Our blog is primarily written by Margaret Tuchman, President of The Parkinson Alliance, and her blogging partner, Gloria Hansen. Margaret was diagnosed with Parkinson’s over 30 years ago and continues to be a voice in the Parkinson’s community. Read more about her here.
On April 27, 2018, Dr. Jill G. Farmer, a neurologist and movement-disorder specialist, gave a lecture on medical marijuana and its possible use in helping to treat Parkinson’s Disease (PD) symptoms. (Note: You an watch the the complete lecture following this post.)
While there is no evidence that supports medical marijuana is effective for treating the motor symptoms of PD, there is evidence that it is effective for treating the non-motor and hyperkinetic symptoms of PD.
While some may fear the “high” associated with marijuana and the stigmas associated with using it, Dr. Farmer explained that medical marijuana is not the same as recreational-use marijuana. Specifically, the chemical component that produces the feeling of euphoria (THC) is greatly reduced or eliminated leaving the component (CBD) that is more therapeutic. In fact, there are already Cannabinoid-based (coming from Cannabis, or marijuana) medications on the market for multiple neurological conditions.
How one can get medical marijuana, however, depends on if it is legal in the state where you live and what its requirements are. For example, in NJ where it is legal, you need to have a qualifying condition such as chronic pain or anxiety. In Pennsylvania, however, Parkinson’s itself is an indicated diagnosis for medical marijuana.
Once you and your doctor decide to go forward with medical marijuana, it is not as simple as bringing a script to your local pharmist. Instead, you first need to obtain a certification from an approved doctor that you suffer from a covered medical condition. Next you need to apply for an ID card through your State’s medical marijuana website. Once you have that ID card, you need to go to an approved dispensary to obtain the medical marijuana. You can have a caregiver get this for you. However, that caregiver will also need to be registered with the State, and this includes a criminal background check.
For more information on the requirements in NJ, see the NJ Medicinal Marijuana Program website. In Pennsylvania, see the PA Medical Marijuana Program website. For more information in the State where you live, do an Internet search on your State’s name and medical marijuana.
If you cannot view the lecture above, please use this link.
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month! That means it’s time for the annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York City’s Central Park. This year it will be on Saturday, April 28th. Are you registered to go? We hope so!
It’s always a fun-filled, inspirational event that raises awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research.
Besides the 1.4 mile gentle Walk, there are several free programs to enjoy throughout the morning at the Bandshell. Programs include a Wake Up nd Stretch to the Classics; Nia Brain Body Fitness for PD; Dance for PD and the PD Movement Lab; Rock Steady Boxing; Amplify your Life with LSVT Loud and LSVT Big; Small Beach Towel Workout for PD; and musical performances by The Original Mixed Company, an oldies singing group specializing in Doowop, R&B, and Gospel. Be sure to stroll down Margot Zobel Way where you’ll find sponsor booths with educational information and materials. Visit our Ask The Heathcare Experts booth, where a variety of individuals—such as a movement disorder specialist, neurosurgeon, movement disorder nurse practioner, physical therapist, occupational therapist, DBS programmer, and a nutritionist—are available to answer your questions. Light snacks and drinks are provided, and each participant will receive a tote bag to hold information from our sponsors.
We have been proud to run this event each year. From the very beginning, 100% of all donations raised by walkers and contributors is designated specifically for research and is divided among the following major U.S. Parkinson’s foundations:
- American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA)
- Parkinson’s Foundation (PF)
- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF)
- The Parkinson Alliance (PA)
- The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center (PI)
We look forward to seeing you there!
– Margaret Tuchman
It’s Spring (complete with snow!) and a time for new things. So it seems the right time to be launching a newly designed website for The Parkinson Alliance.
Our team worked really hard on making our site easier to use, and I hope you think so too. We also took care to showcase the people who support us and help us raise the funds to do our job—fund research!
I’m proud of all the scientists and projects we’ve funded—more than $30 million in all, the Alliance together with the Unity Walk and Team Parkinson. And the fact that thousands of people now participate in our quality of life surveys—important patient-centered outcomes research that no one else is collecting in this way.
But I can’t help but feel it’s not enough. Anyone who lives with Parkinson’s as I do, or has a loved one who does, feels that. Sure, we know a lot more about the disease and its effect on our brains and bodies, how it develops and what might be the causes. And treatments—medication, surgery, speech and physical therapy—have gotten more refined. But the true breakthroughs that once seemed just over the horizon are still beyond our immediate reach. It makes me mad sometimes that this disease is so complicated!
But mostly I’m just impatient to finish what my husband Marty and I started nearly 20 years ago. So I hope you join us at the Unity Walk this April and our other events. I know together we can get the job done and end Parkinson’s.
– Margaret Tuchman