Condition Overview

Parkinson’s disease is a gradual but progressive degenerative disorder of the nervous system. Nerve cell damage in the brain causes dopamine levels to drop, leading to the symptoms of the disease.

Doctors recognize five stages of Parkinson’s:

Stage One: Mild changes in posture and facial expressions, loss of balance.

Stage Two: Problems with balance and walking, inability to complete normal physical tasks.

Stage Three: Inability to walk straight or stand, noticeable slowing of physical movements.

Stage Four: Limited ability to walk, rigidity, bradykinesia (slowing of movement), inability to take care of oneself.

Stage Five: constant one-on-one nursing care.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but treatments can improve quality of life and slow the progression.

Real Life Stories

Larry Smith never expected to be an advocate for medical marijuana. This retired police captain who spent 26 years in law enforcement didn’t want to do anything that was against the law. But after 20 years with Parkinson’s disease, he was ready to try anything. So on a trip to California, where it’s legal, he tried marijuana for the first time — just a single drop of oil — and cameras were there to capture it for the documentary Ride With Larry. Within a few minutes, his tremors all but disappeared, his voice was steady and he was ready to eat lunch. “A person like me could really use marijuana,” he said, “and it makes me pretty angry that I can’t get it in my home state.”


Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) exerts a direct neuroprotective effect in a human cell culture model of Parkinson's disease

Survey on cannabis use in Parkinson's disease: Subjective improvement of motor symptoms

Cannabidiol for the treatment of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease

Ultralow doses of cannabinoid drugs protect the mouse brain from inflammation-induced cognitive damage

Interesting Fact

According to a 2014 study on mice published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research, the amount of THC needed for anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective benefits is low enough to be non-psychoactive.