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Parkinson's Disease Marijuana Therapy

Each year, hundreds of thousands of patients in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative disease which gradually decreases the patient’s dopamine levels by destroying neurons, or nerve cells. When dopamine levels are too low, normal brain activity is disrupted, leading to symptoms which can include muscle tremors (shaking), uncomfortable muscle stiffness, and depression.

If you are an adult Florida resident who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and your current medication is not working well to relieve your symptoms, you may be a candidate for alleviating your symptoms with medical marijuana (Cannabis).

Medical studies have shown Cannabis to gently and effectively reduce pain, promote muscle relaxation, and improve mood. Incorporating Cannabis into your current treatment plan may help you to experience greater physical comfort and emotional wellness in your daily life.

To talk about how medical Cannabis can help fight the effects of Parkinson's disease in a confidential consultation, contact Dr. Marcie Merson at Palm Beach Pain Institute.

What Kind of Marijuana is Best for Parkinson's Disease?

This is another common question that patients frequently ask when they contact Palm Beach Pain Institute. The short answer is that there is no "best" strain or cultivar for alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease – but in order to understand how Cannabis does work to relieve Parkinson's, you need to understand a little basic information about the mechanism by which Cannabis acts on the human body.

Like any medication, Cannabis contains an active ingredient – or, to be more specific, about 85 active ingredients, which are called "cannabinoids." You are probably already familiar with one of these cannabinoids: THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol.

All varieties of Cannabis contain dozens of cannabinoids, which work together to produce a synergistic effect that is sometimes called the "entourage effect" While scientists aren't exactly certain which cannabinoids are responsible for which effects of marijuana, the general consensus within the medical community is that all cannabinoids – particularly THC – play their own important role.

The cannabinoids contained in marijuana quickly begin to stimulate your body's CB1 and CB2 receptors: structures which are normally stimulated by your body's own naturally occurring or "endogenous" cannabinoids. When these receptors are stimulated, the functions they regulate are temporarily altered. These functions include mood, pain perception, and muscle functions, which is why many patients report improved mood, reduced pain, and greater physical relaxation while using Cannabis therapeutically.

Such reports have been extensively documented in peer-reviewed research published in renowned medical journals. For instance, in a 2014 study published in Clinical Neuropharmacology, "Mean total score on the motor Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale…improved significantly from 33.1 (13.8) at baseline to 23.2 (10.5) after [C]annabis consumption," while additionally, "Analysis of specific motor symptoms revealed significant improvement" in tremors, muscle rigidity, and bradykinesia (slowed movements).

To provide another example, the peer-reviewed medical journal Movement Disorders published research in 2015 citing a Czech study in which 46% of Parkinson's patients who used Cannabis "described some benefit."  Specifically, "31% reported improvement of rest tremor, 45% of bradykinesia, and 14% of LID (Levodopa-induced dyskinesia)."

Additionally, a 2015 study published in the peer-reviewed Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal noted that, among all forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), Cannabis "ranked among the most effective CAM therapies." Of nine responders, "Five reported 'great improvement' in their symptoms with [C]annabis. In particular, five reported improvement in their mood and sleep, and two reported improvement in their motor symptoms and quality of life. No one reported worsening of symptoms or side effects."

Florida Medical Marijuana Physician in Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach

Unlike traditional pharmacies, which are staffed by pharmacists, marijuana dispensaries are generally staffed by salespeople who, while well-intended, lack the medical knowledge to safely advise patients on the selection and use of their medication. When patients have questions about how to use their medication, how often to use their medication, or what sort of dose is appropriate, dispensaries inevitably fail to supply scientifically-valid guidance, meaning patients are left in the dark without any sort of meaningful medical supervision.

Dr. Merson strives to ensure that a greater number of patients receive medically sound guidance and supervision for the use of medical marijuana to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and other disabling conditions. Dr. Merson is uniquely qualified to serve patients as one of the few certified medical marijuana doctors in the state of Florida.

To speak confidentially with Dr. Merson about treating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease with medical Cannabis, contact Palm Beach Pain Institute at 1-561-499-7020. There is no such thing as a "bad" question when it comes to your health, so please do not hesitate to call us with any questions you have.