As research continues into the potential benefits of medical marijuana – a broad term that refers not only to the plant itself, but also to various components that can be isolated and extracted from it – additional applications are constantly being suggested by users at large. However, because most of these applications are solely supported by anecdotes, rather than objective scientific evidence, it can be difficult to develop a treatment plan for some conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, that includes medical marijuana.
Studies are continuously being conducted, however, and more evidence is uncovered all the time. A medical professional with a specialization in marijuana can tell you more about how it may be able to help with your condition. Keep reading to learn more about medical marijuana and Parkinson’s disease.
What is Medical Marijuana Used to Treat?
Though the evidence regarding many applications may be scarce, some treatments have a clearly established body of evidence supporting their use. In January 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a comprehensive report on contemporary marijuana research that laid out the available support for common treatments. Three uses in particular have what the authors referred to as “conclusive or substantial evidence:”
- The treatment of chronic pain has long been recognized as a chief use for medical marijuana.
- Relief for chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting is another widely accepted medical use for marijuana.
- Treating spasticity symptoms related to multiple sclerosis is the third use that boasts strong supporting evidence.
While these uses – treating pain, nausea, and spasticity – feature the strongest evidence, they are by no means the only treatments that utilize cannabis. A long list of conditions can also be treated with varying degrees of success. Some common examples include improving quality of sleep, increasing appetite, and treating the symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Can Medical Marijuana Help Patients with Parkinson’s Disease?
Clinical trials have yet to show compelling results regarding treating the primary features of Parkinson’s disease like tremor and bradykinesia with cannabis or its derivatives. However, some have found success mitigating some of the secondary symptoms of the condition, in particular – insomnia and anxiety. Treating these issues can nevertheless improve quality of life for many.
Tremors are one of the most recognizable signs of Parkinson’s disease, but they can be very difficult to treat. Common methods include a variety of drugs that are often repurposed to limited effect:
- Beta blockers, which normally treat high blood pressure, can sometimes cause heart problems
- Anti-seizure drugs, which normally treat epilepsy
- Tranquilizers, which normally treat tension or anxiety and come with a risk of dependency
- Botox injections can treat some kinds of tremors for a limited period of time
All of these medications come with their share of drawbacks, and while some patients may find success, many are left without an effective solution for tremors. Medical marijuana has shown some promise, but overall it offers only narrow benefits; less than half of those who try cannabis to treat tremors see an improvement. A study is currently underway at the University of Colorado aimed at learning more about how medical marijuana can help with tremors related to Parkinson’s.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Massachusetts
Although there may not be overwhelming clinical support for cannabis as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, some patients have nevertheless found relief through medical marijuana. Perhaps for that reason, many states, including Massachusetts, consider Parkinson’s a “debilitating condition,” for which cannabis is considered an appropriate treatment.
Finding a physician who can treat Parkinson’s with cannabis requires understanding that there is more to the treatment than just simply smoking marijuana. Look for a clinician with a long history of caring for patients using cannabis, and who will take the time to advise you carefully and properly. Cannabis is like any other medication in that it has risks and benefits, and must be used properly to achieve the expected result.
Turn to the Massachusetts Experts in Medical Marijuana Treatments
With so much still unknown about the benefits of cannabis, a specialist in medical marijuana is your best source of information on how it can help you manage Parkinson’s disease or other debilitating conditions. Boston medical marijuana doctor Jordan Tishler is a Harvard-trained medical expert and stands ready to help you determine if marijuana may be the right medication for you. To learn more, contact the team at InhaleMD by calling (617) 477-8886 today.