5 Benefits of Using Medical Marijuana for Parkinson's Disease

December 28, 2023

Parkinson's disease is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system of the body, causing stiffness and reduced cognition development. The condition progresses over time and causes tremors, motion, and speech impairment in severe cases.

Parkinson's disease has been among the most challenging diseases for treatment. There is a mixture of motor and non-motor symptoms that affect day-to-day lives significantly. Most of the existing medications only act as a way of controlling the symptoms, whereas a permanent solution to treat the problem is yet to reach us. This uncertainty stands as a primary reason behind why people from across the world suffering from this disease are showing interest in the area of medical Marijuana.

Cannabis and Parkinson's disease

  • It binds with the endocannabinoid receptors enabling natural healing: The endocannabinoid system in the brain is made up of cannabinoid receptors. While the body naturally produces cannabinoids to carry out various functions, introducing a phytocannabinoid can increase the speed and efficiency of the natural functions of this system. A compound called CBD present in Cannabis is a Phytocannabinoid, and thus it helps enhance healing effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid system of the body.

  • Cannabis has neuroprotective properties: Cannabinoids are under study for their neuroprotective properties. Unlike the common idea that marijuana causes damage to brain cells, which was persistent for many years, researchers have proven that Cannabis, in fact, protects the brain cells from inappropriate cell death.

THC and CBD in combination help reduce cell deaths caused due to the presence of excess iron in the body. This is favorable for patients suffering from Parkinson's disease, who report experiencing a lower frequency of tremors after using Cannabis. A study is currently in progress to prove the tolerability as well as the efficacy of cannabidiol for tremors in Parkinson's disease. Another study suggests that Cannabis could potentially help treat neurodegenerative diseases as well.

  • It can control the symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease: Cannabinoids are the subject of study to understand their effect on the various symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as bradykinesia, which is the slowness observed in patients with the disease, or Dyskinesia, which is excess movement. A noteworthy study involved a randomized placebo-controlled trial, where the subjects were given capsules with nabilone, which improved dyskinesia in 7 people. While there is no strong clinical evidence to back its effectiveness, certain users share their experience of improvement in these symptoms after using Cannabis.

  • It can help with secondary symptoms of the disease: Anxiety, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, mood swings, pain, etc., are secondary symptoms observed in patients suffering from Parkinson's disease. A study involved 13 patients with a UPDRS score of 2 or above. The patients underwent a 31-day treatment of varying dosages of 5, 7.5, 10, 15, and 20 mg/kg/day of Cannabidiols, with the highest dosages directed towards the last few days. 7 out of the group completed the test successfully and showed improved motor skills as well as a decreased UPDRS score, thus pointing out the efficiency of Cannabis in treating secondary effects. The substance has anti-inflammatory properties and interacts with the receptors to relax and calm the body and mind. It helps relieve pain even in chronic cases and is especially effective for treating anxiety without side effects.

  • The right dosages and strains will reduce side effects: The use of Cannabis is all about finding the right dosages. There are no clinically approved dosage levels yet that can be prescribed for the condition. But the CBD or cannabidiol component plays an important role in relieving the symptoms, and hence the use of strains higher in CBD concentration would be the right way to go about it. This will also keep any psychoactive effects away from the body and treat the symptoms associated with the disease effectively. Start with mild doses of 2-3 mg/day and observe the effects it has before you increase. 

How to use Cannabis to treat Parkinson Disease

Using medical cannabis to treat Parkinson's Disease offers flexibility in consumption methods. Patients have options like oils, edibles, teas, waxes, extracts, topicals, and pills, allowing them to choose the most suitable form for their needs. In legalized states, medical cannabis is available at dispensaries, where patients can access these products.

To get started, consult your doctor and request an application for a medical marijuana card. This card grants legal access to medical cannabis, opening up a range of therapeutic possibilities for managing Parkinson's symptoms. Whether it's the convenience of oils or the subtlety of edibles, the versatility of medical cannabis empowers patients to tailor their treatment approach for the best results.

Understand the risks

-Parkinson's disease has been a sensitive area for research with medical cannabis. The reason behind the same is that impairment in decision-making and planning is common among patients suffering from the disease. Given this condition harms the executive functions of the brain, researchers find using cannabis, which has psychoactive properties, to be a risk. Additionally, since the strains of marijuana and quality cannot be consistent, the effects may not be the same for everyone. Some people share that they had bad episodes of hallucinations, dizziness, and nausea after using cannabis, which are possible side effects of this therapy.

Another issue that is slowly getting solved is the fact that much of the conclusions available so far are based on self-reporting, which is not the case with common pills. Currently, there are various methods for monitoring and determining the right dosages based on observed effects for these pills, whereas the same cannot be applicable for medical marijuana.

Hence, understanding the potency of cannabis as a therapy is tricky compared to existing medications. The efficiency of the treatment on motor and non-motor skills is also yet to be analyzed, as so far the studies have shared mixed reviews regarding the same. Some studies also show evidence that cannabis can be used to improve mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. 


The current trend of legalization in certain states has brought about a significant shift in the landscape of Parkinson's disease treatment. As a condition with no known cure and existing medications primarily aimed at symptom management, the emergence of medical marijuana as a potential therapeutic option is a ray of hope for both patients and the healthcare industry.

Legalization has created a conducive environment for rigorous research and clinical trials focused on exploring cannabis's efficacy in managing Parkinson's disease symptoms. This opens up unprecedented opportunities for scientists and healthcare professionals to delve deeper into the potential benefits of medical marijuana.

The prospect of medical marijuana as a treatment option gains substantial credibility from the robust clinical evidence already available, demonstrating its effectiveness in alleviating various symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease. If ongoing research continues to reinforce these findings and solidify the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana, it could herald a long-awaited breakthrough in the field of Parkinson's treatment.

Ultimately, the evolving landscape of medical marijuana research offers renewed hope for individuals living with Parkinson's disease, potentially providing a new avenue for managing their condition and improving their quality of life.

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