What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Let’s keep it simple. Back in 1817, an English Doctor by the name of James Parkinson characterized the group of symptoms as a particular ‘disease’ and became known as Parkinson’s Disease or simply Parkinson disease. Parkinsons is a disorder of the nervous system in a particular region of the brain called Substantia Nigra, which is responsible for producing dopamines. The loss of brain cells in this region, results in the loss of Dopamine.
Dopamine is the chemical messenger that is responsible for transmitting signals in the brain to provide movement in the body. A lack of Dopamine causes the Neurons to mis fire (think of a spark plug in a machine), resulting in loss of control for the body. It has a cascading effect, think of a line of Dominoes, one block knocks another one down and so on.
The symptoms vary from one person to another but there are many consistencies too. There are other diseases with similar signs, so it’s important to seek the parkinson’s disease prognosis from a specialist. The Michael J. Fox Foundation has a check list that is often used to help determine the possibility that someone might have Parkinson’s Disease. The Foundation states that Parkinson’s is rare, yet the stats show one out of every 100 people over the age of 60 has symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. That does not sound rare to me.
More rare, are the younger victims, as young as 18 years of age. 60 is the average age for the number of people who have Parkinson’s Disease. The USA has a particularly high rate for Parkinson’s, it’s estimated to be at one million compared to 5 million worldwide.
Common symptoms are slight to severe tremors, difficulty speaking, difficulty walking, freezing in place for periods, painful muscle cramps and or spasms, inability to sleep and the list goes on and on.
What causes Parkinson’s Disease?
Research is ongoing but scientists have determined that Genetics AND Environmental factors are the main causes. Parkinsons shows up in families with the rare mutated Gene identified as LRRK2. Injury to the Brain and viruses that damage the nervous system are also causes. In addition, chemicals and some drugs are also suspected in bringing about the damage to the brain which can lead to Parkinsons and other disorders like it, ALS, CTE and Alzheimers. Scientists believe that the majority of cases of Parkinsons are caused by both genes and factors in that person’s environment.
Interestingly, in studies done, smoking and caffeine are connected to lower rates of Parkinsons, while not surprisingly (at least to me), brain injury and chemical exposure are connected to higher rates of Parkinsons. That brings me to the benefits of smoking Cannabis, whether it be sourced from Hemp (high CBD low THC) or Marijuana (high CBD higher THC) .
How does CBD affect the brain and nervous system?
In a nutshell, there is an outside area (peripheral) of the nervous system in humans (it applies to animals too) that includes the nerves and ganglia on the brain and on the spinal column. In the same nutshell, there is an inside area (central) of the nervous system in the Brain, the cranial nerves and the spinal core.
Our human bodies have a fatty acid called amide hydroxylase (FAAH), an enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter, anandamide. Anandamide is responsible for the neural creation of motivation and pleasure, as well as neural development in early stage embryos. CBD suppresses the effect of FAAH in the body. With FAAH suppressed, our bodies can now create higher levels of anandamide.Anandamide naturally binds to Cannabinoid type 1 receptors (known as CB1), which are concentrated in our central nervous systems.
Additionally, CBD successfully stimulates the release of 2-AG, an endocannabinoid that stimulates both CB1 and Cannabinoid receptor type 2 (known as CB2). These receptors play a vital role in regulating moods, memory, appetite, sleep, and a general reduction of inflammation within the body. Now there is obviously a lot more involved than just this. Our human bodies (animal as well) are incredibly complicated from top to bottom.
I am going to introduce you to a fellow in the UK, where using Marijuana is against the law, who uses Marijuana cannabis to control his tremors and other symptoms. Remember above when I mentioned the family connection? His mother also suffers from Parkinsons. He chooses to use Marijuana instead of Hemp, because he says his symptoms are better controlled with both CBD and THC.
If you really want to study further, I recommend the following website, Project CBD that is dedicated to the education of all of us in CBD and THC. You won’t find CBD and THC products on that site, for that you can come back here and find various product and company sources listed in the Menu above.
Blessings to all of you
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