According to a new study published in Molecular Neurodegeneration, medicines derived from cannabis may be able to offer neuroprotection and improve motor symptoms for patient’s suffering from Parkinson’s disease. In the research review, researchers from Konkuk University in South Korea looked through information regarding cannabinoids and Parkinson’s disease, and found evidence that cannabinoids supported neuronal survival and offered neuroprotection through their interactions with the endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoids receptors in the basal ganglia. They were able to do so by stimulating reductions in oxidative injury, excitotoxicity, and calcium influx, and through decreasing inflammation. Additionally, there was evidence cannabinoids helped with neurogenesis, or the generation of new brain neurons. These conclusions have also been determined in small number of preclinical and clinical trials, in which cannabis alleviated the motor dysfunction symptoms that accompany Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers concluded, “Numerous investigations have supported the observation that significant modulation of the cannabinoid signaling system occurs in [Parkinson’s disease]… Therefore, pharmacological modulation of this this system with compounds that selectively target different elements of cannabinoid signaling may improve anomalies of motor behavior and provide neuroprotection.” Researchers added that of all existing Parkinson’s therapies, none alleviate motor disabilities while also supporting neuroprotection. Still, there is a need for more sufficient trials due to the fact most trials have been small scale or pertaining to animal models.