Medical benefits of cannabis for Parkinson’s Disease: Is it right for you?

parkinsons patient sitting with nurse

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With April around the corner, we look forward to Parkinson’s Disease awareness and all the ways the PA MMJ Program can benefit those with this condition.

Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating condition that currently affects over one million people in the U.S.. This neurodegenerative disorder causes tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.  Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, medical marijuana has shown promise as a potential treatment option.

Endocannabinoids Are Natural In The Human Body

Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds in the body that interact with the endocannabinoid system. This is a complex system of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids that are involved in regulating many physiological processes in the body, including mood, appetite, pain, and inflammation.

Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system has been implicated in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease. Some research has shown that the endocannabinoid system may play a role in modulating the release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that is depleted in Parkinson’s disease.

How Does Cannabis work to help with Parkinson’s Disease

Medical marijuana contains compounds called cannabinoids that can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are believed to be responsible for the potential benefits of medical marijuana for Parkinson’s disease.

Compounds that work:

  • THC is the compound in marijuana that is responsible for its psychoactive effects. It has been shown to have potential benefits for Parkinson’s disease, including reducing tremors and improving sleep quality.
  • CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that has been shown to have potential benefits for Parkinson’s disease. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects, which may help reduce the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Overall benefits of MMJ for patients:

Medical marijuana has been shown to have potential benefits for people with Parkinson’s disease, including:

  • Reducing tremors and muscle stiffness
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Improving mood and quality of life
  • Aiding in medication side effects such and nausea and vomiting

Reducing Tremors and Muscle Stiffness

One of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is tremors, which are involuntary muscle movements. Medical marijuana has been shown to reduce tremors and muscle stiffness in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Improving Sleep Quality

Many people with Parkinson’s disease experience sleep disturbances, such as insomnia and REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). RBD is a condition where people act out their dreams while they sleep, which can be dangerous.

Cannabis has been shown to improve sleep quality by reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and increasing the amount of time spent in deep sleep. This is particularly important for someone with this condition.

Reducing Pain and Inflammation

Pain and inflammation are another common symptom of Parkinson’s disease. CBD has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in people with a multitude of conditions, increasing quality of life.

Improving Mood and Quality of Life

Parkinson’s disease can have a significant impact on a person’s mood and quality of life. Depression, anxiety, and social isolation are common amongst many other ailments and side effects. A Pennsylvania study on demographics and quality of life show 30% of MM patients report lower anxiety.

Reducing Medication Side Effects

The medications commonly used to treat Parkinson’s disease can have significant side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. Medical cannabis is known for calming a tough belly and is used for such in many cases for many conditions.

Can a caregiver obtain medicine in the PA MMJ program?

Yes. Caregivers are able to register and care for all needs within the MMJ program alongside the patient. The appointed person would register with the Department of Health as a caregiver and become licensed through the medical marijuana certification process. The patient would also need to register with the Department of Health and become licensed through a medical marijuana doctor.

Ready to get certified?

If you or a loved one suffers from any of the PA qualifying conditions, a medical marijuana specialist can help get you registered, right over the phone, with no appointment required. Call 1-833-667-4665 or visit


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