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The Topic is Pot: Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s

I attended a Parkinson’s support group meeting last week. The primary topic for the meeting was intimacy, the loss of it, and how to nourish it back again.

My friend, Allison Smith, a well-known PD blogger and a family therapist at the office of my movement disorder doctor here in Orange County, California, ran a very provocative meeting and had full control until someone suggested smoking pot with your spouse may even be a way to regain a sense of intimacy with a partner.

The meeting suddenly veered off course and pot talk flooded the room, leaving intimacy at the side of the road like fresh road kill. It held its own as the meeting topic for about 20 minutes. People were really anxious to learn about pot.

Marijuana hasn’t really been too beneficial to me, but I’ve met enough people with Parkinson’s who use it successfully for pain and anxiety relief. So, here’s the dope, or at least what I know of it.

Sativa vs. Indica – the two continents

There are two kinds of weed, pot or marijuana. There’s the kind that makes one drowsy and the kind that stimulates the brain. Most PWP seek out the calming version, for relaxation and sleep, so Indica pot is usually their first choice.

There are varying levels of the psycho-active ingredient THC, found in the hundreds of sub-strains of Sativa or Indica pot. A local professional can suggest the right pot for you if you have never partaken.

Not only are there two kinds of pot with THC in them, which means you will get high by smoking or ingesting it, there are pot strains that contain NO THC, so when you smoke or ingest it, you don’t get high. CBD instead of THC, is the active ingredient in that type of pot, or pot derivatives. Pot with all CBD and no THC is considered medicinal.

How to get high, or low, or just better

Now, one can get their chosen active ingredient, THC or CBD, into their bloodstream in several different ways including smoking it, in a rolled ‘joint’, in a pipe, or by using a vaporizer, which takes some the edge off the act of inhaling because it takes the smoke out of the event and leaves only the vapor. A lot of people prefer the smoothness of eating their product (pot / weed) in brownies, cookies, candies, chocolate, or as a butter replacement. Pot can be distilled down to an oil or butter which is then used in the baking process.

The distilled oil, THC or CBD, or various combinations of each, can also be used to make hash, a personal favorite of mine in my youth. Hash is generally smoked in a pipe, or vape or even a bong, where it passes through water before hitting your lungs.

Whatever you choose to do, get high, get low, get better or a bit of all, please ease into it. One or two puffs on a joint or pipe to start, or a single piece of candy or chocolate instead of 3 or 4 will give you a hint of what its like to be high, instead of getting ahead of yourself, over doing it, and not enjoying the experience.

OK Allison, it’s time to regain control of this meeting…

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • VanessaB
    1 year ago

    There’s a big difference between CBD and THC which is why THC has been illegal in the UK. What experiences have people had with CBD and Parkinsons dementia?

  • Chris H. moderator
    1 year ago

    Great question, @vanessab. We’ve heard from various community members on this topic and it definitely varies. Since each person’s PD is so different, some treatments may work for some but not others. I was able to find a study on cannabinoids and dementia here: (to note, this study is from 2010). This would also be a great question to bring up to your doctor to see if this can be a potential treatment. Hope this helps. – Chris, Team

  • VanessaB
    1 year ago

    Thank you Chris. The GP is not as knowledgable as our Parkinsons nurse so we will ask her at our appointment next week. I would be surprised if she feels able to endorse it professionally, but it is worth the attempt.
    I will post the result.

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