The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a bodily system that regulates bodily homeostasis is activated by three different types of cannabinoids. The most well-known cannabinoids are phytocannabinoids (plant cannabinoids). Phytocannabinoids, like Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), are chemical compounds extracted from the cannabis plant.
The ECS is activated by our own naturally produced cannabinoids as well. These are called endocannabinoids (internal cannabinoids). As of 2004, two endocannabinoids had been isolated. These endocannabinoids were anandamide (AEA) and arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG). They are like our own self-made THC.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.
Lastly, there are synthetic cannabinoids which are chemically engineered to mimic the effects of natural plant or internal cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids come in oral capsules, sprays, or transdermal patches. Given the range of conditions cannabinoids can treat, different patients require different methods. The study was published in 2004. As of then, only two types of cannabinoid receptors had been isolated. They primary receptors were identified as CB1 and CB2.
Research into how cannabinoids can treat Parkinson’s is driven by the knowledge that there is extensive representation of the ECS in the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is subcortical nuclei in the brain. In PD patients, these circuits are functionally changed.
The highest density of CB1 receptors in the body is located in the globus pallidus and substantia nigra pars reticulata. The globus pallidus is a subcortical part of the brain. It is a cluster of neurons that are part of the basal ganglia. It plays a critical role in body movement. The pars reticulata is part of the substantia nigra and is a key processing center in the basal ganglia.
85 patients reported cannabis use. Most said they orally ingest about half a teaspoon of fresh or dried leaves, usually with meals and often once a day. Age and duration of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) were fairly similar between subgroups of patients, separated as cannabis users and non-users (meaning never used cannabis).
Patients largely said they wanted to try cannabis due to information they saw in the media. Before using it to alleviate their symptoms in this study, zero patients had previous recreational or medicinal use of cannabis. None of the patients had been previously told to use cannabis by their doctor. All of the patients continued to use their conventional antiparkinsonian medicine, prescribed by their individual neurologists, during the study.
Of the 85 patients, 39 described mild or substantial general alleviation from their Parkinson’s symptoms. 26 reported improvement of rest tremor. 38 reported alleviation of bradykinesia. Bradykinesia is medical term for slowness of movement. It is one of the main symptoms of PD. 32 experienced alleviation of muscle rigidity. 12 saw improvement of L-dopa-induced dyskinesias.
Dyskinesia is the medical term for abnormal or impaired movement. L-dopa-induced dyskinesia is a type of dyskinesia that’s a side effect of levodopa. Levodopa is one of the primary drugs used to treat Parkinson’s Disease. Only a small total of 4 patients said cannabis actually worsened their symptoms.
If you’re interested in using medical cannabis for your Parkinson’s symptoms, you will require a doctor’s prescription. You should consult your doctor on possible treatments. To assure you do not conspire in illegal activity, if you are interested in medical cannabis, check your pertaining medical cannabis state or national laws.