A new study has found that cannabis effectively manages the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Consuming cannabis effectively reduces pain and improves motor skills in Parkinson’s disease patients, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Pain.
Parkinson’s is an incurable motor system disorder of the central nervous system caused by the loss of dopamine producing brain cells. The disorder affects movement and often includes unmanageable tremors, stiffness, and a loss of balance. As a progressive disorder, symptoms grow worse over time.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University and the Rabin Medical Center measured the pain and motor symptoms of 20 patients with Parkinson’s disease before and 30 minutes after cannabis consumption and then again after long-term cannabis use. Motor function was evaluated through the Unified PD Rating scale, which utilizes interview and clinical observation and is the most commonly used scale in the clinical study of Parkinson’s disease. Pain levels were assessed using the Pain Rating Index, which scores pain levels with a numeral value, and Visual Analogue Scale, a subjective measurement technique.
Thirty minutes after cannabis was consumed, the Parkinson’s disease patients experienced a significant decrease in motor symptoms and pain in the limb most affected with tremors. Pain also significantly decreased in the affected limb following long-term marijuana use, a median of 14 weeks.
Previous research has also shown cannabis to be beneficial for helping patients with Parkinson’s disease. Findings indicate that cannabis improves sleep and manages tremors, motor impairments, bradykinesia, and pain in those with Parkinson’s. Additionally, studies have shown cannabis and its established neuroprotective effects to effectively slow the progression of the disorder by suppressing the excitotoxicity, glial activation, and oxidative injury that eventually destroy the dopamine-releasing neurons. As anecdotal evidence, a 55-year old citizen of the UK recently published a video, which has since gone viral, demonstrating the therapeutic effects of marijuana on the tremors he experiences caused by Parkinson’s disease.
Of the 25 current U.S. states that have established medical marijuana laws, 10 — Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania — have approved medicinal cannabis specifically for Parkinson’s disease. Other medical marijuana states, like California, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington, have laws that will allow patients with any disorder to apply for medical marijuana.
Three of the four states that will vote on medical marijuana initiatives this coming November — Florida, Montana and Arkansas — will be deciding on measures that would give legal access to patients with Parkinson’s disease.
You can read the study, “Effect on medical cannabis on thermal quantitative measurements of pain in patients with Parkinson’s disease,” here.