Parkinson’s disease is a chronic nervous system disorder. It starts gradually but gets steadily worse as more and more brain cells are damaged. Parkinson’s is characterized by tremors, rigid muscles, impaired balance, and difficulty moving the body, but other symptoms can include problems sleeping, mood disorders, and pain. There is no cure for Parkinson’s and even the best treatment options can only slow the progress of the disease. It is a devastating disease for both the patient and their loved ones.
Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease
Did you know that 80% of Parkinson’s patients have tried cannabis? While there are no studies suggesting that cannabis cures Parkinson’s disease, we do know that it can help with many common symptoms and the side effects of medications such as pain, appetite, nausea, and sleep. In this post, we’re going to discuss how to use cannabis to treat Parkinson’s disease, but please remember that we are not doctors. Don’t make changes to your treatment program without talking to your healthcare team.
How to Choose Cannabis for Parkinson’s Disease
There’s not much research on how to treat Parkinson’s disease with cannabis. Unfortunately, that forces patients to go through trial and error until they find something that works. Talking to other people who have used cannabis to treat Parkinson’s disease is probably the best place to start until research catches up. THC is the cannabinoid most people think of when they think about medical marijuana, but CBD is also very effective. One advantage of CBD is that it’s not psychoactive, so it provides the benefits of cannabis without the high. However, THC has some benefits of its own, so many people use CBD products during the day and then switching to something with THC at bedtime. I found an online support group and some of the people there said CBD works well during the day, but they like an indica to help them sleep at night. No one mentioned anything about sativas, but there really wasn’t enough information to draw conclusions.
Using Cannabis to Manage Parkinson’s Symptoms
Cannabis can be used to treat a variety of symptoms and complications of Parkinson’s disease. It can also help with some common side effects of the medications prescribed to many patients.
- Pain: Both CBD and THC are good choices for pain management and cannabis can reduce the risk of opioid dependency.
- Trouble sleeping: THC can help you fall asleep and sleep through the night.
- Spasticity: There’s some evidence that cannabis can help.
- General quality of life: Cannabis can improve the general quality of life for Parkinson’s patients.
- Anxiety: CBD has anti-anxiety and antidepressant qualities.
- Nausea and appetite: Both THC and CBD can help decrease nausea and increase appetite.
Finding the best dosage will require some trial and error, but we made a guide to help streamline the process of finding the dose of cannabis that works best for you.
Cannabis and Senior Citizens
Despite the fact that senior citizens are the fastest growing demographic of cannabis users, many are still reluctant to try cannabis. After years of prohibition and the associated misinformation, who can blame them? Fortunately, a little education can go a long way. Here are some tips to help you introduce cannabis to the older people in your life.
- Give them accurate information about cannabis. This article provides a good overview.
- Gently correct any misconceptions they may have about cannabis. Show them research from sources they trust.
- Be open about your own use. Sometimes just knowing that someone you love uses cannabis makes all the difference.
- Discuss the different ways to use cannabis and help them determine what will work best for their needs.
- Be present with them when they try it. Ask if they’d prefer you to join them or to simply observe.
Don’t expect anyone to change their mind overnight. Instead, start an ongoing discussion and be a supportive resource. The goal is to give seniors a new choice, not to pressure them into something they’re not ready to try.
The video at the beginning of this post shows dramatic results. While we sincerely hope you have the same success with whatever treatment you choose, using cannabis for Parkinson’s disease simply hasn’t been researched very thoroughly. Right now anecdotal data is one of the best sources we have, so if you’ve successfully used cannabis to treat Parkinson’s disease or manage your symptoms, we would love to hear about it. Which strains do you use? Which cannabinoids or terpenes do you look for? What doses are give you the best results? How do you consume it? Anything you can share might help another patient.
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