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Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder that primarily affects movement and motor function. It occurs due to the degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, leading to an imbalance in the brain’s chemical messengers. This imbalance results in the characteristic symptoms of Parkinson’s, which include tremors, stiffness, slow movements, and balance problems. Although there is no cure for PD, various treatment options are available to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These may include medications, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and in some cases, surgical interventions like deep brain stimulation.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurological disorder that affects the motor system, leading to impaired movement and coordination. It occurs due to the loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain, which results in an imbalance of neurotransmitters that regulate movement.


The symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease can vary among individuals but typically include:

  1. Tremors: Involuntary shaking or trembling, often starting in one hand or limb and eventually affecting other parts of the body.
  2. Bradykinesia: Slowness of movement and difficulty initiating voluntary movements.
  3. Rigidity: Increased muscle stiffness, causing resistance to passive movement and reduced flexibility.
  4. Postural instability: Impaired balance and coordination, leading to a greater risk of falls.
  5. Changes in speech: Soft or slurred speech, monotone voice, or rapid and uncontrolled speech.
  6. Reduced facial expressions: A “masked” face with decreased blinking and limited expression.
  7. Difficulty walking: Shuffling gait, stooped posture, or freezing episodes where the feet seem stuck to the ground.


The exact cause of Parkinson’s Disease is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some potential contributors include:

  1. Genetic mutations: Specific gene mutations have been identified in some cases of Parkinson’s Disease, but they are relatively rare and often associated with early-onset forms of the disease.
  2. Environmental factors: Exposure to certain toxins, pesticides, or other environmental factors may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.
  3. Age: Parkinson’s Disease is more common in older individuals, with the risk increasing after the age of 60.
  4. Gender: Men are slightly more likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease than women.


There is currently no known way to prevent Parkinson’s Disease; however, several lifestyle factors may help reduce the risk or delay the onset of symptoms:

  1. Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can help maintain muscle strength, flexibility, and balance, which could potentially reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.
  2. Healthy diet: Consuming a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may help support overall brain health.
  3. Avoiding exposure to toxins: Minimizing exposure to environmental toxins and pesticides may help reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.
  4. Maintaining social connections: Staying socially active and engaged with friends and family may contribute to overall brain health.

It is essential for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and their families to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive care plan tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.

Medical Marijuana as a Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Medical marijuana has shown promise in helping manage certain symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and improving the quality of life for individuals with the condition. However, more research is needed to fully understand its long-term effects and efficacy.

How does medical marijuana help?

Medical marijuana may aid in managing Parkinson’s Disease through the following mechanisms:

  1. Symptom relief: Medical marijuana has been shown to provide relief from various symptoms, such as pain, muscle stiffness, and sleep disturbances.
  2. Neuroprotection: Some cannabinoids have demonstrated potential neuroprotective properties, which may help slow down the degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons.
  3. Modulation of neurotransmitters: Cannabinoids may help regulate neurotransmitter levels in the brain, potentially improving motor function and reducing dyskinesia (involuntary movements).

Cannabinoids and Terpenes for Parkinson’s Disease

Certain cannabinoids may be effective in addressing symptoms related to Parkinson’s Disease:

  1. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): THC can provide potent symptom relief, particularly for pain and muscle stiffness. However, it is essential to use low doses and monitor its psychoactive side effects, such as increased anxiety or cognitive impairment.
  2. CBD (cannabidiol): CBD has demonstrated potential benefits in reducing inflammation, providing neuroprotection, and potentially minimizing dyskinesia.

Some terpenes that may help in managing Parkinson’s Disease symptoms include:

  1. Beta-caryophyllene: This terpene has demonstrated analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which may contribute to pain relief and symptom management in PD patients.
  2. Linalool: Linalool possesses sedative and anxiolytic properties, which could potentially aid in managing sleep disturbances and anxiety often experienced by those with Parkinson’s Disease.

It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional experienced in cannabinoid medicine when considering medical marijuana as a treatment for managing Parkinson’s Disease symptoms. 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 managing Parkinson’s Disease. It is also important to note that medical marijuana should not be considered a substitute for conventional treatments prescribed by a healthcare provider.

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 Medical marijuana consultants 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.