Can marijuana slow down Parkinson’s disease?

Can marijuana slow down Parkinson’s disease?

Can marijuana slow down Parkinson’s disease?

Medical marijuana is increasing in popularity as a treatment for many conditions, including eating disorders, cancers, and pain. It is becoming legal in more and more states.

With marijuana being more widely accepted in the U.S. for medical treatment, research has also gone up.

In the United States, 50,000-60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are diagnosed each year, which adds to the one million people who already have it. While the disease itself is not fatal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks complications from Parkinson’s as the 14th leading cause of death in America.

New research from Touro College of Pharmacy in New York, NY indicates that the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in Parkinson’s. The researchers went into detail, saying that the components of this system, “are highly expressed in the neural circuit of basal ganglia, which is part of a complex neuronal system.”

When we started doing this review,” says Prof. Zvi Loewy, the lead author in the study, “the therapies out there were basically for motor symptoms, but Parkinson’s also has non-motor symptoms that greatly impact the quality of a person’s life.”

The research team dug a little deeper into the existing research involving marijuana.

They found that the chemical components in marijuana may provide benefits for Parkinson’s symptoms.

For example, Prof. Loewy noted that marijuana should be studied for pain relief in Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is caused by reduced dopamine production in the brain. Dopamine plays a key role in cognitive and psychological functions.

The researchers found that compounds in marijuana bind to dopamine receptors and reduce the effects of low dopamine levels in the brain.

Essentially, the compounds replace the normal compounds that are adversely affected by Parkinson’s,” Prof. Loewy says.

Another big finding is that marijuana may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, which may help prevent neuron damage. This may slow down Parkinson’s as well.

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REFERENCES:
1. “Marijuana: Could It Slow Parkinson’s Disease Progression?Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.
2. “Marijuana Compounds: A Nonconventional Approach to Parkinson’s Disease Therapy.” Parkinson’s Disease. Hindawi Publishing Corporation, n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.

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