My beautiful independent mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about five years ago.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that affects the chemical systems in your brain. Low dopamine levels are thought to be the main cause and there are a small number of medication options for the patient.
They say every case of Parkinson’s is different as the progression as the symptoms and speed of progression vary widely.
My mom’s biggest difficulty right now is what she calls the ‘In Betweens’.
In Between the carefully timed doses of her medication, she sometimes experiences increased tremors. She has explored options that include: adequate rest, dosage levels of medication and diet. Nothing seems to relieve the ‘In Betweens’.
I heard that some patients taking CBD had experienced symptom relief, so I suggested she try it. Let’s just say there was a bit of resistance to the idea.
Mom is from the “Evil Demon Weed” generation.
I grew up in the 60’s, when pot was commonly used and we experimented with psychedelics. My parents were sure my siblings and I would be brain damaged as adults, if we ever survived that long.
She had a bit of resistance to the idea of her using pot to treat her Parkinson’s.
After a few particularly bad ‘In Betweens’, she agreed to make an appointment with the medical marijuana dispensary and asked me to come with her.
The Cedars was in the back of the local Native Hall and we met with a doctor who carefully explained CBD and THC to my Mom.
- THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol. It binds with receptors in your brain that control moods and feelings. It’s the substance in Cannabis that gets you high.
- CBD is short for cannabidiol. It doesn’t give you that feeling of being high, but it’s thought to work with other elements in your body that affect your well being. So it’s a gentler drug.
The doctor prescribed an oil that was a combination of the two, with more CBD than THC because of my Mom’s hesitations. The theory was that she could become more comfortable with the idea. They would slowly adjust the medication to see what worked for her.
He recommended an oil, so she could begin with several drops a day and increase the dose gradually as she went.
This was before legalization in Canada, so there were a few hoops to jump through. Eventually, she was approved to purchase online, and was given very specific instructions.
She was to purchase the oil and work her way up to 3 mg daily, by increasing the number of drops.
When her prescription arrived, she called to let me know she was taking her first dose.
It was a disaster. She was agitated and experienced heightened tremors for hours.
At one point she and her partner called the ambulance. When they arrived and assessed her, they determined that there wasn’t anything they could give her to alleviate the symptoms. She was going to have to wait until the drug wore out, either at home or in the emergency room. She decided to stay home.
She was stoned for about five hours.
Her worst fears were realized and she swore she’d never try it again. We were really disappointed as there aren’t many treatment options and this seemed like a real possibility.
I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. The doctor was really careful and the dose was small. I met with my Mom and we had a look at the medication together.
As she was ordering online, she had the option to choose the oil or a capsule and decided that taking a pill would be easier than putting a drop of oil under her tongue so she ordered the capsules.
When I checked the dose, she was taking more than 10 times what was prescribed.
No wonder she went on a trip. She’d overdosed herself.
When I explained it to her, she listened, but I don’t think she wanted to hear it.
I offered to order the right dosage for her and be there when she took it. I even offered to take it with her. No dice.
To this day, she won’t entertain the thought of trying it again.
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