Neurodegenerative diseases affect many people around the world every year, but cannabis brings a revolutionary promise for treating and improving the quality of life of patients. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International statistics, someone develops every three seconds. In 2015, about 46.8 million people in the world have dementia. Researchers believe that the number of people with dementia will increase by 131.5 million in 2050.

Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s Disease are the most common examples of neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases involve progressive brain function deterioration that significantly decreases a patient’s quality of life. Many people are curious about what cannabis can do for patients suffering from these neurodegenerative diseases, and that’s what you’ll find out in this post. Let’s get started!

Cannabis and How It Affects Patients with Neurodegenerative Diseases

Medical marijuana offers promising therapeutic benefits because cannabinoids have natural anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective qualities. Researchers believe that medical marijuana could help prevent, halt, or reverse the signs and symptoms of debilitating neurodegenerative disorders. Cannabinoids have anti-oxidative actions, slowing the onset and even the progression of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions.

Neurodegenerative Diseases Facts and Statistics

Neurodegenerative diseases refer to a variety of medical conditions affecting the nerve cells in the nervous system, particularly the brain or “neurons”. These are the building blocks of the brain and the spinal cord. According to the Harvard Neurodiscovery Center, over 12 million people in the United States will have neurodegenerative diseases 30 years from now if left unchecked.

Here are the facts about neurodegenerative diseases:

Alzheimer’s Disease and Cannabis

According to the report of Alzheimer’s Society, some studies have shown that cannabis appears to remove amyloid or build-up of protein clumps from nerve cells among patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Cannabinoids are neuroreceptors and tend to react with amyloid based on the results of nerve cell activities as grown in the lab.

Here are the other good-to-know facts and findings of cannabis and its role in treating Alzheimer’s disease as reported by the Alzheimer’s Society:

While studies and research about cannabis and its role in treating Alzheimer’s disease are short-term, the results are positively heading good results. Further studies should be taken to prove the long-term effects of cannabis among people with Alzheimer’s. Can cannabis really help patients with Alzheimer’s disease, watch this video to learn more.

Parkinson’s Disease and Cannabis

According to MD Edge and Clinical Neurology News, studies, patient surveys, and anecdotal reports have suggested that medical marijuana may help treat the non-motor and motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Two studies were presented at the renowned 21st International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. The studies have explored the possibility of inhaled cannabis and using oral cannabidiol (CBD) in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Maureen A. Leehey, a professor in the University of Colorado, and her colleagues of the Neurology and Chief of the Movement Disorders Division conducted a study about the role of CBD among patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The phase II, dose-escalation, the open-label study evaluates the tolerability and safety of CBD drug, Epidiolex, among patients with Parkinson’s disease. They also looked at different secondary efficacy measures, such as cognition, anxiety, change in tremor, psychosis, sleep, mood, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and pain.

Here are the other good-to-know facts and findings of this study, exploring cannabis and its role in treating Parkinson’s disease as reported by Clinical Neurology News through MD Edge: 

Video Source: CBS Denver

Another study has evaluated the role of inhaled cannabis among patients who have Parkinson’s disease. An associate clinical investigator, Laurie K. Mischley of Bastyr University Research Institute in Washington, together with her colleagues studies the effect of inhaled marijuana on Parkinson’s disease tremor with the use of motion sensors. Qualitative interviews were done to evaluate the effects of inhaled cannabis on the participants.

Here are the good-to-know facts and findings of the study:

Multiple Sclerosis and Cannabis

Multiple sclerosis or MS is a neurodegenerative condition affecting the nerves, particularly on the nerve cells in the central nervous system or CNS. Currently, there’s no cure for MS, but treatment can help slow down its progression. Cannabis can be useful in the treatment of several symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis is a lifelong, debilitating, and serious condition, causing a wide range of symptoms. According to the report of Medical News Today, about 1 million adults in the United States have multiple sclerosis. This statistics is based on the report of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The immune system of people with MS is overactive, causing damage to the brain cells, as well as the cells of the optic nerves and spinal cord up to the central nervous system. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is supporting the use of medical cannabis for people with MS where it is lawful.

Here are the good-to-know facts about the role of cannabis in treating MS as cited by Medical News Today:

While cannabis may not be useful in treating other MS symptoms, including cognitive symptoms and reducing tremors, cannabis is effective in treating muscle stiffness and spasticity, and further studies can be conducted to know the long-term effects of THC among patients with MS.

Video Source: Inicijativa za legalizaciju marihuane u Srbiji

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS and Cannabis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS is a rare neurological disease involving the neurons or nerve cells which are responsible for voluntary muscle movement control. People who have ALS may die because of malnutrition, pulmonary embolism (lung arterial blockage),  swallowing problems, pneumonia (due to food or fluid aspiration), and cardiac arrhythmias or abnormal heart rhythm.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is a fatal disease of the motor neuron. It affects about 30,000 people in the United States. This neurodegenerative disease leads to decreased voluntary muscle movement, affecting a person’s ability to speak, chew, and walk. The nerves die and they stop sending nerve signals to the muscles, causing gradual weakening, muscle twitching, and muscle wasting. It significantly affects the quality of life of patients, including work, social relations, and even simple routine activities.

Here are the early signs and symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis:

After diagnosis, the majority of all people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis live for more than 3 years. Once ALS begins, it always progresses, which eventually take away a person’s ability to walk, speak, swallow, dress, write, and breathe, thus shortening a person’s life span.

Nerve damage is caused by excitotoxicity and oxidative stress among patients with ALS. Marijuana shows a good promise in managing some of the ALS nerve damage. Oxidative stress usually occurs when there’s an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals within the body. When antioxidant production cannot keep up with free radical production, the body cannot detoxify the harmful effects of free radicals in the body.

Here are some good-to-know facts and studies about the role of cannabis in ALS:

Recommended Cannabis Strains for Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment

Purple Kush is a cannabis indica hybrid strain with dense buds and purple leaves. It is potent so it delivers high THC levels (around 17%). Purple Kush is usually used before bedtime because it induces a long-lasting calming effect and promoting body relaxation. The medicinal benefits of this cannabis strain could possibly be used in treating a variety of medical conditions such as depression and insomnia. Also, it may also help to reduce mood swings and relieve frustrations related to Alzheimer’s.

This is a hybrid cannabis strain. OG Kush is a powerhouse. It helps relieve symptoms related to  Alzheimer’s Disease. It contains up to around 26% THC and 0-0.3% CBD. It’s thought to originate from the most-sought Hindu Kush and Chemdawg. OG Kush can help in treating migraines, ADHD/ADD, and stress and highly recommended to patients depending on Alzheimer’s who are on the level of disease progression.

As a sativa-dominant strain, Sour Diesel delivers a fast, relieving, and energizing impact that is used for relieving pain, stress, depression, and mood swings among people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

It is a sativa-dominant cannabis hybrid which is an ultimate happy strain. It is filled with 25% THC, making you feel better when you start consuming it. Green Crack has a combination of fruity, citrus, and tropical flavor. It helps boost you with happy energy, making it great for a rough day. It stimulates appetite too.

It is a sativa-dominant hybrid which is a well-known cannabis strain in the world. It helps treat various medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. This cannabis strain comes from Acapulco, Mexico with orange hairs resembling a gold nugget with brown, green, and gold colors of resin that are collecting on the buds. It is known as one of the best medical marijuana strains. It is difficult to find because of its unique growing conditions.

Recommended Cannabis Strains for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

Nebula II CBD is not high in CBD like the Tower, but a recommended strain for MS. It has a higher THC level recommended for the management of pain that stems from MS. Nebula II CBD has a good balance of THC and CBD. More THC means diminished ability to normally function with the best psychoactive effect.

Tower Cannatonic is a low THC and high CBD hybrid strain. It’s not likely to induce pleasurable psychoactive effects. However, the high CBD level is good for muscle spasm reduction and promotes relaxation.

CBD Shark is considered a mid-level THC cannabis strain that contains a high CBD amount of CBD and is a good strain for relief from both pain and muscle spasms. It’s a hybrid cannabis strain with an even balance of CBD and THC.

Jacky White has a medium to high THC level with trace CBD content. It’s recommended for patients who are seeking pain relief from muscle spasms. It produces psychoactive effects because of its high THC content.

This marijuana strain has the highest THC percentage on the list. The CBD level of Harmony is one of the lowest in the list. That is why it best suited for those who are looking for pain relief. Harmony is a powerful strain, so you should exercise caution with dosing until you’re able to gauge the effects of THC in your body. If you’re interested in marijuana as a treatment option for MS and you reside in a legal jurisdiction, you can talk to a cannabis physician to determine if cannabis may be right for you.

Recommended Cannabis Strains for ALS

The best cannabis indica strains for ALS include Pineapple Kush, Northern Lights, Grape Ape, Granddaddy Purple, and Bubba Kush. Cannabis indica is a better option if the ALS symptoms include pain and insomnia.

The best cannabis sativa strains for ALS are Sour Diesel, Purple Haze, Strawberry Cough, Lemon Haze, Kali Mist, Maui Wowie, and Charlotte’s Web. Cannabis sativa strains are suitable for treating anxiety, pain, low energy, and depression.

The best cannabis hybrid strains for ALS include Mango Kush, Sour OG, Pineapple Express, Lemon Skunk, ACDC, and OG Kush. Hybrid are created by crossbreeding sativa and indica strains which feature the characteristics of both cannabis species.

Conclusion

Indeed, cannabis can be a possible treatment in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and ALS. While the extent of symptom relief is not yet fully studied, the results of patient surveys, studies, and anecdotal evidence show positive results. Cannabis can help improve the quality of life and well-being of people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.

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