Using Medical Cannabis for Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative neurological condition that affects nearly one million people living in the United States. The good news is that Missouri Parkinson’s patients with a medical marijuana card may be able to reduce the severity of their symptoms.
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement and control. The symptoms can vary from patient to patient. The Parkinson’s Foundation estimates that 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the condition each year.
Since Parkinsons’ is a progressive disease, symptoms worsen over time. According to The Mayo Clinic, symptoms start gradually, sometimes with something as simple as a barely noticeable hand tremor. In the early stages of the disease, patients may experience slurred speech, a decrease in facial expression, and gait and balance problems. Symptoms worsen as the condition progresses.
What causes Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder. Doctors are still working on discovering precisely why the condition occurs, but they have identified some of the common factors.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is used to send messages from the body to the part of the brain that conducts movement and coordination. With Parkinson’s, the brain cells that produce dopamine in the brain begin to die, causing complications with motor functions. These issues typically start out small, but worsen over time.
Early warning signs of Parkinson’s
The early signs of Parkinson’s disease may be difficult to detect, because they may only occur sporadically. If you or a loved one are experiencing recurring symptoms, you should consult a medical professional. Here are some of the early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease:
Tremors - These can be small at first. In fact, they are often so small that the person experiencing the slight shaking is the only one who notices. Tremors typically happen in the hands, fingers, or feet.
Uncontrolled Movement During Sleep - This isn’t just tossing and turning. This is uncontrolled movements on a regular basis, such as kicking or arm thrashing during sleep. Those experiencing Parkinson’s may even fall out of bed from the movement.
Vocal Changes - Those in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s often deal with more dramatic slurred speech. But, more subtle vocal changes can happen within the early stages of the condition, such as an unintentionally lowered volume, speaking with less inflection, and hoarseness.
Stiff Facial Expressions - This condition is known as “masking.” It can resemble a blank stare or a serious expression, even when a conversation is lively and light-hearted.
Difficulty With Handwriting - If you notice a loved one's handwriting beginning to become much smaller and cramped, this could be an early indicator of Parkinson’s. Look for letters to be small and words to be spaced closely together.
Slow Movement - This isn’t just the lack of get-up-and-go that many of us experience at the start of the day. This is an all-day slowness and limb stiffness, often resulting in shuffling movements.
Stooped Posture - This is a change in posture that looks like leaning and slouching over. It could be caused by a bad back, but it may also be an early sign of Parkinson’s.
How can medical marijuana help Parkinson’s patients?
Research is ongoing for Parkinson’s, but there are some strong indicators that medical marijuana may help those who are living with the condition.
A study mentioned by the American Journal of Managed Care cites that Parkinson’s patients who tried cannabis reported it was effective at reducing symptom severity. Marijuana can aid in pain relief. Many scientists believe the anti-inflammatory properties could help protect the neurons that produce dopamine.
A review conducted in 2020 of fourteen separate studies suggests that marijuana can reduce anxiety, tremors, and involuntary or erratic movements. Additionally, cannabis for Parkinson’s patients has been shown to improve mood and memory and decrease fatigue.
A 2017 study focused on Parkinson’s patients who used marijuana over the course of three months. It found that cannabis improved their symptoms without any major adverse effects.
Talking to A Loved One About Treating Parkinson’s With Cannabis
Many senior citizens are affected by Parkinson’s. If you have a loved one who is living with this condition and think medical marijuana may be able to improve their quality of life, you should sit down and have a talk with them.
We know these conversations aren’t always easy. That’s why we at Missouri Marijuana Card have put together this handy guide on How to Talk to Seniors About Medical Marijuana. You may be surprised at just how open minded your loved ones are.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this piece is not a medical professional. Treating yourself or a loved one’s medical condition with marijuana is an important decision. Whether treating Parkinson’s or one of the hundred of additional conditions cannabis is known to help, speak to a medical professional first.
You and your loved ones deserve relief. We can help.
If you or someone you care for is ready to experience the healing relief that medical marijuana can provide, you’ll need a valid Missouri medical card. We can help you with that. Our medical staff is ready to take you through a quick and easy evaluation to see if you or your loved one qualifies. Schedule an appointment with a cannabis doctor online by CLICKING HERE, or give us a call at (877) 303-3117 to talk to a patient support representative.
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