Cannabis x Parkinson's

Just finished my monthly consult with my sweet client, a 77-year-old Grandpa living with mid-stage Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

PD afflicts over 60,000 Americans and is a degenerative, central nervous system disorder impacting motor control and typically occurs in folks over 60. There is no agreed upon cause nor cure for PD, unfortunately. The symptoms, which as a group are sometimes referred to as “Parkinsonism”, generally appear slowly, at first the most obvious are physical: slowed movement, shakiness, walking and speaking problems. Also, behavioral & thought problems like Dementia are common as PD advances; and emotional imbalances like depression and anxiety are common in more than 30% of folks with PD at every stage of the disease. PD sufferers may experience sleep problems, as well.

About my client’s symptoms: a profound tremor in his tongue & jaw robbing him of his speech, depression and anxiety, painful muscle spasms & rigidity, extremely disturbed sleep patterns with night terrors and sleepwalking, and low energy.

And those aren’t even the side effects of his prescription! Carbidopa/levodopa is a commonly prescribed Parkinson’s drug combo; some of the side effects include nausea, dry mouth, loss of appetite, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation; headache, dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision; stuffy nose/cold symptoms; insomnia; muscle pain, and what my client experienced most: severe, painful facial spasms that would last HOURS. The worst part for my client? The drugs weren’t helping. In fact, the side effects of the CL were so much more excruciating than the illness, he stopped taking them all together (under the care of his doctor).

Since PD is a neurological disorder wherein dopamine producing cells die off, meds prescribed to mitigate it usually involve a #DopamineAgonist, or a compound that encourages dopamine production. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a dopamine agonist and THC is, too! Per @ProjectCBD (check them out, btw), “By acting as an “inverse agonist” at the GPR6 receptor, CBD boosts dopamine levels in preclinical studies.” THC, as well, increases dopamine in the brain; Cannabinoids don’t actually connect with dopamine neurons but activate the endocannabinoid system instead. Cannabinoid membrane receptors are all over the body including parts of the brain where dopamine neurons also live. Interestingly, dopamine neurons themselves don’t have any cannabinoid receptors. What happens in PD is that dopamine neurons in the reward pathway are inhibited, or blocked, by GABA neurons which *do* have cannabinoid receptors. THC plugs into the CB1 receptors on the GABA neurons, which inactivates the neurons, unblocking the neural pathway allowing dopamine neurons to be more active, enabling the flow of dopamine to disrupt the symptoms of PD.

Here’s what Pops has been doing for the last six months and how it has impacted his life. Remember that everyone is different, but his is a great testimony for therapeutic cannabis use. Papa tells me he medicates all day in this way, sometimes adding extracts to food but usually taking them sublingually (under the tongue):

•Stanley Bros CBD:THC 1:1 CANNABIS Extract x 1.5 dose Twice Daily

•CW Everyday Advanced HEMP extract, x 2 doses Twice Daily

•25-30 mg vaporized THC Flower (Chemdawg) as needed, usually in the evening

Why Chemdawg? It’s a common cultivar to find, has high THC content, and the right terpene profile to treat pain and spasms. But, if you can’t find it specifically, have no fear - look for flower w/ the following features:

  • High THC content (20% or more)

  • Most prominent terpenes are #Myrcene, #Caryophllyene

  • Cannabigerol, or CBG, another cannabinoid with significant promise. Essentially, described as the “parent chemical”, CBG eventually turns into THC & CBD, and may help quell muscle spasms.

Papa reports a huge decrease in pain, tremors and spasms, better depth and duration of sleep (without night terrors), and distinct lifts in mood and appetite when he stays well medicated w/ CBD *and* THC. It’s important to note that both cannabinoids should be used together for maximum therapeutic benefit for certain illnesses, Parkinson’s is one; it’s The #entourageeffect, essentially when both compounds are present they work more effectively. When THC and CBD are both present, the CB1 Receptors (which THC likes) and CB2 receptors (which CBD likes) are “greased” allowing the cannabinoids to find them more securely and deliver their benefits more effectively. These compounds are remarkably synergistic - take advantage, regardless of your health status, and find your perfect ratio.

Pops is someone who has never used cannabis before, a dear friend’s dad, and identifies as a Christian conservative voter. When my friend introduced us for cannabis coaching, I was happy to help - I also thought that this is a step in not only helping Pops but a step toward changing hearts and minds about this plant and the social issues in which it’s intertwined. I’ve been providing info and education to this family for a while (Pops’ wife has arthritis) with monthly check-ins, and they’re now able to make very informed decisions about their medicinal choices involving #MedicalMarijuana. It’s a blessing to share knowledge in a personalized way and help others (and be paid for my intellect).

At the end of our call what Sessions did this month came up as did Congress needing to act, and the fact that this is plant medicine. All that came up from conservative voters who are changing their minds about multiple social issues because of cannabis! Our sweet lady plant is *THE* crux of human connection in our World. Everyone - regardless of age, size, ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic background, sexual or gender identity, political or religious beliefs - can find healing and happiness in cannabis.

I’m dedicated on my niche of serving women, but I obviously work with men and I adore my seniors. If you or someone you love is curious about personalized #cannabiscoaching, drop a DM or email - confidential phone consults start at $30. Be well, friends!