Cannabis-based compounds could be the silver bullet to relieve pain for people with Parkinson’s according to the largest ever study into pain and the condition.
For the past six years, researchers at Manchester's Salford Royal Foundation Trust have been investigating why some people with Parkinson's experience chronic pain.
A link to genes
The groundbreaking study, funded by Parkinson’s UK, was a detailed assessment of persistent pain that impacts on daily life, work, and social relationships of some people with Parkinson’s.
Researchers found that a change in the gene involved in how the brain responds to cannabis derivatives may influence whether or not people with Parkinson’s develop pain. They found this change is determined by genes.
Dr Monty Silverdale, Consultant Neurologist at Greater Manchester Neuroscience Centre who headed up the study, said:
"This study is significant because it shows the important role of genetics in chronic pain in Parkinson's.
“Our findings suggest that cannabis-based compounds may be worth investigating as a treatment for pain in Parkinson’s.
Developing better treatments
Dr Beckie Port, Research Manager at Parkinson’s UK, said:
“Pain is not a well-known symptom, but people with Parkinson’s have told us of the huge impact it has on their health and wellbeing.”
More than half of the 145,000 people with Parkinson’s, in the UK, experience chronic pain. Studies like this help to shed light on the cause. With this knowledge, we can more effectively work towards developing better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s.