Medical marijuana next to a prescription.

Does Marijuana for Parkinson’s Work?

Parkinson's disease is a neurological condition that's more than just challenging to deal with; and since we don't have a cure for it yet,
Medical marijuana next to a prescription.

Parkinson's disease is a neurological condition that's more than just challenging to deal with; and since we don't have a cure for it yet, patients and medical professionals alike are always looking for new treatment options for Parkinson's, especially natural treatments that don't involve chemicals or surgery. In this quest to find the perfect natural alternative, marijuana, particularly its active compounds like THC and CBD, stands out the most. While research on marijuana and Parkinson's is ongoing and the legal landscape varies widely, marijuana for Parkinson's seems to be a popular treatment option. Let's take a closer look at how cannabis and Parkinson's interact.

What does Marijuana do for Parkinson's?

Known for its soothing qualities, some patients prefer using marijuana for Parkinson's symptoms over using other forms of drugs and medications, but why? Let’s take a quick look at how cannabis and Parkinson's work.


Motor Symptoms:

  • Tremors: The characteristic shaking of limbs or other body parts, known as tremors, is a hallmark symptom of Parkinson's disease. The principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, interacts with the brain's endocannabinoid system. This system controls several physiological functions, such as motor control. Research indicates that using marijuana for Parkinson's disease may lessen tremors by influencing neurotransmitter release and neuronal activity in the basal ganglia, a part of the brain related to motor function. However, we need to point out that although the use of marijuana for Parkinson's does work for some people, it doesn't work for everyone because the results tend to vary between individuals.

  • Bradykinesia and Rigidity: Parkinson's disease is known to frequently cause stiffness, resistance to motor control, and slowness of movement. So, in this instance, does marijuana help Parkinson's? Given their muscle-relaxing qualities, THC and CBD may be able to reduce stiffness and enhance the fluidity of movement. These substances lessen muscular tone and stiffness by attaching to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and peripheral nervous system. In certain situations, marijuana and Parkinson's disease are a great combination because of this impact, which may be especially helpful when traditional Parkinson's treatments are unable to sufficiently manage these symptoms anymore.
  • Non-Motor Symptoms:

  • Pain: Many people with Parkinson's disease have chronic pain, which may be brought on by neuropathic reasons, muscular rigidity, or involuntary spasms of the muscles. It is well known that the cannabinoids CBD and THC can reduce pain. While CBD affects the body through a variety of mechanisms, including neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory pathways, THC regulates pain perception by binding to the cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system. When used for pain relief, marijuana may improve Parkinson's disease patients' overall quality of life and reduce the need for opioid-based painkillers, which can have negative side effects.

  • Sleep Disturbances: Parkinson's disease is known to frequently interfere with sleep cycles, leaving patients with insomnia or fragmented sleep. Fortunately, THC and CBD have both demonstrated the potential to enhance Parkinson's patients' quality of sleep. THC may help people sleep by shortening the time it takes to fall asleep and lengthening the duration of sleep. Conversely, CBD may help with insomnia by lowering anxiety and encouraging relaxation without having the same euphoric effects as THC. Using marijuana for Parkinson's can help patients sleep better, which in turn can improve their mood, their day-to-day functioning, and their general well-being.

  • Depression and Anxiety: Parkinson's disease patients frequently experience mood disorders like depression and anxiety because of the neurochemical changes the disease causes, and the strain of dealing with a long-term medical condition. In this environment, research on marijuana and Parkinson's disease can still yield fruitful outcomes. For instance, by affecting the brain's serotonin receptors, which control mood and emotions, CBD has shown anxiolytic effects. It might lessen anxiety and depressive symptoms without having the drowsy side effects of conventional antidepressants. However, THC can cause paranoia or worsen anxiety in sensitive people or in higher dosages, which emphasizes the need for individualized dosing and supervision.

    Medical marijuana in a yellow bottle.

    Neuroprotective Effects:

  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: By causing damage to brain neurons, chronic neuroinflammation accelerates the development of Parkinson's disease. Thankfully, THC and CBD both have anti-inflammatory qualities that may slow down this process, which makes taking marijuana for Parkinson's disease beneficial in this situation. THC suppresses pro-inflammatory signaling pathways by acting on cannabinoid receptors, whereas CBD modifies immunological responses and lowers the generation of cytokines linked to inflammation. Marijuana substances have the ability to reduce neuroinflammation, which may slow down the progression of Parkinson's disease and protect neuronal function in patients.

  • Antioxidant Effects: The neurodegeneration seen in Parkinson's disease is largely due to oxidative stress, which is brought on by an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body. The strong antioxidant qualities of CBD may shield neurons from oxidative stress. It scavenges free radicals and increases the activity of antioxidant enzymes found in the body, including catalase and superoxide dismutase. Parkinson's marijuana may help protect dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra, a part of the brain important for motor function that is impaired in Parkinson's disease, by lowering oxidative stress.

    What are the Potential Concerns and Considerations of Using Marijuana for Parkinson’s?

    Side Effects: Marijuana has many known positive effects, however, some people might experience dry mouth, vertigo, or even cognitive impairment. If you don't tolerate marijuana well, it's important to consider supervision and cautious dosage.

    Drug Interactions: Other drugs, particularly ones that are frequently used for Parkinson's disease, may interact with marijuana. To handle any possible interactions, patients should speak with their healthcare providers first, before deciding on trying marijuana for Parkinson's.

    Legal and Access Issues: State and national laws regarding marijuana usage differ greatly, which affects availability for people who prefer this type of treatment.

    SteadiWear’s Alternative Parkinson’s Tremor Solution:

    Our dedicated staff at Steadiwear works hard to provide Parkinson's patients all around the world with tools that will enable them to better control and manage their Parkinson's symptoms and live more comfortable lives. That’s why, we offer them our Steadi-Two glove.

    Our Steadi-Two glove is a very practical way to manage your Parkinson's symptoms and help you regain control over your body, which significantly improves your quality of life. It is lightweight, battery-free, and simple to use. With our glove, daily tasks won’t be a challenge for you anymore.

    Medical marijuana scattered around a yellow bottle.


    In Conclusion:

    In summary, although marijuana exhibits promise as a treatment option for reducing symptoms and perhaps having neuroprotective effects for Parkinson's disease patients, there are still a lot of unanswered questions and issues with regulations that need to be resolved. To completely comprehend marijuana's significance in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, more research and cooperative efforts are required. However, if you're considering this type of treatment, you can still consult with your doctor, as it may work for you.


    Parkinson's disease is characterized by a substantial reduction in dopamine, a neurotransmitter essential for motor function. THC and other marijuana components interact with brain cannabinoid receptors, which may have an indirect effect on dopamine levels. Although research on THC's specific effects on dopamine in Parkinson's disease is ongoing, some findings indicate that marijuana may modify dopamine release and activity, which may have an impact on motor symptoms.

    One common side effect of long-term usage of Parkinson's drugs, such as levodopa, is involuntary movements. According to some research, marijuana—and CBD in particular—may have anticholinergic properties that could lessen this side effect by influencing the neurotransmitter systems related to motor function. However, to validate these benefits and create the best possible treatment plans for each and every patient, more study is yet necessary.

    Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are swiftly absorbed into the bloodstream when smoking or vaping marijuana for Parkinson's disease, leading to immediate symptom relief. Oral cannabinoids, on the other hand, such as oils and capsules, are absorbed more gradually through the digestive tract, which may lead to a later onset of effects but possibly longer-lasting relief. When selecting an administration method, one should take local legal requirements, medical supervision, and personal preferences into account.

    Chronic marijuana usage, particularly with high-THC strains, can cause tolerance, requiring greater doses to produce the same benefits. Excessive, prolonged use can also lead to dependence, which is characterized by withdrawal signs when stopping. Patients who are thinking about using marijuana for managing their Parkinson's disease symptoms should talk to their doctors about the possible dangers involved and take the drug safely while under medical supervision.

    When having this conversation, medical professionals take into account each patient's unique needs, medical background, degree of symptoms, and reaction to prescribed therapies. They assist patients in navigating regional laws and offer information on possible advantages, hazards, and legal issues. Providers may also suggest seeking expert advice or taking part in clinical trials to fully investigate marijuana's therapeutic potential for Parkinson's disease.

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