by Dr. Nicola Davies
This article was first published by THC Magazine.
Medical marijuana may provide relief for patients with Parkinson’s disease, an ailment which has no known cure. Several pharmaceutical drugs have been manufactured to manage the symptoms, but as with most medications, the side effects can be very severe. However, marijuana is a safe alternative to pharmaceuticals, and it has been shown to be a powerful way to control Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a serious neurological condition that impairs your ability to walk comfortably, make movements, and coordinate effectively. Almost one million Americans are victims of this disease.
Parkinson’s disease occurs when the brain slowly stops generating a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which normally assists in the transmission of signals to the section of the brain that controls movement. The disease affects these nerve cells and, with insufficient production of dopamine, the patient has reduced ability to regulate his or her movements, body, and emotions.
Although the disease itself is not fatal, complications arising from it are very dangerous. In fact, the Center for Disease Control classed complications from Parkinson’s disease as the 14th main cause of fatalities in the U.S. Since the disease affects the body progressively, it becomes worse over time across several years. Most patients’ symptoms take several years to become noticeable.
The key symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:
- Tremor, which makes the hands, arms or legs experience shaking or trembling.
- Stiff muscles or rigidity of the muscles.
- Muscle movements or dyskinesia.
- Difficulties in balancing or walking.
Tremor is the initial as well as the most common symptom of the Parkinson’s disease. However, not everyone suffering from the disease will exhibit it. Tremor usually begins in one of the limbs. It may also start being felt in one side of the body. Eventually, the disease will start affecting muscles found throughout the body. This may result in various problems such as difficulties with swallowing food or constipation.
When the Parkinson’s disease has fully developed, a patient may experience a fixed or blank expression, difficulties in speech, and other problems. Some patients also experience a reduction in their cognitive abilities. Parkinson’s symptoms normally begin to be seen when patients are between 50 and 60 years old. However, at times, the symptoms start appearing earlier.