Treating Parkinson’s Disease with Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been legalized in 33 states and the District of Columbia, leading many forward-thinking physicians to prescribe it to patients looking for non-traditional Parkinson’s disease (PD) treatment. While research is still ongoing regarding its efficacy, plenty of anecdotal evidence supports the notion that individuals diagnosed with PD can benefit from medical marijuana treatment, particularly with the motor and non-motor symptoms of this progressive disease.

Pre-clinical work from studies funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has shown that the chemical compounds present in marijuana, called “cannabinoids,” may protect brain cells with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Other clinical research has evaluated the usefulness of marijuana in comparison to Levodopa, the gold standard medication used to slow the progression of PD; however, research is still inconclusive as to whether or not medical marijuana is an effective treatment.

For motor symptoms such as tremors, stiffness, and slowness, some encouraging PD research reveals that:

  • Smoking marijuana decreases tremors and slowness.
  • CBD capsules improve quality of life for PD patients, but not motor symptoms.

For non-motor PD symptoms (cognitive changes, psychiatric problems, GI issues, etc.), research shows that

  • CBD tablets decrease psychosis and hallucinations.
  • CBD tablets lessen sleep behavior disorders.

Should I Try Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease?

If you’re considering medical marijuana treatment for PD, you and your physician should weigh the potential benefits and risks, as you would with any other, more traditional therapy. Remember, medical marijuana is a drug with benefits, but it also has side effects that some consumers may wish to avoid, which may include dizziness, nausea, weakness, and cognitive changes. However, the benefits may outweigh the risks for you. These may include improvement in anxiety, pain management, and sleep dysfunction. You physician can help you review the latest research and weigh the pros and cons of how medical marijuana could be incorporated into your treatment regimen.

Interested in learning more about cannabis? Contact our medical marijuana doctors at (856) 351-5277 for a consultation, or request your appointment online.