamin D and Vitamin E From?
Recommended Reading: What Is Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease
Natural Remedy For Parkinsons #4 Chlorella And Borax:
If you have a neurological disease such as Parkinsons orAlzheimers, the importance of removing heavy metals from the body – especiallyfrom the brain and nervous system – cannot be overstated. Heavy metalsaccumulate in the brain and nervous system at a rapid rate and cause damage tothe neurological pathways and brain inflammation. Fluoride is one ofthe worst, however, mercury, lead, aluminium and cadmium are also extremely dangerous.Chlorella and borax not only remove these heavy metals completely, theycontinue to prevent further toxic build-ups.
Chlorella is a miracle blue-green algae and one of themost powerful detoxifiers and chelators yet discovered. Whenits combined with cilantro, its benefits are enhancedsignificantly. A Russian study found that chlorella, combined with cilantro,was able to remove all heavy metals from the body, including fluoride and mercury,with no adverse or harmful side effects. You can purchase chlorellain powdered form online or from most health food stores. Just make sure you buythe Broken Cell Wall Chlorella as this is the strongest and most bio-available.For dosage recommendations, simply follow the directions on the container.
What Do Parkinsons Patients Say
We have previously reported that 1 in 5 Parkinsons patients surveyed use cannabis, with the majority of respondents reporting that symptom relief was their primary reason for use. Other sources report similar patterns of adoption and use.
A 2016 web-based survey of Parkinsons disease patients hosted by the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society reported that respondents who used medical marijuana indicated a high efficacy rate for their therapies. Based on a scale of 0 to 7, these users provided an average score of 6.4 for their satisfaction with marijuana use for symptom relief, and some 60% reported a reduction in the use of prescription medication since initiating cannabis therapy.
A self-administered survey conducted in the Denver metro area in 2012-2013 showed that a majority of Parkinsons patients questioned used some form of complementary or alternative medicine for symptom relief, including vitamins, prayer, relaxation, massage, and cannabis therapy. Slightly less than 5% of the respondents reported using marijuana, perhaps because its medical use had just become legal in the state. Those who did use marijuana noted that it was among the most effective therapies utilized.
A study of more than 1,000 Parkinsons disease patients published in early 2021 showed slightly less than 10% of respondents reporting the use of medical marijuana. The results highlighted some of the trends and attitudes that might limit its adoption: