Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease which affects about 1 million Americans each year. Parkinson’s impacts the nervous system and motor control and is characterized by the uncontrollable tremors which patients develop. The other symptoms of the condition include slurred speech, a decline in posture, slowed movements and gait, chronic pain, insomnia and depression.
Huntington’s disease is a hereditary disease which causes dementia and jerky, uncontrollable movements. It’s estimated that about 30,000 people in the United States. This disease is genetic and any child who has a parent with Huntington’s has a 50% chance of inheriting the condition. The other symptoms of Huntington’s disease include slow or uncontrolled eye movements and rigid, stiff muscles.
As there is no known cure for either of these diseases at present, patients have no choice but to find the best possible treatment option to manage their symptoms as effectively as they can. For patients of both diseases, pain medications play a large role in this treatment.
Pain medications can be effective but often cause unwanted side effects when taken in the long-term for a chronic disease such as these. Side effects can include stomach ulcers and medication overuse headaches. Many patients who suffer from these diseases are forced to look into alternative treatments as a result, and it seems that large numbers of them have turn to cannabis as a result.
There is, as of yet, no FDA approved cannabis-based treatment for either Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease. However, thousands of patients are taking advantage of the natural medicinal qualities found in the plant for the treatment of their symptoms. Research into the effects of cannabis on these symptoms and any long term side effects that it can cause is ongoing.