The Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Patients Suffering from Parkinson’s Disease

The legalization of marijuana has been a controversial topic for decades, however, in recent years, we have witnessed some significant changes when it comes to this matter. Cannabis has been legalized for medicinal use in most U.S. states, and last year, British MPs have started considering doing the same.

A number of users are coming forward as well, voicing support for the measure; last year, 55-year old Ian Frizell who suffers from Parkinson’s disease filmed a viral YouTube video demonstrating the positive effects of cannabis. He managed to present us with hard evidence of how a small dosage of cannabis has quick and positive effects on his condition.

The Science Behind Cannabis

The endocannabinoid system located in our brain is made up of cannabinoid receptors linked to the brain cells which regulate thinking and certain body functions. There are researchers who believe cannabis might be neuroprotective, meaning it could save neurons from damage caused by PD. According to experts from GoShango, the Indica strain is effective in the treatment of muscle spasms, chronic pain, and tremors, which makes it one of the possible solutions for the treatment of diseases which cause such side effects.

The Pharmacology of Medical Marijuana

Cannabis contains more than 100 neuroactive chemicals which work with two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1, located in the brain, and CB2, located in the peripheral immune system. As patients suffering from Parkinson’s have less CB1 receptors, marijuana can provide them with a much-needed boost.

Published Research

If we take into consideration a 2004 study by The Movement Disorders Journal, more than 45% of Parkinson’s patients showed substantial alleviation of all their PD symptoms owing to the use of cannabis; more than 30% showed fewer tremors, and 44% improvement in bradykinesia (slowness of movement). Furthermore, those who continued using medical marijuana for 3 months after a study showed alleviation of most of the symptoms.

After this, more and more researchers started showing enthusiasm for medical marijuana research in relation to Parkinson’s, however, they advise patients to use it with caution. Even though by now marijuana proved to be extremely beneficial in the treatment of pain management, nausea, weight loss and sleep dysfunction, chronic use can increase the risk of mood disorders and a slightly impaired cognition, making patients unable to make plans.

Northwestern University partnered with NPF to study cannabis attributes at 40 NPF Centers of Excellence to prove the benefits of medical marijuana for PD patients. Physicians reported 80% of patients using cannabis, and as much as 95% of neurologists say patients have asked for a prescription. Taking all of this into consideration, it is evident many Parkinson’s disease patients have felt a positive effect on their symptoms and an overall improvement in their physical state.


With cannabinoid receptors in the brain’s basal ganglia, it’s no wonder medical marijuana has such positive effects on patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. If you’re looking to test the benefits of marijuana use yourself, bear in mind it should under no circumstances become a replacement for dopaminergic and other approved therapies. Researchers are yet to discover the long-term effects on PD, thus always consult with your physician to determine whether it is the right option for you.

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