Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder where there is loss of dopaminergic neurons in a specific region of the brain called the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). Tipical for this degenerative disease is also the accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein which forms the so called Lewy bodies. It is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease.
Other neurotransmittersystems besides the dopamine system are
also involved and help to explain many of the non-motor symptoms of PD.
– Bradykinesia/akinseia (s paucity of movement, PD patients adjust their position less often and with greater difficulty than normal individuals)
– Rest tremor (range of ~4-6 Hz and usually disappears with movement)
– Rigidity (o increased tone or increased resistance to passive movement of the limbs)
– Postural instability ( walking with a stooped posture, taking very small steps)
– PD non-motor symptoms: autonomic dysfunction, constipation, sleep disorders, urinary symptoms (impotence in men and urinary incontinence in women), cognitive impairment (15-50% of patients), depression, anxiety
There is still no known cause for PD. 5% of cases can be explained by specific gene mutations. Environmental factors, such as pesticides, have also been implicated in an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, especially in rural areas.
As for most diseases a 1:1 (THC:CBD) strain of cannabis proves to be a good starting point for treating the symptoms of PD. Relief of symptoms can occurs within minutes of the administration of cannabis via a vaporizer as can be seen in the video below.
Extracts, tinctures and vaporising had all been shown to be a good means of administration of cannabis medicine for PD patients.
In the study Potential role of cannabinoids in Parkinson’s disease by Sevcik J. and Masek K., the way in which cannabinoid treatment works is explained:
“Cannabinoids might alleviate some parkinsonian symptoms by their remarkable receptor-mediated modulatory action in the basal ganglia output nuclei. Moreover, it was recently observed that some cannabinoids are potent antioxidants that can protect neurons from death even without cannabinoid receptor activation. It seems that cannabinoids could delay or even stop progressive degeneration of brain dopaminergic systems, a process for which there is presently no prevention. In combination with currently used drugs, cannabinoids might represent, qualitatively, a new approach to the treatment of PD, making it more effective.”
In this video you can see the immediate response of a PD patient to inhaling cannabis and its effects on the symptoms of this disease:
In this video we can see a patient smoking cannabis. We don’t recommend patients smoking cannabis, as the pyrolysis of any material creates toxic by-products, but instead using a vaporiser, which is a much more efficient, healthy and non-irritant means of consumption of cannabis constituents.
Identification of CB₂ receptors in human nigral neurons that degenerate in Parkinson’s disease.
“…CB2 receptors are located in tyrosine hydroxylase-containing neurons in the substantia nigra at levels significantly lower in PD patients compared to controls.”
Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: a case series
“REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) is a parasomnia characterized by the loss of muscle atonia during REM sleep associated with nightmares and active behaviour during dreaming.”
“This case series indicates that CBD is able to control the symptoms of RBD.”