An Alternative Treatment for Parkinson’s Patients

An Alternative Treatment for Parkinson’s Patients

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and an opportune time to highlight the disease and how medical marijuana may be a beneficial treatment option for those living with the condition. Many Parkinson’s patients find themselves desperate for alternative treatment options that provide sufficient relief of their symptoms and help avoid or postpone the need for surgery down the road.

Understanding Parkinson’s

“Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominantly dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called the substantia nigra.” (parkinson.org). Symptoms of PD usually form over many years and the progression can vary from person to person. Some patients with PD may experience one or all of the following:

  • Tremors, mainly when resting
  • Bradykinesia, slow movements
  • Limb rigidity, stiffness of the arms or legs beyond general aging or arthritis
  • Gait and balance problems

In early signs of PD, patients may experience little to no expression on one side of the face, limited arm movement or soft or slurred speech. Overtime, the symptoms of Parkinson’s will increase. (mayoclinic.org) When diagnosing a patient with Parkinson’s, physicians will look at the patient’s medical history, review their signs and symptoms and conduct neurological and physical exams.  

Current Treatments of Parkinson’s

Unfortunately, the cause of PD remains unknown with no known cure. However, medications and surgery do help reduce the symptoms. Parkinson’s may not directly cause death in patients, but complications from the disease can be very serious. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rated complications from PD as the 14th cause of death in the United States.” (parkinson.org).

In addition to medications and possible surgeries, physicians may suggest various lifestyle changes for their patients to help improve quality of life. “In some cases, physical therapy that focuses on balance and stretching is also important. A speech-language pathologist may help improve speech problems.” (mayoclinic.org)

Treating with Medical Cannabis

Although the medications that physicians prescribe to their patients can be helpful, there still seems to be a gap in the efficacy of these medications. Patients with PD are often eager to find alternative methods to help subdue their symptoms, which leads many to look into the therapeutic capabilities of medical marijuana.

“Our bodies make natural cannabinoids that control sleep, appetite, mood and other processes by binding to receptors throughout the body and brain. These receptors are found in particularly high numbers in the basal ganglia, a circuit of brain cells that controls movement and is affected in Parkinson’s. Because the cannabinoids in marijuana bind to the receptors in our body and brain, researchers have looked at whether they could bind to basal ganglia and other receptors to modify the course of PD or help ease symptoms of disease.” – michealjfox.org

Despite the constant struggle to get medical marijuana into clinical trials, a handful have been conducted based on the effects medical cannabis has on decreasing motor/non-motor symptoms and levodopa-induced dyskinesia (involuntary movements that may result with long-term use of levodopa and many years of living with PD). Unfortunately, due to strict federal restrictions, there is insufficient evidence to definitively say that medical marijuana and cannabinoids are an effective treatment for Parkinson’s. However, it’s recognized that there could be substantial benefit to introducing the plant into a PD patient’s treatment plan if they’re the right fit.

Interested in treating your patients with medical marijuana, but worried you don’t currently have enough credible data to do so? Join Arfinn Med for FREE to get real medical marijuana treatment efficacies, discuss treatment options with other licensed physicians and stay up-to-date on all of the latest industry findings.

Sources: https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/What-is-Parkinsons/Young-Onset-Parkinsons

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20376062
https://www.apdaparkinson.org/article/medical-marijuana-and-parkinsons-disease/https://www.michaeljfox.org/foundation/news-detail.php?ask-the-md-medical-marijuana-and-parkinson-disease-a

Stories you may be interested in

Medical marijuana: Florida House seeks to intervene in ‘monumental’ case

TALLAHASSEE — Florida House leaders should be able to participate in a lawsuit that could revolutionize the state’s medical marijuana market, a lawyer for the Republican-led chamber told a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal Tuesday. But Tampa-based Florigrown argued that legislators instead should concentrate on fixing the law, aimed at carrying…
Read More

Medical Marijuana Faces Acceptance Barrier by Hesitant Medical Schools

A new study shows a growing interest by university pharmacy programs in teaching about medical marijuana in their curriculum, while medical schools seem to lag behind. Sixty-two percent of U.S. pharmacy school respondents queried in a new survey said they included medical marijuana in their doctorate of pharmacy curriculum. That’s according to a nine-page study co-authored by…
Read More

Substance in cannabis ‘could boost pancreatic cancer treatments’

A substance found in cannabis plants might boost treatments for patients with pancreatic cancer, research in mice has suggested. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is not psychoactive, meaning it does not produce feelings of being high in those who take it. It is extracted from hemp plants and is legal in the UK, although a CBD product…
Read More

New Feature: Text Message Treatment Updates

New to the Arfinn Med portal comes the ability to receive real time updates from patients via text messaging. This new addition will allow physicians to stay up to date on current patient efficacies as well as streamline the data collection process. Through the new text messaging function, physicians are able to send patients automated…
Read More

THC vs. CBD: What You Need to Know

With the rising demand of natural medicines, medical marijuana compounds THC and CBD are starting to make a name for themselves more than ever before. These two compounds have a wide range of health benefits, making it understandable why patients and physicians would be interested in this alternative treatment option. Although these two compounds are…
Read More

CEO Spotlight: James West

As a former academic coordinator for the City University of New York Research Foundation and Medgar Evers College, CEO and co-founder of Arfinn Med, James West, has extensive experience in adult education and professional training programming. James put this extensive education to good use when he noticed that there was a direct need for a…
Read More

Leave a Comment