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As a chronic neurodegenerative brain disorder, Parkinson’s disease (PD) slowly progresses in most people and symptoms take years to develop. It causes the brain to gradually stop producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gives people the ability to control their movements, body, and emotions. Although it is unclear how Parkinson’s is caused, many experts attribute it to a combination of genetic and environmental factors depending on the individual.
It is diagnosed through neurological history as there are no standard tests for Parkinson’s. Inability to rise from the chair easily, walk normally, regain balance, and stiffness in limbs or neck may be indications of Parkinson’s.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s include resting tremors (trembling of muscles when it appears relaxed), Bradykinesia (abnormal stillness), rigidity (stiffness and inflexibility of muscles), and postural instability (unstable when standing upright). Non-motor symptoms can include mood disorders, sleep disorders, and constipation.
As there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, it is treated with medication or therapy to regain mobility and speech. Patients are often dissatisfied with the side effects of traditional medicine, so they turn to medical cannabis as an alternative.
It is found that Parkinson’s patients have less CB1 receptors in their brains, and the CBD found in medical cannabis works as an agonist to bind and activate the receptor. It is also suggested that CBD eliminates a neurotoxin thought to be the cause of PD, increases neuritogenesis, , and prevents brain cell death. This helps to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s, and it has been proven to dramatically reduce tremors in some patients. Medical marijuana may also help patients with their insomnia, weight loss, depression, and anxiety.