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Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

Parkinson’s disease patients may choose to treat their symptoms using medical marijuana. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an incurable nervous system disorder affecting movement that gradually develops with symptoms that worsen over time. When someone is diagnosed with PD, their brain’s nerve cells have been damaged to the point where their dopamine levels drop significantly, leading to the beginning of Parkinson’s symptoms. 

Usually, a person with Parkinson’s disease will start to see symptoms appear only on one side of their body and begin to experience tremors in their hands. Symptoms can vary for individuals, and can include any of the following: tremors, slowed movement or bradykinesia, posture and balance problems, speech and writing changes, rigid muscles, and no automatic movement. 

While Parkinson’s has no cure at this time, there are medications that PD patients can take to ease some symptoms. Some patients with PD have opted to medicate with both typical over-the-counter prescriptions for Parkinson’s from their provider as well as using medical cannabis. 

For those with Parkinson’s, medical marijuana can improve anxiety, insomnia, nausea, weight loss, and pain management. Studies have shown that medical cannabis for Parkinson’s patients can improve their associated motor symptoms, including bradykinesia, rapid eye movement, tremors, posture, and rigidity. PD patients also noticed non-motor symptoms improving with the use of medical marijuana. These symptoms include memory, depression, anxiety, pain, sleep, and fatigue. In some cases, research shows using medical cannabis may delay the onset of PD symptoms. For individuals with Parkinson’s, medical cannabis use can improve the overall quality of a patient’s life.

In Illinois, it is legal to medicate with marijuana for Parkinson’s disease. As a qualifying medical condition, Parkinson’s patients can apply for a medical marijuana card to purchase cannabis from a licensed Illinois medical marijuana dispensary. 

**This information about marijuana for PD should not replace professional medical advice. Please consult your physician before using medical cannabis for Parkinson’s disease. 

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