Medicinal Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease
The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of receptors throughout the body responsible for regulating a variety of psychological systems, including sleep, appetite and mood. These receptors can be found in particularly high numbers in the section of the brain that controls movement; the same section of the brain that is affected by Parkinson’s.
Cannabis contains over 100 cannabinoids. These are natural, chemical compounds that are very similar to endocannabinoids in the human body. The similarities between the two mean that cannabinoids in marijuana can be administered to target physiological responses. Two cannabis compounds in particular, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have been widely researched for their ability to alleviate a number of symptoms, among them muscle spasms. A combined treatment of CBD and THC for Multiple Sclerosis was shown to improve muscle spasms in just four weeks1.
Studies into the treatment of medical cannabis for Parkinson’s Disease have presented similar findings. A 2017 study suggested that medical cannabis improved the symptoms of those suffering from the initial stages of Parkinson’s Disease2, while others found that cannabis can improve the mood, memory, energy levels and obesity status of Parkinson’s patients3.