The following information is presented for educational purposes only.
Medical Marijuana Inc. provides this information to provide an understanding
of the potential applications of cannabidiol. Links to third party websites
do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Medical Marijuana
Inc. and none should be inferred.
Parkinsonís disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects
nearly 1 million people in the U.S. Studies have shown marijuana can slow
the diseaseís progression and help patients manage the diseaseís associated
Overview of Parkinsonís Disease
Parkinsonís disease is a chronic, progressive disorder of the nervous system
that causes the malfunction and death of nerve cells in the brain.
Parkinsonís disease (PD) typically starts with a minor tremor and develops
gradually, eventually causing stiffness throughout the body and slowing
movement. Some neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to
the part of the brain that controls movement, and as these neurons die from
Parkinsonís disease, the amount of dopamine decreases and movement is
While the cause of Parkinsonís disease is unknown, genes and environmental
triggers likely play a role. Specific genetic mutations have been identified
and having a close relative with Parkinsonís increases chances of developing
the disease. Exposure to certain toxins like herbicides and pesticides could
also increase risk.
Symptoms associated with Parkinsonís disease include tremors, bradykinesia
(slowness of movement), rigidity (stiffness) and postural instability.
Tremors can occur in the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face. Parkinsonís
disease is also commonly accompanied with depression, cognitive problems,
swallowing problems, sleep problems, fatigue and pain. Psychosis, a severe
impairment in thinking and emotion that causes one to lose contact with
reality, can also occur.
There is no cure for Parkinsonís disease. However, treatments can help to
improve symptoms. Medications can be used to help manage walking, movement
and tremor problems by increasing or substituting for dopamine. Surgery may
eventually be required to regulate certain regions of the brain.
Findings: Effects of Cannabis on Parkinsonís Disease
Evidence suggests that cannabis could potentially slow the progression of
Parkinsonís by providing neuroprotective effects. The cannabinoids found in
cannabis are able to suppress excitotoxicity, glial activation and oxidative
injury that cause the degeneration of the dopamine-releasing neurons. In
addition, they improve the function of cellís mitochondria and activation of
cellular debris clearance, further encouraging neuron health (More & Choi,
2015) (Garcia-Arencibia, Garcia & Fernandez-Ruiz, 2009) (Lastres-Becker &
Fernandez-Ruiz, 2006) (Zeissler, et al., 2013). Researchers have found
evidence that one specific cannabinoid found in cannabis,
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), helps in the treatment of Parkinsonís disease by
assisting in the prevention of damage caused by free radicals and activating
a receptor that encourages the formation of new mitochondria (Zeissler, et
al., 2013). Another major cannabinoid found in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD),
has also demonstrated its ability to support the health of neural cells
mitochondria, causing the researchers concluded that CBD should be
considered as a potential therapeutic option in neurodegenerative disorders
like Parkinsonís because of its neuroprotective properties (da Silva, et
al., 2014) (Zuardi, 2008).
Research also shows that cannabis can help patients with Parkinsonís disease
manage their symptoms. One study observed that after smoking cannabis,
Parkinsonís disease patients saw significant improvements in motor
disability and impairments, tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia, sleep and pain
(Lotan, Treves, Roditi & Djaldetti, 2014). Additional studies have confirmed
cannabisí ability to reduce bradykinesia and tremors (Garcia-Arencibia,
Garcia, Fernandez-Ruiz, 2009) (Lastres-Becker & Fernandez-Ruiz, 2006). Most
recently, a clinical trial found that cannabis significantly reduced pain
and motor symptoms in Parkinsonís disease patients after 30 minutes (Shohet,
et al., 2016).
Significant improvements in well-being and quality of life scores were found
in Parkinsonís disease patients that were given daily doses of CBD for one
week (Chagas, et al., 2014). One case study found that patients treated with
CBD, though they didnít see significant improvements in motor measures or
general symptoms, experienced prompt and substantial reductions in the
frequency of REM sleep behavior disorder events (Chagas, et al., 2014). In
one survey, despite only 4.3% of Parkinsonís disease patients responding
that they used cannabis to treat their symptoms, it was ranked it as the
most effective treatment option out of vitamins, prayer, massage, art
therapy, music therapy and relaxation (Finseth, et al., 2015).
In addition, CBD may help with those Parkinsonísí disease patients
experiencing psychosis. Four weeks of CBD caused Parkinsonís disease
patients with psychosis to experience a significant decrease in psychotic
symptoms as evaluated by the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale and the
Parkinson Psychosis Questionnaire (Zuardi, et al., 2009).
States That Have Approved Medical Marijuana for Parkinsonís Disease
Currently, 11 states have approved medical marijuana for the treatment of
Parkinsonís disease. These states include Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New
York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
A number of other states will consider allowing medical marijuana to be used
for the treatment of Parkinsonís disease with the recommendation from a
physician. These states include: California (any
debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been recommended
by a physician), Nevada (other
conditions subject to approval), Oregon (other
conditions subject to approval), Rhode
Island (other conditions
subject to approval), and Washington (any
ďterminal or debilitating conditionĒ).
D.C., any condition can be approved for medical marijuana as long as a
DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment.
In addition, several states have approved medical marijuana specifically to
treat ďchronic pain,Ē a symptom that can arise in people with Parkinsonís.
These states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New
Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island and Vermont.
The states of Nevada, New
Dakota, Montana, Ohio and Vermont allow
medical marijuana to treat ďsevere pain.Ē The states of Arkansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington have
approved cannabis for the treatment of ďintractable pain.Ē
Also, 19 states have approved medical marijuana specifically for the
treatment of nausea, which can develop from medications used to treat
Parkinsonís. These states include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New
Dakota, Oregon, Rhode
Recent Studies on Cannabisí Effect on Parkinsonís Disease
Smoking cannabis causes Parkinsonís disease patients to see significant
improvements in tremors, rigidity and bradykinesia.
Cannabis (medical marijuana) treatment for motor and non-motor symptoms
of Parkinson disease: an open-label observational study.
CBD improves well-being and quality of life in Parkinsonís disease
Effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of patients with Parkinsonís
disease: an exploratory double-blind trial.
Cannabis significantly reduced pain and motor symptoms in patients with
Effect of medical cannabis on thermal quantitative measurements of pain
in patients with Parkinsonís disease.
Chagas, M.H., Eckeli, A.L., Zuardi, A.W., Pena-Pereira, M.A., Sobreira-Neto,
M.A., Sobreira, E.T., Camilo, M.R., Bergamaschi, M.M., Schenck, C.H.,
Hallack, J.E., Tumas, V., and Crippa, J.A. (2014, October). Cannabidiol can
improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement
sleep behaviour disorder in Parkinsonís disease patients: a case serious.
Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 39(5), 564-6.
Chagas, M.H., Zuardi, A.W., Tumas, V., Pena-Pereira, M.A., Sobreira, E.T.,
Bergamaschi, M.M., dos Santos, A.C., Teixeira, A.L., Hallak, J.E., and
Crippa, J.A. (2014, November). Effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of
patients with Parkinsonís disease: an exploratory double-blind trial.
Journal of Psychopharmacology, 29(11), 1088-98.
da Silva, V.K., de Freitas, B.S., da Silva Dornelles, A., Nery, L.R.,
Falavigna, L., Ferreira, R.D., Bogo, M.R., Hallak, J.E., Zuardi, A.W.,
Crippa, J.A., and Schroder, N. (2014, February). Cannabidiol normalizes
caspase 3, synaptophysin, and mitochondrial fission protein DNM1L expression
levels in rats with brain iron overload: implications for neuroprotection.
Molecular Neurobiology, 49(1), 222-33.
Finseth, T.A., Hedeman, J.L., Brown, R.P. 2nd, Johnson, K.I., Binder, M.S.,
and Kluger, B.M. (2015). Self-reported efficacy of cannabis and other
complementary medicine modalities by Parkinsonís disease patients in
Colorado. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015,
Garcia-Arencibia, M., Garcia, C., and Fernandez-Ruiz, J. (2009, December).
Cannabinoids and Parkinsonís disease. CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug
Targets, 8(6), 432-9.
Lastres-Becker, I., and Fernandez-Ruiz, J. (2006). An overview of
Parkinsonís disease and the cannabinoid system and possible benefits of
cannabinoid-based treatments. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 13(30< 3705-18.
Lotan, I., Treves, T.A., Roditi, Y., and Djaldetti, R. (2014, March-April).
Cannabis (medical marijuana) treatment for motor and non-motor symptoms of
Parkinson disease: an open-label observational study. Clinical
Neuropharmacology, 37(2), 41-4.
More, S.V., and Choi, D.K. (2015, April). Promising cannabinoid-based
therapies for Parkinsonís disease: motor symptoms to neuroprotection.
Molecular Neurodegeneration, 10, 17.
Parkinsonís disease. (2015, July 7). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/basics/definition/con-20028488.
Shohet, A., Khlebtovsky, A., Roizen, N., Roditi, Y., and Djaldetti, R.
(2016, October 10). Effect of medical cannabis on thermal quantitative
measurements of pain in patients with Parkinsonís disease. European
Journal of Pain, doi: 10.1002/ejp.942 [Epub ahead of print].
What is Parkinsonís Disease? (2015). Parkinsonís Disease Foundation.
Retrieved from http://www.pdf.org/about_pd.
Zeissler, M.L., Eastwood, J., Hanemann, C.O., Zajicek,J., and Carroll, C.,
(2013). 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol is protective through PPARy dependent
mitochondrial biogenesis in a cell culture model of Parkinsonís disease.
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 84.
Zuardi, A.W., Crippa, J.A., Hallak, J.E., Pinto, J.P., Chagas, M.H.,
Rodrigues, G.g., Dursun, S.M., and Tumas, V. (2009, November). Cannabidiol
for the treatment of psychosis in Parkinsonís disease. Journal of
Psychopharmacology, 23(8), 979-83.
Zuardi, A.W., (2008, September). Cannabidiol: from an inactive cannabinoid
to a drug with wide spectrum of action. Revista Brasileira De Psiquiatria,
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