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Cannabis benefits Parkinson's disease patients

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Cannabis has formed a common part of natural medicine for millennia. After decades of restrictions, it returns to the scene as an effective aid to relieve symptoms of diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. In this case, we focus on studies investigating the treatment of symptoms related to the latter.

Parkinson’s disease, the neurodegenerative disease named after James Parkinson, first described in 1817, affects the majority of its sufferers after the age of 50. The disease is linked to the death of brain cells in the mid brain which results in insufficient production of dopamine, and as such a break down in the central nervous system. Visible manifestations include resting trembling, slow motion, or impaired coordination of movement. The illness is also accompanied by chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances and depression.

Between 2011 and 2012, Israeli scientists examined a group of patients suffering from Parkinson's disease.

The patients were prescribed cannabis and, 30 minutes after ingestion, the values of movement on the UPDRS (Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale) scale were evaluated. Not only was the reduction in values significant, but patients also claimed to be sleeping better and reported less pain. [1] Other Israeli research has shown relief from the problems associated with Parkinson's disease, such as depression, pain, shivering and muscle stiffness. [2]

Colorado researchers in the United States have conducted extensive internet research among patients with Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. Over 40% of nearly 600 respondents used cannabis. After their use began, there were many changes in their illness: they reported having to take less medicine, and found their moods significantly improved, along with positive effects on memory and fatigue. [3]

While studies show that the impact of cannabis on Parkinson's disease is positive, research is still lacking. The results of such studies do, however, bring promise for the future.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24614667
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29059132
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28735833

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