Health Huddle – Parkinson’s Spotlight

Still of Christopher Lloyd in the “Back to the Future” Movie Franchise circa 1985-1990

April is National Parkinson’s Awareness Month

by Stephanie Fain

“Hang on, Marty, we are workin’ on it…”

“I have no choice about whether or not I have Parkinson’s. I have nothing but choices about how I react to it. In those choices, there’s freedom to do a lot of things in areas that I wouldn’t have otherwise found myself in.” – Michael J. Fox

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, & Their Facebook Page

April is National Parkinson’s Awareness Month. The symbol for that is Tulip Red and its ribbon is silver. Parkinson’s Disease (PD) occurs when brain cells that make dopamine (a chemical that coordinates movement) stop working or die. PD is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects motor skills (walking, talking, jumping). The symptoms usually appear slowly. As the disease worsens, non-motor symptoms become more common (language, planning, memory, dementia).

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” – Michael J. Fox

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” – Michael J. Fox

The most obvious early symptoms are tremors, rigidity, slow movement, and difficulty with everyday movement such as walking. Cognitive and behavioral problems may also occur with depression, anxiety, and apathy occurring in many people with PD. Parkinson’s disease dementia becomes common in the advanced stages of the disease. 

“I see possibilities in everything. For everything that’s taken away, something of greater value has been given.” – Michael J. Fox

“I often say now I don’t have any choice whether or not I have Parkinson’s, but surrounding that non-choice is a million other choices that I can make.” – Michael J. Fox

Those with Parkinson’s can also have problems with their sleep and sensory systems. The motor symptoms of the disease result from the death of cells in the substantia nigra (a region of the midbrain) leading to a dopamine deficit. The cause of this cell death is poorly understood, but involves the plaque build up in brain cells. This often leads to the Parkinson’s related dementia mentioned earlier. 

WHERE ARE WE NOW? Hope is everywhere. I simply walked across the street to Cannavista where Brendon Brownlee, and his coordinator Amanda Freeze, were showing a group of local seniors around and doing some patient teaching. I had the privilege of talking to a man who has a passion for and keeps up with alternative medicine and the studies that are showing so much promise! His name is Brendon and he said “CBD, THC, CBC and CBG along with a slew of other cannabinoids are all neuroprotectants.”

Cannavista Patient Teaching Event, April 8, 2021, Photo by Stephanie Fain

In a neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson’s, it is very important that we protect our nerve cells from being destroyed further. “In a study funded by the NIH (National Institute of Health), more than half of the patients reported significant pain reduction, slowing of the degeneration, better sleep, coordination and overall mood.” That clinical study of 22 patients Brendon is referring to with PD and smoking marijuana, resulted in improvement of motor symptoms such as bradykinesia, resting tremor, rigidity, and posture, along with non-motor symptoms such as sleep and pain, according to the NIH website.

In another Delta-9 (THC) study, cited below, it was showing that the mitochondrial dysfunction causing the degeneration of neural cells was altered to function correctly. The study was halted, “however side effects have limited its clinical use.”

“Medical science has proven time and again that when the resources are provided, great progress in the treatment, cure, and prevention of disease can occur.” – Michael J. Fox

Since marijuana has started being destigmatized and decriminalized, our seniors are really getting smart about their pain and taking it into their own hands. *Tears* Proud grand-daughter here, myself, of two grandparents who laid down the stigma and the pain pills and began to feel better, laugh more, eat more foods, and sleep like babies.

Never Stop Growing, Buchanan!

“What other people think about me is not my business.” – Michael J. Fox

To learn more or donate to The Michael J. Fox Foundation to help keep good folks like Michael J. Fox’s voices from fading away, go to

*This content contains some information for those at least 21 years old. Medical cannabis use is for certified patients only. The Buchanan Chronicle does not intend to promote cannabis use except as advised by your health professional.*

%d bloggers like this: