Patients with Parkinson’s Disease in Pennsylvania Can Qualify for Medical Marijuana Access

Pennsylvania belongs to the states with the highest prevalence of Parkinson’s disease with 1,548 per 100,000 of the population. This means there is a larger proportion of high-risk factor patient groups in the state.

Patients with Parkinson’s disease can qualify for medical marijuana. To gain access to an MMJ card, visit our Pennsylvania page.

Parkinson’s Disease in PA

Parkinson Symptoms - TeleLeaf RX The Parkinson’s Foundation reported that among the nearly one million people in the U.S. who are living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), 35,400 are in Pennsylvania.

In addition, they said that across the country, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the Parkinson’s disease mortality in Pennsylvania is 8.7 with 1,610 deaths per 100,000 total population.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominantly dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.

In simpler terms, it’s a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.

This brain disorder leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination.

Basic Information About Parkinson’s Disease

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke stated that the cause of PD is unknown, but some cases are hereditary while others are thought to occur from a combination of genetics and environmental factors that trigger the disease.

It is thought that when a person has PD, the brain cells become damaged or die in the part of the brain that produces dopamine, a chemical needed to produce smooth, purposeful movement.

Other facts related to PD are:

  • The prevalence of PD is expected to rise to 1.2 million by 2030.
  • More than 10 million people worldwide have PD.
  • Incidence of PD increases with age, but an estimated 4% are diagnosed before age 50.
  • Men are 1.5 times more likely to have Parkinson’s disease than women.
  • Nearly $52 billion per year is the combined direct and indirect cost of Parkinson’s in the United States alone.
  • Medications for PD cost an average of $2,500 a year and therapeutic surgery can cost up to $10,000 per person.

Types of Parkinson’s Disease

There are three main forms of parkinsonism, as well as other related conditions:

  1. Idiopathic Parkinson’s — PD with an unknown cause where the most common symptoms include tremor, rigidity, and slowness of movement.
  2. Vascular parkinsonism — also known as arteriosclerotic parkinsonism, affects people with restricted blood supply to the brain. The most common symptoms are problems with memory, sleep, mood, and movement.
  3. Drug-induced parkinsonism — caused by neuroleptic drugs which block the action of the chemical dopamine in the brain.
  4. Other types:
    • Multiple system atrophy (MSA)
    • Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)
    • Normal-pressure hydrocephalus
    • Various tremors, including essential tremor
    • Rarer causes of parkinsonism like Wilson’s disease, an inherited disorder where there’s too much copper in the body’s skin and muscles

Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

What causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Scientists believe that the following contribute to the occurrence of PD: Parkinson's Disease scheme - TeleLeaf RX

  • Nerve cells, or neurons, in an area of the brain that controls movement become impaired and/or die. This causes the movement problems of PD.
  • Nerve endings that produce norepinephrine, the main chemical messenger of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls many functions of the body, are lost. This explains some non-movement features of PD, like fatigue, irregular blood pressure, decreased movement of food through the digestive tract.
  • Brain cells that contain Lewy bodies, unusual clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to better understand its relationship to genetic mutations that impact PD.
  • A combination of genetic factors and environmental factors such as exposure to toxins.

Impact on Lifestyle of Parkinson’s

PD’s physical and mental manifestations can complicate basic daily activities like bathing, dressing, eating, sleeping, and walking. Patients with PD would need to adjust to the changes that can be brought about by the illness.

Others diagnosed with PD may be stunned and struggle with what the future may look like. Progressive changes to the motor and many other non-motor symptoms can be challenging to deal with.

Overview of Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

The four primary symptoms of PD according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke are:

  • Tremors — shaking that has a characteristic rhythmic back and forth motion.
  • Rigidity — muscle stiffness or resistance to movement and muscles remain constantly tense and contracted.
  • Bradykinesia — slowing of spontaneous and automatic movement that can make it difficult to perform simple tasks or rapidly perform routine movements.
  • Postural instability-impaired balance and changes in posture can increase the risks of falls.

Types of Parkinson’s Disease Treatments Parkinsons disease In Pennsylvania - TeleLeaf RX

There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s. A variety of medications, surgical treatments, and other therapies are being given to patients with PD that provide relief from the symptoms.

Medicines prescribed for Parkinson’s are used to:

  • Increase the level of dopamine in the brain
  • Affect other brain chemicals in the body.
  • Help control nonmotor symptoms

Another option for PD treatment is deep brain stimulation (DBS) where electrodes are implanted into the brain to painlessly stimulate the brain to block signals that cause many of the motor symptoms of PD.

Medical marijuana has become another alternative for the condition. With it being legal in most states, researchers are testing marijuana as a treatment for many illnesses and diseases, including Parkinson’s.

Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease in PA

Medical marijuana is thought to alleviate the symptoms of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease. It has been observed that medical cannabis improves both motor and non-motor symptoms of PD.

If you are considering using medical marijuana, and you would like to get a medical card and a doctor’s recommendation, we can help you get started through our HIPAA-compliant application on our online platform.

Get Your Medical Card