Parkinson’s disease is tricky. As a disorder that you cannot cure, finding proper treatments and ways to manage symptoms can sometimes feel impossible. However, lately, scientists have begun looking to the connection between medical marijuana and Parkinson’s disease, eager to see if there’s any potential benefit. So, does medical marijuana help Parkinson’s disease?

Here, we’re taking a closer look into this exciting new relationship and the promising evidence behind it all. From what Parkinson’s is to how MMJ may help its symptoms — and even how you can get a med card for PD — Elevate Holistics is covering it all. Let’s get started. 

medical marijuana and parkinson's: hand holding pills and weed leaf

What is Parkinson’s Disease and What Causes It?

First and foremost, we must define what Parkinson’s disease is and what causes it. 

Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that works progressively to affect overall mobility and movement. For most people, Parkinson’s comes on quite gradually; you may notice just a slight tremor in your hand a time or two. However, eventually, this will start to get worse, and the symptoms may become more severe. 

While most people experience tremors, muscle stiffness and lack and mobility are often common in those with Parkinson’s. In fact, the lack of arm swaying when walking is a sign of PD, as your muscles just aren’t moving the way they used to — or should be. Other people demonstrate a lack of facial movement or even slurred speech if their Parkinson’s is more severe. It simply depends. 

What Causes Parkinson's Disease?

In terms of what causes Parkinson’s disease, doctors still aren’t entirely sure. They know that when PD occurs, the neurons in the brain break down and eventually die, leading to unhealthy brain activity. This brain activity is what causes the tremors and impaired movement of the disorder itself. However, what leads to neurons breaking down in the first place is still up in the air. Researchers currently believe that two main factors have significant responsibilities in the onset of Parkinson’s: environment and genes. 

Like many other complicated disorders, Parkinson’s may occur due to strange environmental exposure. Harmful toxins and other chemicals in the atmosphere may have some influence over your PD risk factor. Albeit, we’re not sure how much of a risk factor it is. 

On the other hand, some scientists have identified specific gene mutations in those with Parkinson’s disease. Though rare, it appears as though these mutations may also play a role in the onset of PD, but we still need more evidence to draw concrete conclusions. 

How Marijuana Can Treat Symptoms

As we mentioned, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do things to lessen its symptoms. Through extensive research and ongoing clinical trials, it appears that medical marijuana and Parkinson’s disease may demonstrate a positive relationship for patients. Here’s what we know about how marijuana can help treat PD symptoms. 

Reduces Tremors

Various people have found relief in medical marijuana from their Parkinson’s symptoms due to MMJ’s tremor-reducing properties. When consumed, it appears as though cannabis’s cannabinoids produce neuroprotective properties that activate specific cells in the brain and spinal cord. These cells — called astrocytes — have substances they release that help reduce overall nerve activity and calm tremors. 

Those with Parkinson’s disease frequently deal with unwanted shaking that makes it difficult to accomplish daily tasks. Thus, the ability to puff on some cannabis and almost instantly reduce some of this shakiness can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Of course, MMJ won’t completely rid you of your tremors, but people report seeing seriously reduced activity. This is the case for those with seizures and traumatic brain injuries, as well.  

Restores Balance

Medical marijuana is known for restoring internal balance in the body for those who consume it. But, for those with Parkinson’s, the plant may be beneficial for physical balance as well. 

When you enjoy cannabis, the cannabinoids work alongside your body’s endocannabinoid system to help your biological functions work as flawlessly as possible. This teamwork, over time, can help your body reach a state of homeostasis where everything is aligned and happy. When this occurs, your body can regulate pain better, your hormones are in check, and even sleeping becomes more effortless. For those with Parkinson’s, giving your body this kind of support can do wonders. 

THC has been shown to help improve motor systems, particularly hand-eye coordination, in terms of physical balance. Though researchers conducted these as animal studies, it’s led researchers to start looking into its ability to work for humans, too. And, many patients with PD have found that MMJ does help them feel more balanced and in control on a daily basis. However, we still need more evidence here. 

Regulates Pain

One of the most well-known effects of medical marijuana for Parkinson’s disease is its ability to regulate pain. Those with Parkinson’s are often left with painful, stiff muscles and joints that make movement so much harder than it used to be. Thankfully, medical marijuana may work to reduce any excess inflammation your body is producing to lower these levels. 

Along with this, THC and other CB1-binding cannabinoids may work to modulate your body’s pain perception, reducing extreme responses. When you pair this alongside your regular treatment plan — with a doctor’s approval — you’ll likely find yourself feeling a lot more comfortable. 

Assists With Sleep

When your body aches and shakes for no reason, getting a good night’s rest isn’t easy. Thankfully, medical marijuana can help with this immensely. Many people turn to cannabis for its relaxing, sedative properties — especially for bedtime. This is because marijuana’s anti-inflammatory characteristics reduce deep muscle pains while the cannabinoids work to calm overactive senses. The combination tends to create a relaxed, soothed body with lessened tremors and enhanced comfort.  

In terms of cannabis and Parkinson’s for sleep symptoms, you’re going to want to try indica strains. We’ll get more into that in a moment, but these are the strains with more sedative, relaxing properties that are ideal for drifting off to sleep.

What Strain is Best for Parkinson’s Disease?

Any strain that helps calm the mind and body is excellent for Parkinson’s disease. However, you always want to keep in mind your individual symptoms. Does your PD often cause depression or depressive thoughts? Then, turning towards a more uplifting, stimulating strain may be best to get a smile on your face. On the flip side, if you have anxiety about your Parkinson’s and just want to decompress, sticking with a sedative strain is ideal. 

In general, many people claim Gorilla Glue to be one of the best strains out there for Parkinson’s disease. GG is a hybrid strain that produces a perfect balance of euphoria and relaxation, making it ideal for PD patients. As your muscles relax and begin to calm, the strain lifts your mind into a place of happiness, comfort, and some strong sour scents. Plus, Gorilla Glue is incredibly popular, making it an easy strain to find at your local dispensary.  

Sativa or Indica for Medical Marijuana and Parkinson's?

Again, this is going to depend on you! Most people would say that indica strains are best for those with Parkinson’s, as they’re known for calming the body the most. However, some hybrids — and even some sativas — demonstrate strong anti-tremor properties that any PD patient would love. 

If you’ve never tried marijuana for Parkinson’s before, we’d recommend starting with an indica-dominant strain like GG, Granddaddy Purple, or Sundae Driver. These strains are all quite relaxing but also provide a good punch of giggliness, so you’re not left in a sea of laziness, either.  

medical marijuana and parkinson's

CBD Oil for Parkinson’s Disease

Here at Elevate Holistics, we understand that cannabis and Parkinson’s disease may not be for everyone. If you’re not someone who wants to get high when treating your PD, you definitely don’t have to! That’s where CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease comes into play. 

CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that produces purely therapeutic effects. The cannabinoid works wonderfully within the body — and with the ECS — to provide the body the support it needs. When you consume cannabis and feel pain relief alongside the high, you can thank CBD for the pain relief component. 

CBD oil, then, is the result of manufacturers extracting the cannabidiol oil from the plant matter itself. They infuse the oil with another carrier oil to create a concentrated, easily soluble solution. But, how does this help those with Parkinson’s?

How to Use CBD Oil For It

Using CBD oil for Parkinson’s disease is easy.  As we’ll discuss below, you can choose several different options, but it all depends on what you like most. The best way to get results is by putting a drop or two of CBD oil under your tongue and holding it there for between 20-30 seconds at a time. Then, swallow. You should begin to feel effects within a few minutes, typically 30 at the most. 

From there, the CBD makes its way throughout your body and finding the areas that need help. As it does this, you’ll likely notice reduced pain, increased comfort, lessened stress levels, a calmer mind, and more. 

Which CBD Oil is the Best for Parkinson’s?

The best CBD oil for Parkinson’s is whichever one helps you feel the best. Typically, we like to recommend full-spectrum CBD products to patients, as the minuscule amount of THC helps to active the entourage effect — a helpful phenomenon in the cannabis world. The entourage effect states that when cannabis’s components all act together, they produce better, more substantial results. Thus, full-spectrum extracts that encompass full-plant values appear to be most effective. We believe those with disorders like Parkinson’s deserve to experience the best treatment possible.

However, if you don’t want to consume any THC, that’s okay, too! Broad-spectrum extracts also produce the entourage effect, just without the presence of THC. So, while it won’t be as strong, it can still be highly effective. 

When you’re looking for the best CBD oil for your Parkinson’s disease, you want to make sure you find a brand you can trust. Always search for their third-party lab-test results to double-check legitimacy; reading reviews can also help you find the perfect company. For more information about CBD oil strength and potency, click here!

Risks of Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease

Like all medications and treatments, medical marijuana for Parkinson’s disease does come with a few risks and side effects. The potential dangers of using MMJ for PD include: 

  • Changes in mood
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired thinking 
  • Worsened memory
  • Lung irritation and coughing (if smoked)
  • Increased anxiety
  • Fatigue

If you begin to notice any of these side effects, let your doctor know and stop consuming marijuana immediately. Although life-threatening, it’s not worth it to go through added discomfort on top of your PD. 

Should I Try Medical Marijuana Treatment?

Medical marijuana and Parkinson’s disease present a promising relationship that has a lot of people interested in trying it for themselves. But, whether or not you should try medical marijuana treatment for Parkinson’s disease is entirely up to you.

In general, many people have discovered profound benefits in consuming MMJ for their PD symptoms. The all-natural aspect of medical marijuana is a breath of fresh air for those who have relied on manufactured medications all their life. Plus, the versatility of the substance makes it so people of all backgrounds and age groups can enjoy it without hassle. 

If you ask us, we’d have to say, yes! Go ahead and try medical marijuana treatment for your Parkinson’s disease — but make sure you talk to your doctor about it first. 

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card for Parkinson’s Disease

Many states across the US have legalized medical marijuana for those with qualifying conditions — Parkinson’s included. But, how do you get a medical marijuana card for Parkinson’s disease in the first place? Through places like Elevate Holistics, of course.

Elevate Holistics is a telemedicine platform that assists people like you in getting recommendations for their medical marijuana cards. Instead of traveling to some back-alley doctor’s office in hopes of maybe getting a recommendation, Elevate does everything online. You’ll meet one-on-one with a board-certified physician from the comfort of your home, and the appointments only take 30 minutes. Then, we’ll keep in contact to walk you through the rest of the MMJ cardholder process. Seriously, it really is that simple — even if you've never used a smartphone before.

At Elevate Holistics, we wholly believe in the power of holistic medicine like using medical cannabis for PD. So, whether you’re interested in medical marijuana and Parkinson’s or the relationship between MMJ and a different qualifying medical condition, we have you covered. If you’re ready to take the next step in your health and wellness journey, click the button below to make an appointment. For more information, check out our additional patient resources.

Patient Resources:

Curious about getting your medical marijuana card? Read our how-to guides in your state.

We talk about all things cannabis, MMJ, and in-between. Just head over to our blog posts.

Elevate Holisitcs is expanding! Check out Florida's MMJ card rules before we start servicing the Sunshine State.