With more than 200,000 cases of Parkinson’s Disease arising each year just within the United States alone, and with more than 10 million people estimated to be living with PD globally, it is safe to say that this medical condition is common and affects a large number of individuals worldwide. For those with Parkinson’s Disease, they are not alone. By itself, Parkinson’s Disease is not fatal, but does make quality of life uncomfortable without proper treatment. The real issue exists when complications due to Parkinson’s Disease arise, which can in turn become especially serious. Some patients of medical marijuana have described and reported real success with calming some of their Parkinson’s Disease symptoms.
Continue on to discover information regarding Parkinson’s Disease and how marijuana can help…
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease may not be what the general population expects to be happening on an anatomical level. The condition actually targets the central nervous system, specifically the midbrain, or substantia nigra. Within this portion of the brain, neurons or brain cells produce dopamine which assists with body coordination, smooth muscle movements, emotions and more by transmitting messages from this portion of the brain to the rest of the body.
Within an individual who has a properly functioning midbrain, all of these aspects of every day to day life occur flawlessly or with few issues, but when the substantia nigra starts producing 60-80% less dopamine than it should, the frustrating motor and nonmotor symptoms begin to arise. Those who have this lack of dopamine within the midbrain are diagnosed with PD, and often times they must live with the challenges of this medical condition for the rest of their lives. When the damaging or even death of dopamine producing brain cells occurs, it is referred to as neurodegeneration.
Parkinson’s Disease is not curable as of now, but the symptoms can usually be managed with conventional medical treatments, so that patients can live as normal of a life as possible. Furthermore, Parkinson’s Disease typically onsets slowly (it is progressive), over the course of multiple years, and can last an entire lifetime (it is chronic) after its development. Finally, there are multiple stages of classification for the progression of Parkinson’s Disease, but these will be explained in further detail within the next section of this article.
Keep reading to learn exactly what causes PD and what symptoms to look out for if you think you might have it…
Causes and Symptoms
As explained earlier, the damage of brain cells that produce the important dopamine chemical, are what is to blame for Parkinson’s Disease, but the actual reason as to why these brain cells become damaged remains a medical mystery to doctors. For whatever reason, men are 50% more likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease than females. Additionally, adults over the age of 50 are more likely than those who are younger to develop Parkinson’s. Because of all the questions still left unanswered, continued research regarding PD must be conducted to discover more concrete information about this disease.
Parkinson’s Disease is typically referred to by medical practitioners in stages, and each stage is classified by its symptoms, which not only helps people understand the level of progression, but also what to expect as the condition progresses.
This staging system is not completely accurate, for Parkinson’s Disease affects each individual in a slightly different manner, but it is an overall classification of the most common and prevalent symptoms and situations that occur. The length of time of the disease progression for each person also varies, with some people degenerating over the course of 20 years, and others just within a few years.
Stages of Parkinson’s Disease
The symptoms of stage one are typically quite mild, with possible tremors in the hands and throughout the body typically taking place on one side only (left or right). The symptoms at this point still won’t affect everyday life too intensely, but family and friends might notice a change in facial expressions, because the facial muscles might have a more difficult time connecting with the brain. Additionally, overall posture and movement when walking might seem off to those around you. At this point, Parkinson’s Disease is still within its very early moments.
As of this point, the symptoms overall will begin to worsen. Tremors might begin impacting both sides of the body, as well as posture and ability to walk becoming more challenging. At this stage, the individual can likely still live alone and complete day to day activities themselves, but these tasks may take longer to complete because of the impaired movement.
Classified as the mid stage of Parkinson’s Disease, stage three oftentimes still allows individuals to live independently, but activities such as dressing and eating may become difficult and require some part-time assistance, possibly from friends or family. By stage three, falls are more common, which can become dangerous and frightening. Ability to balance, walk, move around, talk and write, may all become impaired.
By this stage, walking is typically still possible, but difficult and therefore might require a walker or some form of mechanical assistance. Speech and writing become slower and sometimes slurred, making communication more difficult, as well as balance getting thrown off, which can lead to dizziness. Furthermore, those who have Parkinson’s Disease progressed to stage four may require some assistance to help with tasks, such as eating and dressing.
The most serious and furthest progressed form of Parkinson’s Disease, by this point around the clock care from a nurse or family member is required, because the body may become so stiff that it is challenging to just stand up, let alone move around. The decrease in ability to balance also makes movement tough, which is why people experiencing this stage are typically in a wheelchair and have help with all daily activities. Furthermore, delusions and uncomfortable hallucinations can take place, tied together with difficulties in speech and writing, making communication complex. Stage five symptoms are mostly concentrated around motor symptoms, but a multitude of non-motor symptoms exist for patients of Parkinson’s Disease as well.
Some of these equally as debilitating non-motor symptoms include:
1: Mental disorders such as, anxiety, depression, irritability, stress and more.
2. Hallucinations and delusions, taking the individual away from reality.
3. Orthostatic hypotension, which causes a sudden drop in blood pressure when one is standing.
4. Cognitive changes such as, dementia, problems with language and memory, changes in emotions and personality and difficulties focusing and planning.
5. Weight loss, weight gain, fatigue, chronic pain, loss in sense of smell, problems with vision, excessive sweating, constipation and sexual problems.
6. Serious sleep disorders such as, insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).
Aside from the symptoms listed above, many other motor and nonmotor symptoms exist amongst Parkinson’s Disease patients, some of them occurring as a negative result of the medications that are prescribed.
Conventional Medical Treatments That are Not Marijuana
Although Parkinson’s Disease is not curable, the aim of conventional medical treatments is to improve the quality of life of a patient with Parkinson’s as much as possible. These treatments typically involve increasing the levels of dopamine production in the brain, and therefore the condition is mostly treated with medications such as, Levodopa, Tasmar, Comtan, Stalevo, Mirapex, Requip and Neuropro. All of these medications are prescribed for different functions, all with the common interest of allowing the brain to re-up its dopamine levels.
Antidepressants and anti anxiety medications are also prescribed to some Parkinson’s Disease patients who are experiencing negative thoughts or isolation as a result of their condition.
Those with further progressed symptoms are often eligible for an implant surgery, known as a deep brain stimulator, or DBS.
Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Disease
Although not enough evidence exists to confirm that medical marijuana can act as a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease itself by replenishing dopamine levels, many marijuana patients with Parkinson’s Disease do report marijuana assisting them immensely with some of the non-motor symptoms of this condition. More specifically, marijuana is known to help with the fatigue, insomnia, depression, chronic pain, anxiety and stress that can take place as a result of Parkinson’s Disease.
Before we relieve to you the best marijuana strains on the market for PD it is important to understand that prior to any marijuana consumption it is best to see a 420 doctor to discuss your specific condition. Marijuana strains affect everyone differently and this is due to genetics, biological sex, unique chemistry, overall health and tolerance. Furthermore when consuming the marijuana strains listed below it is extremely important to speak to a professional to understand the correct dosing to deal with your specific condition.
Find out what 5 marijuana strains can perform the best results…
5 Best Marijuana Strains for Parkinson’s Disease
1. Kobain Kush (indica)
Kobain Kush is a well balanced indica that does not cause sleepiness, but instead works effortlessly at curbing stress and pain, acting as a release for the entire body from head to toe. This marijuana strain is especially helpful for PD patients who have issues with pain and keeping their negative or worrisome thoughts at bay.
2. Dark Blue Dream (hybrid)
An indica dominant hybrid, this marijuana strain allows users to relax and unwind, minimizing the stimulants around them, decreasing stress levels and assisting with depression and anxiety. Additionally, Dark Blue Dream can act as a sedative, which is a massive relief for Parkinson’s patients who have trouble sleeping as a result of their condition.
3. Berkeley (sativa)
An energizing and mood lifting sativa, Berkeley is a powerhouse marijuana strain that acts as a quick pick-me-up forParkinson’s Disease patients with fatigue because of a lack of comfortable sleep or excessive daytime sleepiness. Furthermore, Berkeley brings about a sense of overall happiness and contentment, great for keeping stress and depression at bay.
4. Cherry Grapefruit (hybrid)
A fairly uncommon cannabis strain, Cherry Grapefruit is a fruity hybrid marijuana strain suited to assist those who are experiencing stress, lack of appetite or muscle spasms, all of which can be symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. It is simple to grow, making it a wise option for those who are looking towards this sort of help.
5. U2 Kush (indica)
U2 Kush features powerful 80% indica genetics, acting fast to help those with insomnia and chronic pain, making this marijuana strain the ultimate nighttime relief for Parkinson’s Disease patients who can’t seem to fall asleep because of their symptoms. Additionally, this marijuana bud works brilliantly to counteract depression and stress, as well as improve a lack of appetite; a well rounded candidate for individuals fighting through this disease.
Moving Forward with Marijuana and Parkinson’s Disease
We hope you have learned plenty of new information regarding Parkinson’s Disease, and how exactly patients use medical marijuana to assist their problematic symptoms. Our intention is that this article served as an educational and informative guide for you, a friend or a loved one. It is important to remember that the consumption of cannabis is the sole responsibility of the consumer and discretion should always be taken.