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Incurable Neurodegenerative Diseases

Incurable neurodegenerative diseases are a group of progressive disorders characterized by the gradual deterioration of nerve cells in the brain and nervous system. These conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), lead to devastating physical, cognitive, and emotional impairments. As the global population ages, the prevalence of these incurable diseases continues to rise, posing significant challenges for patients, caregivers, and healthcare systems. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of incurable neurodegenerative diseases, including their symptoms, causes, risk factors, and current research into potential treatments aimed at slowing progression and improving quality of life for those affected.

What are Incurable Neurodegenerative Diseases?

Incurable neurodegenerative diseases refer to a group of chronic and progressive disorders that primarily affect the neurons in the brain and nervous system. These conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), lead to the gradual loss of neuron function and eventually result in neuron death, causing a range of debilitating symptoms.


Symptoms of incurable neurodegenerative diseases vary depending on the specific condition and the area of the brain affected. However, some common symptoms may include:

  1. Cognitive decline, such as memory loss, confusion, and difficulty concentrating
  2. Motor function impairment, leading to muscle weakness, stiffness, tremors, and difficulty with movement and coordination
  3. Emotional and behavioral changes, such as mood swings, depression, anxiety, and agitation
  4. Communication difficulties, including slurred speech or loss of speech
  5. Difficulty swallowing and breathing (in advanced stages)


The exact causes of most neurodegenerative diseases remain unclear. However, several factors may contribute to their development, including:

  1. Genetic mutations: Inherited genetic mutations can play a significant role in the development of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s disease and some forms of ALS.
  2. Aging: The risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases increases with age, as natural wear and tear on the brain can lead to the accumulation of damaged cells and proteins.
  3. Environmental factors: Exposure to toxins, infections, or other harmful substances may contribute to the development or progression of neurodegenerative diseases.
  4. Protein misfolding: Abnormal folding of proteins in the brain can lead to the formation of toxic aggregates that interfere with normal cell function and contribute to neurodegeneration.


While there is no guaranteed method to prevent neurodegenerative diseases, certain lifestyle modifications may help reduce the risk and maintain overall brain health:

  1. Maintain a healthy, balanced diet: Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats may help support brain health and reduce inflammation.
  2. Exercise regularly: Engaging in regular physical activity can improve blood flow to the brain, reduce inflammation, and promote the growth of new neurons.
  3. Prioritize mental stimulation: Participating in intellectually challenging activities, such as puzzles, reading, or learning new skills, can help maintain cognitive function and delay the onset of cognitive decline.
  4. Get enough sleep: Quality sleep is essential for proper brain function and the removal of waste products that can accumulate during waking hours.
  5. Manage stress: Chronic stress can have negative effects on brain health; practicing stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing, can help protect the brain from the harmful effects of stress.

It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you or a loved one experience any symptoms related to neurodegenerative diseases. Early diagnosis and appropriate interventions can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected by these conditions.

Medical Marijuana as a Treatment for Incurable Neurodegenerative Diseases

Emerging research suggests that medical marijuana may hold potential as a treatment option for certain incurable neurodegenerative diseases. The cannabinoids found in medical marijuana interact with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, including inflammation, neuroprotection, and cell signaling.

How does medical marijuana help?

Medical marijuana may help alleviate symptoms and potentially slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases through several mechanisms:

  1. Reducing inflammation: Cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may help protect neurons from damage caused by inflammation.
  2. Antioxidant effects: Both THC and CBD have demonstrated antioxidant properties, which can help neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, contributing to neurodegeneration.
  3. Neuroprotection: Some cannabinoids have shown potential in promoting the survival of existing neurons and encouraging the growth of new ones, which could slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.
  4. Symptom management: Medical marijuana may help alleviate certain symptoms associated with neurodegenerative diseases, such as pain, muscle spasticity, sleep disturbances, and mood disorders.

Cannabinoids and Terpenes for Incurable Neurodegenerative Diseases

Several cannabinoids and terpenes may be particularly effective in addressing symptoms and underlying mechanisms related to neurodegenerative diseases:

  1. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): THC possesses both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help protect neurons from damage. Additionally, THC can help manage pain, muscle spasticity, and sleep disturbances associated with some neurodegenerative conditions.
  2. CBD (cannabidiol): CBD has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective effects without causing psychoactive side effects. It may help reduce inflammation, protect neurons, and improve symptoms like pain, anxiety, and sleep disruptions.
  3. CBG (cannabigerol): CBG is a lesser-known cannabinoid that has shown potential as a neuroprotective agent and may help preserve neuronal function in certain neurodegenerative diseases.
  4. Beta-caryophyllene: This terpene, found in various cannabis strains, has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may contribute to its potential benefits in neurodegenerative disease management.
  5. Limonene: Limonene is a terpene with potential antidepressant and anxiolytic effects, which may help improve mood disorders often associated with neurodegenerative diseases.

It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional experienced in cannabinoid medicine when considering medical marijuana as a treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. They can help determine the appropriate strains, ratios of cannabinoids, and dosages tailored to an individual’s specific needs and circumstances. Further research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects and efficacy of medical marijuana in the treatment and management of neurodegenerative diseases.

Dosage and Consumption Methods

Recommended dosage:

Figuring out the right dose of medical marijuana can be hard because people’s reactions to cannabinoids and terpenes can be very different. Factors such as the specific condition being treated, the patient’s weight, metabolism, and prior experience with cannabis all play a role in determining the right dosage.
Most of the time, it is best to start with a low dose and slowly increase it until you get the effects you want while minimising any possible side effects. For patients who are new to medical marijuana, starting with 2.5–5 mg of THC or CBD and slowly titrating upwards is often advised.

However, consulting a healthcare professional experienced in medical marijuana is essential to developing a personalised dosing plan tailored to the patient’s needs.

Consumption methods:

There are several methods of consuming medical marijuana, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Some common consumption methods include:

  1. Inhalation (smoking or vaping): Inhalation provides rapid onset of effects, usually within minutes, making it suitable for patients requiring immediate relief. However, smoking may pose respiratory risks, while vaping has been associated with lung injuries in some cases.
  2. Oral ingestion (edibles, capsules, tinctures): Ingesting medical marijuana provides longer-lasting effects compared to inhalation but has a slower onset, typically taking 30 minutes to 2 hours for effects to be felt. This method is suitable for patients requiring sustained relief but may require careful dosing to avoid overconsumption.
  3. Topical application (creams, balms, patches): Topicals can provide localised relief for conditions such as arthritis or skin disorders without producing psychoactive effects. The onset of action and duration of effects can vary depending on the product formulation and individual absorption rates.
  4. Sublingual administration (tinctures, dissolvable strips): Sublingual products are absorbed through the mucous membranes under the tongue, providing rapid onset of effects without the need for inhalation or ingestion. This method offers discreet consumption and precise dosing.

Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card

Why get a medical marijuana card?

Getting a medical marijuana card is helpful for patients who are looking for other ways to treat their conditions.

  1. Legal protection: A medical marijuana card allows patients to possess, use, and in some cases, cultivate cannabis for medical purposes, within their state’s legal limits.
  2. Access to quality products: Medical marijuana dispensaries offer a wide range of tested and regulated cannabis products, ensuring patients receive safe and effective medication.
  3. Tax savings: In some states, medical marijuana patients are exempt from certain taxes applied to recreational cannabis sales.
  4. Professional guidance: Medical marijuana cardholders have access to healthcare professionals who can provide personalised recommendations, dosing advice, and ongoing support.

How to apply:

The process of obtaining a medical marijuana card varies by state but generally involves the following steps:

  1. Consult with a medical practitioner to determine if medical marijuana is appropriate for your condition and obtain a written recommendation.
  2. Complete an application with the required documentation, including proof of residency, identification, and the healthcare professional’s recommendation.
  3. Submit the application to the appropriate state agency, along with any required fees.
  4. Await approval and issuance of the medical marijuana card.

Risks and Side Effects

Potential risks:

While medical marijuana can offer relief and improve the quality of life for many patients, it also carries certain risks and side effects. Some potential risks associated with medical marijuana use include:

  1. Dependency and addiction: Although the risk of addiction is considered lower than that of opioids or alcohol, some individuals may develop a dependency on cannabis.
  2. Impaired cognitive function: THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, can impair memory, attention, and reaction times, particularly with prolonged or heavy use.
  3. Respiratory issues: Smoking cannabis can cause respiratory problems, including bronchitis and lung irritation. Vaping has also been linked to lung injuries in some cases.
  4. Mental health concerns: High doses of THC or predisposition to mental health disorders can lead to increased anxiety, paranoia, or exacerbate existing mental health conditions.
  5. Drug interactions: Medical marijuana may interact with other medications, either enhancing or diminishing their effects. It is essential to discuss potential drug interactions with a healthcare professional before starting medical marijuana therapy.


Medical marijuana might not be right for every patient, especially those who already have certain health problems or risk factors. Contraindications to medical marijuana use may include:

  1. Personal or family history of substance abuse or addiction
  2. Severe liver or kidney disease
  3. Severe cardiovascular disease
  4. Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  5. History of psychosis or other severe mental health disorders
  6. Allergies or hypersensitivity to cannabis or its components

Legal Status

Where is it legal?

In the United States, the laws about medical marijuana are always changing. Currently, over 30 states and the District of Columbia allow its use under certain conditions. Each state has its own rules and a list of medical conditions that are allowed to use medical marijuana.

Even though some states have made medical marijuana legal, it is still illegal at the federal level because it is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

This difference between state and federal laws can make it harder for medical marijuana patients to get jobs, find housing, or travel across state lines, among other things. Patients should research their state’s guidelines and remain aware of potential legal risks.


Medical marijuana could help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for many people with long-term or debilitating illnesses.

When thinking about this treatment option, it’s important to know the right dose, how to use it, how to get a medical marijuana card, possible risks, side effects, and legal status.

Work closely with a doctor or nurse who knows a lot about medical marijuana to find out if it is a good and safe choice for your needs.

As the legal landscape surrounding medical marijuana continues to evolve, staying informed about changing regulations and guidelines is essential to ensuring responsible and compliant use.

As the field of medical marijuana continues to evolve, it’s crucial for patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to stay informed about the latest research and developments. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current landscape, but it’s always important to consult with healthcare providers for personalized advice.

Note: This article’s content is provided for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or queries regarding laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult a lawyer, physician, or other licensed practitioner.