Michael J Fox, the actor famous for his role in the Back to the Future movies, also is an advocate for medical cannabis. The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or MJFF for short called for the reclassification of cannabis back in July of 2016. This action came after a study conducted by the foundation showed promising benefits from cannabinoid therapy. Other famous individuals such as Charles M Schulz, Bill Connelly, Muhammad Ali, Neil Diamond, and Robin Williams all had Parkinson’s. They were among the estimated 10 million people globally who have Parkinson’s disease according to parkinsons.org.
The Science Of Cannabis For Parkinson’s
The British Journal Of Pharmacology published a study in 2011 suggesting cannabis could potentially slow down neuron damage. If this were the case, cannabinoid therapy could be promising at reducing or potentially alleviating the progression of Parkinson’s disease. An online survey was conducted questioning physicians about patients treated with the disease. 80% of physicians say patients utilize cannabis to help control or manage their symptoms.
Additionally, 95% of the neurologists who were polled in the survey also noted that patients had asked them for doctor’s recommendations for medical cannabis. Dr. Beth Vernaleo finds these results alarming. According to Dr. Vernaleo, “not only are the majority of patients using medical cannabis, but few physicians have received the training necessary to help guide their patients in its use.”
Opening Communication & Preventing Neuron Damage Is Key
The science behind cannabinoid therapy as a treatment for Parkinson’s is complex involving inflammation, neurons, and antioxidant/anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis. All of these things affect the body’s ability to produce dopamine. Cannabis may hold the potential of preventing neuron damage in the brain. Specifically, damage to neurons responsible for producing the chemical compound dopamine.
Dopamine is an essential neurotransmitter providing nerves and cells with communication. The endocannabinoid system can also help to facilitate communication between nerves and cells. It can do so by absorption of cannabinoids via cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. All of this shows that cannabis deserves attention and recognition for the potential role it could play in changing Parkinson’s disease treatment.
Dr. Beth Vernaleo was quoted saying ” Now that medical cannabis is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia, it has become clear that this is a topic the Parkinson’s Foundation needs to address to help ensure the safety of the Parkinson’s community.”
Do you or someone you know utilize cannabis to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s?