Eli5 how does marijuana help with Parkinson’s disease?


My father has Parkinson’s, and he smokes weed multiple times a day, which was prescribed him by a doctor. Fortunately, for him, he lives in a state where it’s legal.

But I am wondering, how exactly does marijuana help with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?

In: 6



Honestly we don’t even really know what happens with Parkinsons. We can observe the symptoms and see how it impacts parts of the brain, but our understanding of it is pretty shallow.

What we do know is that Parkinsons seems to be impact the *basal ganglia* and *substantia nigra* areas of the brain which are related to initiation, movement, and smoothness of movement. Certain neurons to start to die and we don’t really know why, but we can see how it impacts a person. One of notable physical changes thats frequently used to diagnose Parkinsons are lesions specifically in the *basal ganglia* area.

So how does marijuana play into that? Well we know that our brains have receptors which are a perfect fit for cannaboids that come from marijuana. Its almost like the marijuana is a medicine that our brains already know how to use. The *basal ganglia* seems to have a very high density of these cannaboid receptors, more than most other parts of the brain. Coincidentally introducing cannaboids seems to be startlingly effective at managing Parkinsons symptoms. Its literally better than most of the pharmacologically crafted drugs we have for Parkinsons.

I guess this is the round about way of saying we don’t really know all the answers, but marijuana sure as hell works to treat the symptoms.