If you yourself have Parkinson’s or you know someone who has it, you’ll know that it’s an incredibly frustrating and debilitating disease. In fact, over 10 million people worldwide suffer from this medical condition. While there is a wealth of knowledge out there around it, we’re still relatively in the dark when it comes to finding a cure.
Out of these 10 million, you’ll find 1 million of them in America. While there are a number of treatment options currently available, unfortunately, none of them come without often adverse side effects.
As we know, there has been extensive research around cannabis in recent years and how it can possibly help patients who are suffering from medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
However, when it comes down to it, is cannabis really a legitimate treatment option for people with this condition? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know when it comes to Parkinson’s and CBD so that you can figure out for yourself if CBD is a viable option for you or someone you know.
Parkinson’s Disease: What is it?
An English doctor by the name of James Parkinson first talked about this disease, all the way back in 1817. Since it first arrived on the medical scene, scientists, researchers and doctors alike have all been studying it to try and shed a bit of light on the symptoms and the causes.
Of course, the end goal in all of this is to determine how best to treat it. While thanks to research over the last 200 years we now know a lot more about this disease, we’re not too much closer to figuring out a cure.
Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease, which means that it slowly gets worse over time. It is caused by the brain losing nerve cells, and the symptoms are varied depending on the person and the severity of the condition.
Let’s take a look at what some of the symptoms can look like:
- Memory loss
- Sensory issues
- Balance issues
- Inflexible and stiff muscles
- Involuntary tremors
- Difficulty moving
While we know that Parkinson’s disease is caused by the breaking down of nerve cells in the brain, we’re still unsure as to what causes this breakdown. What it comes down to is nature vs. nurture – while some believe that genetics are to blame, others think that it’s a result of one’s environment. There are also those who believe it is a combination of the two.
Parkinson’s Disease: Treatments
At this point in time, the majority of treatments are pharmaceuticals. Various prescription drugs work at targeting the lack of dopamine in the brain, which can prolong the worsening of the symptoms.
However, this medication also comes with its own side effects which can be so adverse that some patients don’t want to take it. One of the most significant side effects of Parkinson’s drugs like Levodopa is that after a while the effects will begin to wear off and it can actually result in the degeneration being sped up.
There are other treatment options available to patients out there. These include physiotherapy and in some more extreme cases, brain surgery. The bottom line, however, is that there isn’t a treatment option that gives patients legitimate relief from their symptoms without exchanging this for harmful side effects.
Parkinson’s Disease and CBD
Not only has CBD become popular over the last few years as a natural remedy for issues like insomnia and anxiety, but it’s also being seen as a very real option for more acute medical conditions like Parkinson’s and cancer.
While it’s been a slow yet steady fight to legalize cannabis for medicinal use, we are now at a stage where you’ve got thirty states who have loosened their laws around it, which is incredible progress.
However, this doesn’t trump the real question, which is: is CBD a viable treatment option for Parkinson’s?
From a lot of research, we know that CBD has a number of different health benefits, which include being an anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant, and a neuroprotectant.
Additionally, there are studies out there that indicate CBD is effective against the following health conditions:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
So, with these health issues in mind, is it possible that CBD is a realistic treatment option for a disease like Parkinson’s?
Well, thanks to science, we think that it can help in a big way. In fact, most of the thirty states where it’s now legal for medicinal purposes have included Parkinson’s on their list of conditions it can help treat.
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence online that points to the effectiveness of CBD on Parkinson’s.
CBD And Your Endocannabinoid System
There are many medical conditions that can be traced back to the endocannabinoid system in our bodies. This is one of our internal regulators, and it’s also responsible for naturally producing cannabinoids for our general wellbeing.
This means that when the endocannabinoid system is working at its best, other issues can arise and cause the body to experience frustrating and often painful symptoms. When looking at Parkinson’s the endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating the lifespan of our cells. If it is damaged, it’s going to exacerbate the symptoms associated with this disease.
CBD can help with Parkinson’s on two levels – anti-oxidant and neuroprotectant. These properties work together to help relieve free radicals that are responsible for oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the most recognized causes of Parkinson’s.
As always, there are downsides to using CBD for Parkinson’s. One of the first and most obvious ones is if you smoke it, you could end up causing damage to your lungs. The other is that many patients don’t like that a psychoactive like THC is included.
In fact, this second downside is enough to put off many patients trying CBD for their condition. These days, however, CBD doesn’t have to include THC at all, which is a significant improvement for all of these patients. This means that they can benefit from the properties CBD contains without the psychoactive effect.
Along with the scientific evidence that you’ve seen here today, there are many more success stories out there when it comes to CBD and Parkinson’s. While it is a case by case treatment which means not all patients will experience that same benefits, the vast majority of patients who use CBD oil as a treatment for Parkinson’s end up reaping the rewards.
What’s more is CBD has been proven to be an effective natural remedy for other health conditions like anxiety and insomnia, both of which are sub-symptoms of Parkinson’s.
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At the end of the day, we are not healthcare professionals, which means we cannot give qualified medical advice on taking CBD for Parkinson’s. CBD is not yet an approved official treatment for this medical condition, which is why we recommend consulting your healthcare professional about it before you try it.
With this being said, we can show the scientific evidence that points to CBD as an effective natural treatment for Parkinson’s. The general consensus is that it’s an excellent alternative to prescription medication that often comes with adverse side effects.
With this in mind, let’s hope that a cure for Parkinson’s isn’t too far away.
References and Further Reading
1. Parkinson’s disease – Wikipedia
2. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid, in Experimental Allergic Contact Dermatitis.
3. Quality Traits of “Cannabidiol Oils”: Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations
4. In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s Disease.
5. Cannabinoids in Parkinson’s Disease
6. Cannabidiol as a Promising Strategy to Treat and Prevent Movement Disorders?
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