Parkinson’s Disease

Medical Marijuana For Parkinson's Disease

Being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease or having it for years both yields the same question, what are some other treatment options? If you are searching for an alternative treatment method, medical marijuana may be right for you. Cross Valley Health & Medicine's Dr. Paul Saladino and Christian Plaza, FNP are trained to see patients over the age of 18 so they have plenty of medical experience with all walks of life. Even though the practice is based in Newburgh New York, they can offer both in-person and virtually through telemedicine appointments to make it easier on your schedule. Your New York State medical marijuana certification process can begin today.*

medical marijuana for Parkinson's Disease

What is Parkinson's Disease? 

The Mayo Clinic defined Parkinson's Disease as "a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement." This is caused by nerve cells in the brain breaking down to the point where they die. When these brain nerve cells die off, the levels of dopamine (a brain chemical that makes you feel pleasure) decrease causing unusual brain activity. 

On the onset of Parkinson's Disease, the most common change in a person is noticeable tremors or slowing of movement. The tremors are usually found in limbs (like your hands or fingers) even if they are not currently doing anything. Over time, the person may have changes in posture, speech, and/or writing. Usually, genes and environmental triggers can cause Parkinson's Disease. As it becomes more difficult to perform daily activities, it may be time to consult your practitioner.  

What is the typical treatment for Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson's Disease itself cannot be cured, but there are medications out there that can control symptoms. One of the medications is called Carbidopa-Levodopa (Levodopa), which makes the brain generate more dopamine through a  natural process. If more dopamine cannot be made, another medication, for example, Pramipexole (Mirapex) mimics the dopamine effect in the brain. For those who still have relatively healthy dopamine levels, a medication like Selegiline (Zelapar) helps stop the breakdown of existing dopamine. 

Other than medications, healthy eating and exercising can improve your overall well-being. A diet that includes nutrients,  like omega-3, and exercising the whole body can be beneficial.  

For extreme cases, a surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation may be performed. Electrodes are implanted into the brain to send electrical pulses to the brain in the hope to reduce symptoms. 

How can medical marijuana help Parkinson's Disease?

Medical marijuana takes the marijuana plant's chemicals and then the plant is grown and cultivated specifically to treat a variety of medical conditions. WebMD explained that "the marijuana plant contains more than 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each one has a different effect on the body. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals used in medicine. THC also produces the same "high" people feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it." Medical marijuana comes in many different forms such as dried leaves, edibles, oils, sprays, and creams.
 
Right now, there is not enough clinical evidence to support medical marijuana to be both safe and effective in treating Parkinson's Disease symptoms. There have been some cases where people have reported improvement with their anxiety, pain management, sleep concerns,  and nausea relief. The Parkinson's Foundation is one of the leaders for testing medical marijuana use with those with Parkinson's Disease. 

 

*Any information listed on this page is provided for medical educational purposes only, and shall not be taken as medical advice provided by Cross Valley Health & Medicine. Any medications listed on this page are also provided for medical educational purposes only, and the use of any of these mentioned medications should stem from consulting with your provider.