Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Disease
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s is a progressive disease of the nervous system that can create a host of complications both physically and mentally in those who suffer from it. In the United States alone, 1 million people are affected by Parkinson’s, and men are 50% more likely to contract the ailment than women. Symptoms will often times take years to develop, and can remain a burden for the remainder of a patient’s natural life. What causes Parkinson’s? Over time, a person’s brain may stop producing the neurotransmitter dopamine at the same levels it used to. Dopamine is responsible for the regulation of movement and emotions. When levels drop below an optimal state for extended periods of time, a patient may start to suffer from stiff muscles, muscular tremors, slow movements, changes in walking, head shaking, memory problems, tiredness, drooling, dandruff, difficulty swallowing or chewing, sexual or bowel dysfunction, fainting, blurred vision, loss of smell, excessive sweating, sleep disruption, dementia, confusion fear, anxiety and depression. While the disease itself is nonfatal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have rated complications from Parkinson’s as the 14th top cause of death in the America.
How can medical marijuana help patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease?
As of today, there is still no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, more and more patients are turning to an alternative form of Parkinson’s disease medication than what has been prescribed in the past. Medical marijuana (or cannabis) has garnered a strong public following for its therapeutic properties in treating many different diseases, including the symptoms of Parkinson’s. There are cannabinoid receptors scattered all throughout the brain. A very strong concentration of them lie in the basal ganglia, which is a region of the brain important to Parkinson’s. In the basal ganglia lies the globus pallidus and the substantia nigra pars reticulate. These 2 regions are some of the most densely concentrated cannabinoid receptor areas in the human body. So it isn’t a half-baked hypothesis to claim that a drug zeroed in on these receptors can have a positive effect on the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Historically, this is also not the first time cannabis has been used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Marijuana has been used to treat Parkinson’s as early as the 19th century. During those times cannabis tinctures were given to patients to combat involuntary movements and tremors prior to scientific breakthroughs such as the discovery of dopamine itself, and its effect on motor function. Nowadays many patients are smoking cannabis more to achieve the same effect. Studies have shown improvement in symptoms of Parkinson’s that include; tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia (slow movement), and quality of sleep and pain scales.
Is medical marijuana legal in Florida?
The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (also referred to as Amendment 2) was approved on the November, 2016 ballot. As a result, it is now legal to treat patients with medical cannabis for Parkinson’s in the state of Florida, and is on the rise as one of the most patient-preferred Parkinson’s disease medications. The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (also referred to as Amendment 2) was approved on the November, 2016 ballot. Patients need only acquire a medical marijuana card prior to seeking out a dispensary to accommodate their needs.
Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease in Florida
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